Purani Dilli’s - AL Karam
Kebab House - DLF Ph 4, SUPERMART-1, Gurgaon....... Must Visit - 4.5 /
Courtesy : The Writers Collective - India
from its awesome monuments, the once-mighty Mughal dynasty also left Delhi with
a rich culinary legacy known as Mughlai cuisine. The Muslims from western Asia
brought their rich artistic and gastronomic culture to India. This influence
lasted for more than 400 years and is now part of the Indian culinary culture.
The great Muslim rulers brought their panache and elegance of living to India's
culinary scene. The two colliding cultures resulted in a magnificent cuisine
called Mughlai Cuisine.
When we talk of the food at an upscale
restaurant we invariably talk of the chef behind it. But despite most of us
finding the array of food available in Dilli (Delhi’s) old quarters
lip-smacking, few of us remember the 'bawarchis', or the traditional cooks,
behind the culinary magic.
Purani Dilli, as the area is known, is
still home to some of the indigenous Mughal-era bawarchis and many dishes'
origins can be traced to this place. Despite that, the Old Delhi cooks remain
anonymous to food lovers as their toque and apron-wearing counterparts in
five-star hotels and expensive fine dining restaurants hog all the limelight.
The only thing in the world that these
bawarchis care about is their recipes and spices. They guard their recipes with
their lives - one of the reasons they seldom keep people from outside their
family as apprentices. And in case they have to do for some reason, they keep
the apprentices away from the spices they use. This, they think, is essential
to survive in the profession and maintain their exclusive taste……..
And a foodie, especially like me
cannot even think or imagine life without Mughlai Cuisine….. Can have
pizzas, burgers, pastas, red curries, noodles and much much more but when it
comes to a wholesome , soul satiating meal I go for mughlai food…… But
the best Muslim food in real sense is available at Jama Masjid area in old Delhi
and the royal cuisine so revered by generations of Delhiites and international
epicures is served in a shabby setting that belies the delicacies on offer.
But it's not possible to go there every time you have a craving for such
food….. It’s so crowded and chaotic in that area that even thinking of going
there makes people lose interest (i am one amongst them)…….
No worries, luck has favored us all as one of the best joints of Jama Masjid
(other than Karim’s – which is synonymous with Jama Masjid food – just for the
name of it)............Purani Dilli’s Al Karam’s, opened up its first
outlet in Supermart 1, DLF 4, Gurgaon and then at Satya Niketan Mkt…..South
Campus, Opp. Venky’s College, Delhi and now planning to open up at Sohna Road ,
Our Bloggers group , The Writers Collective - India and others (writers,
media) gathered together to connect and network, helping to inspire and nurture
community, creativity, innovation & professionalism. We as Food bloggers
received valuable advice from our star profile Avininder Singh Jee aka Foodie
Surdie..... It was a golden opportunity to interact with other like minded
We as a group were meeting again and were excited to be in good company and
to savour the good food at Al Karam’s. Our dear friend Varun Veigas the
owner of Al Karam’s outlets other than the Jama Masjid outlet….invited us all
to have lunch and relish the awesomeness.
This outlet at DLF Ph 4, Supermart 1, Gurgaon has recently been renovated
and expanded to a seating of 40 pax. To cater to the increasing popularity of
the place. But
once you are about to enter the restaurant, it’s pure indulgence of your taste
buds. The aroma of freshly roasted seekh kebab from the hot burning sigri (BBQ)
greets you even before you have taken a seat inside……simple chairs and tables
with comfortable temperature inside the premises is welcoming……..
|Kebabs on BBQ (sigri)|
And as expected
, we all were welcomed with the most delicious and perfectly done seekh kebabs
(Rs.130/230) Aah. !!!.the kebabs were like heaven on plate….All of us
loved them except our dear friend Rosme who happened to be the only
vegetarian at our table…. We must pat her back , coz she knew the place is a
heaven for meat eaters , still she joined in. Nonetheless, she was served
with nice paneer tikkas and soya chaaps, which I tasted and was very good too.
