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Revisiting rahra

A dish offered at Zara

A dish offered at Zara   | Photo Credit: 31dmc rahul 1

The dishes at Zara stand out for their freshness and Awadhi flavour

I had been meaning to try the food out at a small korma-biryani place that has opened in our neighbourhood. Sadly, though, the place came up just before Navratri, when Delhi denizens go vegetarian with a vengeance. One evening, I stopped by to order some mutton biryani and was told that they would serve only chicken till the end of Navratri. A few days ago, when I thought we could do with a nice and warm dinner of biryani and korma, I found that its shutters were down.

I was wondering what we’d do for dinner when I suddenly got a Whatsapp message. It was from Zara, a place about which I had written earlier. The message said that they’d started serving seekh kababs and rahra meat. The latter is a particular favourite of mine because I like keema, and the gravy in rahra meat consists mainly of that. So I promptly called them up and placed an order for one plate of rahra meat (Rs.180) and two plates of mutton seekh kabab (Rs.220 a plate). And I asked for some butter naans (Rs.25 for one) and lachchha parathas (Rs.25).

Zara, if you’ve come in late, is an eatery in IP Extension, in the DDA Market opposite Mayur Public School (Phone: 8826055316, 8826055125 and 7042410982). The last time I was there, as I then wrote in these columns, I had asked for a plate of mutton rogan josh (Rs.180), handi mutton biryani (Rs.180) and murgh handi korma (Rs.150). I had enjoyed the dishes immensely, and still remember the rogan josh.

The food arrived just when my stomach had started rumbling. It was neatly packed, and the rahra meat was in a sealed handi and the kababs in a foiled bag. I started with the kababs and found them juicy and spicy, and especially good when I squeezed a wedge of lime over them. But I like my kababs nicely gray, and this was a bit too red (thanks to Kashmiri mirch which adds more colour than taste). I had them with a small lachcha paratha and then moved to the rahra meat, which I ate with a buttered naan.

The curry was excellent. What’s interesting about the gravy was the fact that the mince was a mix of chicken and lamb meat. The gravy had been cooked with yoghurt, tomato puree, jeera powder and red chilli powder and flavoured with allspice (kababchini) and cinnamon. It was then garnished with mint, coriander, ginger slivers and green chillies.

The restaurant –– which has a small sitting area, too –– takes pride in the fact that the dishes are cooked once orders are placed. The patriarch, Chef Aijaz Ahmed, or Chacha Jaan, as he is known was in the team that started Dum Pukht at ITC Maurya with Chef Qureshi. So there is an Awadhi touch to the food that appeals to me.

For après-dinner, we had a delicious sweet, a kachagolla (which is a chhena ball) with gur syrup in it. That was, alas, the last of a large box of sweets our niece had got from Calcutta. The flavour of gur after the heady taste of a thick meat curry was just the right way to end what turned out to be a very enjoyable meal.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 9:23:07 AM |

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