Nizamuddin, Delhi. The metropolis within the capital city, that has a long lost attachment to romance, the heritage and the culture that has spilt on to the food culture as well. Nizamuddin has stood as the most popular food hub for Delhiites who have grown with the city, he historical relevance maintaining the romantic hue of this part of the city.
Apart from the world renowned Dargah and Railway Station, Nizamuddin entails, within it’s by lanes the secret to the most authentic, homemade and healthy biryani, kebabs, korma, and haleem,…. Zaika e Nizamuddin is where the Nizamuddin legacy has been deliciously preserved. The Basti, densely populated with more than 12,000 inhabitants, was built 700 years ago around the settlements that followed Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya, boasting of a thriving history of poetry, cuisine and artisanal trades, that has flourished through the centuries.
In the year 2011, a study on malnutrition in the basti which included observing and recording eating patterns and discussions with mothers, indicated a high prevalence of malnourishment in almost 50 % of the children. One of the main reasons that emerged during the study indicated lack of availability of healthy snack food options. And so began Zaika-e-Nizamuddin, in 2012 under the Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network, to preserve Delhi’s cultural heritage.
Zaika-e-Nizamuddin – a self help group comprising of the mothers of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti emerged as a result of the process. The group works on a dual objective of addressing malnutrition in the basti children through making low cost nutritious snacks and providing livelihood opportunities to the members involved through options like catering, home-delivery etc. Despite the challenges that entailed opposition from families and yong children, this empowering squad stuck to it’s guns!
Zaika-e-Nizamuddin, as the name suggests, is the ‘zaika’ or flavours of Nizamuddin which has been carried forward generations after generations in this 700 year old living heritage. Food from ZeN also gives you a peek into the culture of Nizamuddin and a delightful sense of contentment, packed nicely in a box of kebabs or a bowl of biryani. That’s what makes it stand apart! All the products made by the women are prepared by hand, in small batches under strict hygienic and safe working conditions.
The enterprising team includes Fatima Khatoon, Sakina, Shehnaz Begum, Kulsum, Saiba, Neha, Fatima, Moina, and Rubina. The menu that the women cook includes all native and legendary dishes as Mutton and Chicken Biryani, Shammi Kababs. a Nizamuddin special Korma and Haleem, a laborious and beloved Delhi dish cooked with all parts of the animal, and garnished with coriander and onions! The achar (pickle) that accompany’s the biryani, is a ‘basti’ specialty!
Where: 233, Mashaik Manzil, Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi