Food Spot Metroplus

Aslam’s chicken, our delight

The scene at Aslam Chicken shop at Matia Mahal in OId Delhi. Photo: S. Subramanium

The scene at Aslam Chicken shop at Matia Mahal in OId Delhi. Photo: S. Subramanium   | Photo Credit: S_Subramanium

When the weather is like this – with the sun playing a gloomy game of hide and seek – you yearn for something warm. The fog around you is so dense that you need your own internal heater and light. So what do you do but head for some hot, bone-warming food?

I went to one corner of Delhi, where a gentleman called Aslam has been warming the cockles of foodie-hearts for a while now. He is a wizard when it comes to grilling and cooking chicken. He has found his own wonderful way of presenting a dish that is neither a tandoori chicken nor the butter chicken that was pioneered by Moti Mahal. It is Aslam’s version of a tandoori butter chicken.

Aslam’s counter is in Matia Mahal, the main road facing Jama Masjid. If you go 150 yards down the road, you’ll find Aslam’s on your left. He is also very well known in the area, so you can ask around for directions to Aslam’s Chicken. The address is: 540, Bazaar Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid. Phone Numbers: 9312281022 and 9811469795. The shop opens only in the evenings.

Aslam’s Chicken is a small eatery, with a few chairs and tables inside. There’s a big grill in front of the shop, where a great many industrious men can be seen skewering and grilling marinated chicken pieces, while Aslam oversees the operations. Once the chicken is cooked, the pieces are put in a large bowl. A special masala is sprinkled on top, and then some chutney is splashed over it.

And then comes the interesting part. While the chicken is being grilled, some men are heating huge 500-gram slabs of butter in pans. Once the butter melts, it’s poured over the chicken in the bowl, and then served to the salivating customer. A full plate of chicken is for Rs.400 and a half plate for Rs.200. Aslam grills fish in a similar manner.

Needless to say, the chicken is simply out of this world. The butter seeps into the chicken and gives it a lip-smacking flavour and taste. It also softens the texture of the chicken – and that is so much nicer than dry chicken tandoori.

Aslam’s counter is relatively a newcomer to the area. He is not like Kallu nahariwallah or Bundu haleemwala, who have been around for ages (of course, Bundu is no more, but the descendants still make and sell delicious haleem). Aslam’s shop, on the other hand, is only about 10 or 15 years old. Local lore has it that Aslam went to Pakistan and saw this method of chicken being grilled – and introduced it to Old Delhi. I don’t know if that’s a fact, but what is certainly true is that his chicken is delicious.

I had been hearing a lot about Aslam’s chicken from a group of young foodies who have been exploring the Walled City for its wonderful treasures. I now know what makes his chicken so special and why the young aficionados keep going there.

Roll over, Moti Mahal – Aslambhai is here.

Rahul Verma is a seasoned street food connoisseur

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:54:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/food-spot-aslams-chicken-our-delight/article6771756.ece

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