Food

At Ghalib Kabab Corner in Nizamuddin: Know your Ghalib!

SUCCULENT OPTIONS Seekh kababs at Ghalib Kabab Corner

SUCCULENT OPTIONS Seekh kababs at Ghalib Kabab Corner   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The finger-licking fare at Ghalib Kabab Corner in Nizamuddin breaks many preconceived notions

On my little (non-existent, I might as well confess) list of things to do, I have just added a new one: break preconceived notions. Because I discovered Old Delhi in my salad days — as I walked up from Rafi Marg to Daryaganj in search of books every Sunday — I always believed that good Muslim food could only be found in the Walled City. And, over the years, the thought took root as my friends from Old Delhi insisted that there was nothing to beat the kabab of, say, Lal Quan, and the biryani of Turkman Gate.

Well, while I do agree that the food of Old Delhi still rules, I have also come to the conclusion that a few places in Jamia and Nizamuddin give it a real run for its money. There is a place in Nizamuddin Basti that I had visited eons ago, but forgotten all about. I focused on the Jama Masjid area, for I always thought I’d get better kababs and tikkey in there. But now I am convinced that Ghalib Kabab Corner offers some of the best tikkas that I have eaten.

Ghalib Kabab Corner (Ph No: 9810786479) is opposite the Markazi mosque in Nizamuddin. It has been around for 45 years or so, and has a loyal clientèle. And after eating its kababs and tikkas, I know why. I asked for a few plates of shami kababs, tikkas and seekh kababs. The shami was of minced lamb meat, the other two of buffalo meat. And they were all simply superb.

The tikka was juicy and meaty, the seekh tender and the shami packed with meat and lightly spiced. I think what makes them different is the fact that the spices are mild and have just the right balance. The shami, for instance, is not hot, but deliciously fragrant. They are crisp on the outside and soft within. So when you bite into them, you get two different textures which complement each other.

The seekh, again, is succulent and not the least bit rubbery, as seekhs often are. To top it, they aren’t the scary red that some seekhs come coloured with. And the tikkas — nice and thick moist chunks — are cooked so well that you find the juices trapped inside, and with just the right, mild flavours of spices. The grandson of the owner — who, by the way, is always present at the counter — tells me that the masalas come all the way from Lucknow.

Ghalib’s is quite a big outlet, with a seating arrangement inside and chairs and tables placed outside, near the mosque. You get the aroma of kababs and tikkas being grilled the moment you reach there. It opens at noon and doesn’t down its shutters till 11.30 p.m. or so. I am told it gets very busy in the evenings and people often have to line up before they get to the counter.

The prices are so reasonable that you feel you’ve conned the restaurant owners. A plate of tikkas is for ₹50, while four seekh kababs come for ₹50 and two plump shami kababs for ₹70.

I was in search of snacky food, but they have a host of other dishes, too — such as chicken and mutton korma and biryani. They have mutton tikka, rolls, tandoori chicken and chicken kababs. And then there is roomali roti, as well as sheermal.

“If only,” I am told, are two of the saddest words in English. If only I’d kept up my friendship with Ghalib, I tell myself as I lick my fingers after biting into a tender tikka. But then a few Urdu words of hope come to my mind. “Der aye, durust aye – better letter than never!”

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 1:16:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/know-your-ghalib/article21379272.ece

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