Rahul Verma scurries about his neighbourhood in East Delhi and stumbles upon Lucknow Wale Tunday Kabab, run by the grandson of the famous Tunday kababchi
Like an intrepid explorer, I have been scouring my neighbourhood. Ever since I discovered the little shop that sold rolls (those who came in late may please refer to last week’s column), I have been on the lookout for other little treasure troves. And sure enough, while ambling through the sprawling DDA market at the mouth of Mayur Vihar Phase II, I found a sign that gladdened my heart. Lucknow Wale Tunday Kababi, it said.
Now, anybody who knows even a little bit about kababs would have heard of Lucknow’s famous Tunday kababchi. He was a legendary one-armed kabab maker whose kababs were so famous that people from other parts of the country would gather there to eat them. His gilawati kababs were particularly famous. Some decades ago, when Delhi was merely a sterile secretariat and had nothing much to offer in terms of food, friends who travelled to Lucknow were not allowed to return if they didn’t bring back his gilawati kababs.
Since then, of course, both Lucknow and Delhi have changed dramatically. Tunday is long gone, though his sons and grandsons have been carrying on the tradition of making delicious kababs in Lucknow and elsewhere.
In recent years, some of the family members have opened up branches in Delhi too. And I was happy to know that one of the branches — started by Tunday kakbachi’s grandson Mohammed Rizwan — is in my own humble neighbourhood.
It’s a little place with a seating arrangement at the back. The grills are in the front, surrounded by the sizzling sounds and aromas of kababs being grilled. I had a look, sniffed appreciatively and picked up the menu card. It included all that Tunday was famous for — from gilawatis to shami kababs.
I called up the next day (nos: 9599644440/33330) and asked for a plate of gilawati kababs (Rs.100 for four pieces), mutton seekh kababs (Rs.100 for four), chicken korma (Rs.200 for four pieces), roomali rotis (Rs.5) and parathas (Rs.15).
The food was delivered within 30 minutes, and came nicely packed. The gilawati was creamy and delicious, and I enjoyed the seekh too, because it was different from the seekhs that I have been eating these days. These weren’t soft and crumbly, but thick and chewy. I was happy with the chicken korma as well (I would have preferred to have asked for mutton korma, but the opinion at home was in favour of chicken). The gravy was thick and aromatic, and the chicken pieces were not just big and juicy but had infused the flavours of the spices.
They even have nahari on the menu which they cook only in winter. I am waiting for that, but I have to try out the mutton biryani and chicken biryani too (Rs.100 with two pieces of meat, Rs.200 with four). The chicken kali mirch dry also sounds promising (Rs.140 for four, 280 for eight).
My heart warms up when I think that I am surrounded by all these little outlets selling delicious food. If the neighbourhood food hub expands any more, I may be tempted to forego my first love — Old Delhi.
No, I exaggerate. In fact, all this talk of kababs makes me think that it’s time for a visit to Purani Dilli.