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Kashmiri Kebab Wala

Kashmiri Kebab Wala

By Anubhav Sapra

Where – T-point Phatak Teliya, Turkman Gate

The raging debate on ‘intolerance’ in the country has taken the country by storm. However, far away in foodie land what remains unaffected is the food of Old Delhi. Such  a relief! The buff kebabs are grilled to be savoured by the food lovers of Delhi without any discrimination.

A family from East Pulwama, Kashmir has been selling buff kebabs for the past 74 years in Turkman Gate, at a temporary set up, near the scrap market. Every winter, towards the end of November, this family travels to Delhi to sell kashmiri kebabs, just for four months. The shop which is open between 12 noon to 10 pm is located at the T-point of Phatak Teliya, Turkman Gate.

IMG_20151129_192131Started by Ghulam Mohd, the little shack is now run by the father son duo- Md. Yusuf and Md. Bilal. His other two sons- Mustafa and Sameer sell the same Kashmiri kebabs at Motor Market, opposite Jama Masjid. Md. Yusuf sits besides the scrap of photostat machines with a grill and a small fan to churn the buff kebabs. While Bilal puts the minced meat over the skewer, Yusuf grills it to perfection.

From young to old, Yusuf seems to be everyone’s favourite. The bond is so strong that any localite, if in Kashmir, stays at Yusuf’s place. When I reached there, I saw a kid relishing kebabs straight from the skewers. Within few minutes, another man came who asked this kid to recognize Yusuf bhai. I have captured the joy of this little one relishing kebabs in a video as well (obviously, with his due assent and the guardian’s consent to it). In the words of Yusuf, it is the “mohabbat” of the locals here that acts as a pull for his family to come every year in the winters.

IMG_20151129_191852The kebab is a bit different from the regular ones we get on the streets of Old Delhi. The keema is red in colour, not finely grounded, and contains fewer spices. Md Yusuf brings his own spices from Kashmir; in fact even the garlic and ginger are brought from Kashmir. The kebab is not soft or melt-in-mouth kind, but it is flavoured with finesse. I loved it to the core and for a moment, I could relate myself with the little boy who stood there relishing kebabs straight from the skewer. If I was an Old Delhi child, that would be me! A plate which costs Rs 10 is served with radish and green coriander sauce. One can always ask for Romali roll which is just Rs 13 per roll. A seekh kebab is rolled on a romali roti, doused with chutney and slices of radish to create a bundle of happiness.

There is another Kashmiri Kebab wala who sits at Bulbuli Khana in Jama Masjid. He works as a peon in a school in Kashmir and will be here in Delhi in another week to grill kebabs for the locals. Eagerly awaiting his arrival as I dream of kebabs!

 

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Bhaijaan Kebabs

Bhaijaan Kebabs

By Anubhav Sapra

Last Sunday, Delhi Food Walks conducted its first community food walk of 2015 – the Kebab and Biryani Trail in Old Delhi. The food walk started with galouti kebabs and ended with the famous sutli kebabs of Bazar Matia Mahal. The highlight of the kebab trail was Bhaijaan Kebabs. The name of the shop itself will arouse the curiosity of anyone visiting the shop. When I first visited the shop, I was expecting a well-built, husky fan of the Bollywood star Salman Khan. However, I met the rather gracious owner, Mohd. Shamim, who started selling kebabs three years back just out of his passion and love for kebabs. The shop is run by his son, Ubaid, and his cousins, Javed and Ameen.

WP_20150110_18_43_17_ProLet me tell you the location and directions to reach his shop. Keep walking straight in Bazar Matia Mahal until you reach Chitli Qabar Chowk, then take a right turn from there, and ask anyone the directions to the famous Flora Bakery. Bhaijaan Kebabs are right opposite Flora Bakery. The complete address is shop no. 2202, Bazar Chitli Qabar, Opp. Flora Bakery, Delhi-6. The shop is closed on Tuesdays. You can contact Bhaijaan Kebabs on the following numbers – 9811020272, 9899145777.

The shop is named Bhaijaan (literally, brother) Kebabs because the age difference among the siblings in Mohd. Shamim’s family was not much and everyone in the family started calling him “bhaijaan”. Bhaijaan, originally a contractor for painting work, used to invite his family and friends for daawat back at home. His kebabs were so delectable that the guests who tasted his kebabs in dawaats convinced him to take his passion of cooking to the next level and open a kebab shop. He opened a small shop selling chicken shami kebabs in a narrow alley in Chitli Qabar.

WP_20150110_18_31_22_ProAn interesting part of the most of food joints in Old Delhi is that they specialize in a particular dish and pass the recipes from one generation to the next without tweaking the recipes. Keeping alive the Old Delhi tradition, Bhaijaan Kebabs sells only one kind of kebabs – shami kebabs. The keema of shami kebabs are made with chane ki daal, dried red chillies, green chillies, and Bhaijaan’s secret spices. A piece of kebab costs Rs. 10 and a kg of keema for shami kebabs is Rs. 200. The kebabs are half fried and kept in a glass box. On order, the shami kebabs are deep fried, chaat masala is sprinkled over it, and is served with green chutney and onion in a dona. The kebabs are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The uniqueness of his kebabs are the fibres which one can experience in the first bite. The taste of the kebabs was delicious, and the spices and whole red chillies added to the interesting mix of flavours.

The kebab lovers moved in to another lane of Chitli Qabar for sutli kebabs after relishing the taste of Bhaijaan’s fibrous shami kebabs.

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.