Tried and Tasted: This shop in Delhi University serves the best non-veg tikkas in the city
There is nothing quite that beats the sound and sight of sizzling oil in a large flat tawa, on which juicy meat pieces are gently being moved around, as they take on a rich brownish-red hue. And if instead of oil, the tikkas are being fried in desi ghee, there is nothing to beat the aroma that tickles your nostrils.
I stood by one such place the other evening, watching a master artiste at work. On the sides of the tawa were semi cooked tomatoes and onions. Marinated and semi-cooked chicken and meat pieces were kept in large utensils at the back. Some tomatoes and onions were slid into the centre of the tawa in the spluttering desi ghee. The man by the tawa added some salt, red chilli powder and garam masala to it. Then he added whatever the customer wanted to – chicken or mutton tikka, kababs, chops or even brain. This was stirred well, and once cooked, served to the salivating customer in a plate, with sliced onions, green chillies, coriander leaves, a slice of lemon and chutney.
The place, called Bablu Snacks, is a very popular eatery in Gobind Market, near the Clock Tower or Amba Cinema in Delhi University. From Hansraj College, if you take the road going to the Clock Tower, you will find Bablu on your left, just 10 yards before the tower.
The tiny hole-in-the-wall shop has been around since 1971. It has its loyal clientele, quite possibly because of the taste that the desi ghee infuses into the dishes. You will find a crowd of people standing there in the evenings and Bablu does a brisk home delivery business, too. It is open from 6 pm to about 11pm, and is shut on Tuesdays and on Navratris.
I had the chicken tikkas, the mutton tikkas and the chops. They were all delicious. The meat was juicy, and had been cooked just right – and had the sharp bite of a well-done tikka. The masalas were perfectly balanced, too, and I liked the mildly sweet taste that the onions gave the dish. I love mutton chops, so that was a delight, too. The meat had been marinated well, and had soaked in all the juices and the spices.
But what makes Bablu’s fare so special is the desi ghee that the food is cooked in. It enhances the taste of the chicken and the mutton, while adding its own characteristic flavours to the dish.
The rates for the chicken and mutton tikkas range between Rs 190 and Rs 300, depending on what you want and how much. The motto of Bablu Snacks – written on its menu card – is interesting. Kam khao, achcha khao (Eat less, but eat well), it says.
I, no doubt, ate well. But can’t say I ate less.
Recipe: Chicken tikka
Ingredients: 500g boneless chicken pieces, 1/4th cup hung yoghurt, 1tbsp minced garlic, 1tsp chopped ginger, 1tsp cumin powder, 1/2tsp red chilli powder, salt to taste, ghee for frying.
Method: Wash the chicken well, and pierce the pieces lightly with a fork. Now mix the chicken with the other ingredients. Keep aside in the marinade for about six hours. Heat ghee in a frying pan. Add the chicken and the masalas, and fry till done.
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