Tried and Tasted: Here’s where to have the best lamb korma in Delhi
Peshawari Dhaba, in one of the small by-lanes of the maze that is Palika Bazaar, serves delicious lamb korma and saag meat.tried and tasted Updated: Jan 07, 2018 10:06 IST
When the temperature dips, people react in their characteristic ways. Some curl up in their quilts, many reach out for a hot water bottle, and some brave souls don their jackets and caps and go for brisk walks. I react to the cold weather in my own way – I go in search of some hot korma.
So, when Delhi was enveloped in a thick fog, and like dragons, we were emitting smoke from our nostrils, I thought the time had come to visit a shop in Palika Bazaar for some hot, lamb korma.
The eatery, called Peshawari Dhaba, is in one of the small by-lanes of the maze that is Palika Bazaar. I like the food there for two main reasons – one, it tastes good, and two, it can be found right in the heart of the city. The place was started by a gentleman called Naresh Mehra, but is now being run by one of his associates, Gauri Shankar.
It is a tiny place, where it is difficult to even stand and eat, though you can squeeze your way in like a contortionist and eat your food on wooden planks placed on the sides if you wish to. The dhaba is immensely popular and you can always find a crowd salivating in front of it. You elbow your way in and pay for your meal, and somebody at the counter scoops out a large helping from a degh kept there. It is given to you in a sal leaf bowl, along with two rotis – one roomali and one khamiri – a green chilli and sliced onion placed on a piece of paper. A plate of lamb korma – which comes with four large pieces of meat – is for Rs 300 and a half plate for Rs 150. Chicken korma is for Rs 220. Two rotis are for Rs 10. They also serve saag meat on Thursdays and Sundays.
I was actually dying to eat some saag meat. I had just returned from a holiday where greens figured prominently in every meal and was missing the daily fare of spinach and mustard leaves. But the fact that saag meat was sold only on two days had skipped my mind. I enjoy Peshawari’s meat korma, too, so promptly ordered half a plate.
The korma is cooked in desi ghee and that, you would agree, adds its own delicious flavour to a dish. The gravy is thick, as it should be, but doesn’t have the mild sweet taste that you will find in most kormas of Old Delhi. The sweetness comes from the generous use of onions. The Peshawari Dhaba version is more like a thick mutton curry – but tasty nevertheless. The meat pieces are large and soft, and go well with the rotis.
On a cold day, the sight of smoke emanating from the korma deghs and the smell of desi ghee and cooked, spicy meat in the air can warm you up like no thick quilt or hot water bottle can. The food –the aroma and the taste – gave me such an energy boost that I went back home and had some saag meat for dinner. We didn’t use desi ghee, as Peshawari does, but I must say it brought the food-filled day to a happy end.
Recipe: Saag meat
Ingredients: 1 kg lamb, 1tbsp ginger-garlic paste, 400g spinach, 250g curd, 2 medium-sized onions chopped, 2 medium tomatoes chopped, 4-5 green chillies, 1tsp cumin seeds, 1/2tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chilli powder, ½ tsp garam masala powder, 1tsp coriander powder, juice of 1 lemon, salt to taste, oil for frying.
Method: Wash the meat. Mix it with most of the curd, salt and turmeric and refrigerate for 6-8 hours. Wash and chop the spinach, discarding the stems. Blend the spinach leaves with green chillies and the remaining curd. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds and onions. Fry, and then add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry some more. Add the tomatoes, coriander powder and chilli powder. Fry till the oil separates. Add the lamb with the marinade. Fry well, adding water if required. Pressure cook for two whistles. Once the steam is out, open the lid and add the spinach mix. Cook for 10 minutes, mixing well. Add garam masala and the lemon juice. The saag-meat is ready.
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