Butter Chicken and Mutton Burra @ Karim’s


I had just a day in Delhi (or Dilli as it was known in the past) during my last travel to India. This being my first visit to the capital city, a day was way too short a time to live through it. And reaching there late into the night did not help either. I lost a few hours in the morning lazying at my cousin’s house in Gurgaon, a place on the outskirts of Delhi, with an excuse of planning out the rest of my day, over a hot cup of tea rich in milk and freshly made aloo parathas dipped in yogurt. In the end, we decided it was better to see the city through the looking glass, as we drove around. As elaborate as this planning could have been, we decided to lunch at Karim’s at Old Delhi, known to be one of those restaurants featured in the Time Magazine as Asia’s finest. Little did I know what I was into when I agreed to this idea.

By the time we got to Old Delhi, wading through the traffic which was surprisingly more organized than most other cities of the same rank, it was that time when the schools closed and children and school buses ruled the roads.

School Bus

We got out of the car as the roads were a little too narrow for the cars to drive into. I was told to watch out for my wallet as we meandered through the crowded lanes. The sweltering heat coupled with the “stringent” timelines made us look for faster options to get to our destination and a cycle rickshaw, one of those greener ways of moving around in the city, was the best of them all. Cycle rickshaws were in abundance on the Delhi roads and having had very limited experience riding on one of them, I immediately agreed to that thought.

A "green" alternative

The roads started to narrow further, as we drove by the side of the famous Juma Masjid, so much that we could now stretch our hands and pick up goods from the stores on either sides. After a ten minute ride, we reached a lane through which no man-made vehicle on road today could pass through. And this was that part of delhi which was the captial of the Mughal empire, known for its grandeur!

And on one of the alleyways I found Karim’s!

Karim Hotel

Spread across three tiny buildings, they had about two dozen tables. We picked a spot right next to the kitchen. The smell from the kicthen was deliciously tempting. My cousin recommended that I tried the butter chicken and the mutton burra (charcoal fried goat pieces). It hardly took 5 mintues for all the dishes to come out.

Amongst all my senses, I would call my tongue as the worst. I can hardly distinguish the tastes in any food, apart from the fact that they are tasty. But even for me, the butter chicken tasted heavenly. And the meat in the mutton burra was so perfectly cooked that it melted in my mouth. The wise men from the mountains say that the tastiest of foods can be found at the most ordinary of places. Never in my right frame of mind, would I have ever thought of entering a place such as this, had it not been for someone to persuade me. And as I dragged my sleepy self back to the airport after that sumptuous meal, I realised it would be hard for me to appreciate the same food at any other place from now…

Offbeat: I had this post written on my way back from India. Somehow it got lost and buried under the pile of notes on my ipad.

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~ by Niranjan Nandakumar on August 15, 2011.

2 Responses to “Butter Chicken and Mutton Burra @ Karim’s”

  1. I would love to try some of your buttered chicken and goat from this tiny, hidden resteraunt. Sounds scrumptuous.

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