For a nawabi spread
Authentic Mughlai fare at Kababee's
UNDER THE catch-all phrase "North Indian food" our City has included a wide array of Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthani, and Mughalai fare along with Kashmiri and other cuisine from the north of the Sahyadris, which are also thrust in this category.
But, for the discerning, this is not at all satisfactory, and Asif K. Khan is one among them. He had to travel in the south for his business and "could hardly find authentic Mughalai cuisine in all those travels". This inspired him to start a restaurant of his own in the City.
Called Kababee's, this three-month-old restaurant offers Bangaloreans authentic Mughlai food. "I provide a taste of Nawabi Khana," says Mr. Khan with conviction.
There are eight chefs from Lucknow along with nanbais (special cooks who make rotis), who work for Mr. Khan. Their forefathers used to serve on dastar khawan of Nawabs. The herbs and spices used in Kababee's kitchen are from the steeped-in-tradition Barabanti. Most recipes served here go back several generations. For instance, the melt-in-the-mouth kakori kababs were prepared by the great grandson of Nabban Mia, the legendary inventor of kakori kababs. Even the unusual sheermal, a special tandoor roti, made with saffron and clove is served here.
The tandoor at Kababee's, acquired from Agra, is made by a specialist. In a small one-storey house opposite the Koramangala Club, a beige-colour scheme with wrought iron furniture, was designed by Mr. Khan's wife, Rubina Khan, for this 72-cover place. The bright ambience with clean lines enhances appreciation of the rich gravies, sauces of curd, cream, crushed almonds, and cashew as also the flavoured biryanis cooked in asli ghee.
The kababs are prepared on charcoal fire, and the rotis in that special Agra tandoor. One should not miss its shuruwat soups (Rs. 20 to Rs. 25). Here there are tomato, vegetable, hot and sour, or chicken soup to choose from. Kakori kabab is an absolute must (Rs. 60). But then, with such scrumptious fare on offer, repeated visits are recommended.
The shahi mutton delicacies include korma Hyderabadi, do-piaza, rogan josh, kheema gosht, mutton kalimirch, and kadai mutton (priced at Rs. 50 each). There is a similar variety in chicken shahi delicacies along with butter chicken and chicken bemisaal (Rs. 45). The latter has tender pieces of chicken laced with fresh herbs and ginger flavoured gravy, cooked in the right amount of oil.
The pleasant surprise at Kababee's is its interesting range of vegetarian delicacies, which are priced between Rs. 25 and Rs. 45. Apart from paneer butter masala, shahi korma, kadai paneer, paneer bhurji, there is kadai vegetable, butter masala, dopiaza, aloo tomato or aloo gobhi to savour. Among the tandoori vegetarian items there is paneer tikka, paneer haryali, and vegetable tikka.
The daals on offer are makhani, rajma, and chana masala (priced between Rs. 25 and Rs. 30). The rice dishes include mutton/chicken biryani.
Tandoori chicken (full Rs. 250, half Rs. 75) and chicken tikka are added to the tandoor items. The cooks take care to marinate the chicken so well that the flavour is retained even in the inner part of the meat.
The rotis include rumali, tandoori, naan, and paratha, beside sheermal.
For dessert, Ms. Khan prepares gajar halwa and phirni at home and sends it to the restaurant.
The graininess of the phirni with its correct proportion of ingredients is proof enough. Shahi tukra is the third dessert on the menu (Rs. 25).
Kababee's is a real find in the City for Mughlai food lovers and is affordable. It can be contacted on 5506170.
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