Was served with something which is usually not a part of our culinary fare
in Delhi…… Roast Duck (Batakh) (Rs. 800/1500) and Roast Quail (Bateir)
(Rs.450/800) (24 hours advance notice for preparation).. The roast duck is a
bit different than a chicken, big and robust ……the flavor of meat is a little
strong as compared to chicken and so is the taste …… We were told about
its marination , with spicy masalas and orange juice….Yes orange juice which
goes very well with duck meat bringing out the flavors…. The quail however is a
small bird…..which has very low skin fat and cholesterol……. Is a healthy option
for conscious people (not like us at all)……..taste was good….less meaty due to
size…. It’s small and looks like a small chick… Duck I can say is an acquired
taste but quail is easy on the palate…..
Now came the Hakeemi Chicken Tikka (Rs.200/300), not from a hakeem ( a
muslim physician) but the gharana or the family of Hakeem Chefs …... it was a
lovely variant of the Malai Chicken Tikka …… covered with a thick paste of
cream, curd , butter and dry fenugreek leaves or as we know it kasoori methi
………….we loved this dish…..one can have full meal with this dish only….roomali
roti and this dish….will do it all…. The taste and the awesome flavors of
the thick gravy like potion on this dish was heavenly………
|Hakeemi Chicken Tikka|
|The Writers Collective-India @Al Karams Kebab House|
It was announced that now the main course dishes are going to follow……The
feeling of fullness had already started to sink in….. But we, the ardent eaters
and that too meat ……bas aane do…aane do…..dekha jayega……..hahahaaaaa…..
The Mutton Haleem (Rs.200/300/500), Mutton Korma (Rs. 200/300/500) and the
Hari Mirch White Korma (chicken) were served in big wholesome bowls…….The
quantity and the portion size here is real good. Even, half the portion is
enough for 2-3 people as the dishes are heavy in preparations.
White Korma was very well prepared in thick yoghurt and cream gravy with
green chillies as this is a special recipe and is made on special occasions in
The Haleem (mutton), my personal favorite was very good and well made. It is made of wheat,
barley, meat (usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken or minced meat)
lentils, spices and ghee. This dish is slow cooked for seven to eight hours,
which results in a paste-like consistency, blending the flavors of spices,
meat, barley and wheat.
|White Korma (chicken)|
desserts like Mutanjan (Zarda – Mildly sweet flavored rice with lots of candied
and dry fruits)….. The flavor of cloves and cinnamon was present in the dish
but as per our group members it could have been more sweet, I agree. The Phirni
(ground rice in milk) served in clay plates authentic purani dilli style. The
Phirni was really flavorful , chilled and good. But yes the desserts are being
worked upon by them so as to give us the best of old delhi in a sweet plate.
The overall feel
of the place and the service is quite homely and welcoming. The staff is
friendly and Chef (Noor) and other cooks are from Jama Masjid who are very
passionate for their work. The pricing is really very reasonable. .......
Overall I would say…. A must visit again and again….as so many dishes that
too rich ones cannot be savored in 1 or 2 rounds……..
The passion of a young chap, Varun Veigas and the expertise of Umez Bhai
(owner of original AL Karam , Jama Masjid)…..has worked very well and got us
one of the best Muslim food, outside purani dilli in the comfort of South Delhi
you are busy deciding upon your date with Al Karam’s what I personally feel is
that going to Al Karam’s is really not as much about the delicious food, as it
is about tasting a little part of India’s culinary history and experiencing the
true essence of our country.
I wish them lots of luck and strength to remain as passionate as they are
now…….to gain success in this culinary journey………….. Cheers !!!
are on a scale of 1 to 5 ( 1 being the least and 5 the Best)
--- 3.5 / 5.0
Pricing --- 4.5 / 5.0
Taste --- 4.5 / 5.0
Service--- 4.0 / 5.0
Overall V.F.M. --4.5 / 5.0
Meal for Two --- Rs. 700/- to 800/-
|Chef Noor (left) Varun Veigas (centre back)|
Dilli's AL Karam Kebab House,
A 133, Supermart 1, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon.
Ph. +91 99 10 087760
Labels: bbq, biryani, chandni chowk, chicken, darya ganj, delhi, duck, galleria, haleem, jama masjid, kebab, mahal, mughlai, nahari, non veg, purani dilli, roasted, tandoor, tikka