Just the right mix

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FOOD SPOT A small kiosk by the roadside, Sab Ke Khatir churns out splendid tikkas, kakori rolls and gilawati kababs. The secret lies in its amazing marinade,discovers RAHUL VERMA

Uncle's specialChacha with a plate of khatir chicken kakori kabab at the Sab Ke Khatir take-away near NBCC, Ispat Bhawanon Lodhi Road in New DelhiPhoto: S.Subramanium
Uncle's specialChacha with a plate of khatir chicken kakori kabab at the Sab Ke Khatir take-away near NBCC, Ispat Bhawanon Lodhi Road in New DelhiPhoto: S.Subramanium

Afriend turned 50 and we gathered to raise a toast to him in one of most beautiful, tree-covered farmhouses in Delhi. The ambience was beautiful, the friends were almost all there, the spirit was high, and the food was delicious. In short, it was a lovely evening.

The food – kababs, korma and biryani – had come from Sab Ke Khatir, I was told. Originally in the community centre market in New Friends’ Colony, it had an outlet on Lodhi Road. The owner was a genial gentleman known as Chacha. I chatted with him, ate his food with relish, and carried his card home.

A few days later I landed up at Lodhi Road in search of Sab Ke Khatir. From Golf Links, I turned left (towards Nizamuddin), and then took a u-turn and came in front of the HUDCO building on the other side of the road. The Sab Ke Khatir kiosk is near a petrol pump on the road, and right next to Ispat Bhawan. I found Chacha there, supervising the grilling of kababs.

Chacha prepares his own marinade for the meats and then mixes it with the mince. He lugs that to the Lodhi Road takeaway (and to the New Friends’ Colony outlet), and then allows his cooks to grill the meat on the angeethis and tawas. There are a couple of tables there with chairs for those who want to have a quick meal. But the place is essentially a takeaway. They also do home delivery in neighbouring areas (Phone numbers: 9911492786 and 9891692786). The Lodhi Road shop opens in the evenings, but the other one is open through the day.

I asked for a plate of chicken tikkas (Rs.180), kakori rolls (Rs.120 for two pieces) and gilawati kababs (Rs.110 for two). What makes his food different from sundry kabab and tikka makers across the city is the marinade. He doesn’t overwhelm the meat with spices, but neither does he use them so sparingly that the taste gets affected. His mix is just right – and the flavours and taste are indeed delicious. He doesn’t use too much oil in the food and it’s not hot with chillies either. To top it, the meat is beautifully tender. I am not much of a chicken fan, but I thought even his chicken tikkas were deliciously melt-in-the-mouth and full of flavours.

The gilawati was mildly spiced and soft as butter. Yet, it didn’t crumble in the hand as a kabab cooked by inexpert hands threatens to do. The kakori rolls were succulent, and the roomali that enveloped the kabab was nice and soft. I have had rolls which are rubbery because of the maida in the roti. This was just right.

Chacha is a quiet man, but knowledgeable about food. I had a nice conversation with him about the kababs of North India. Nicer still was my dinner that evening. My last thought, before I dropped off to sleep that night, revolved around the kababs and their aromatic flavours. What bliss!

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