First in mid-day: Ode to the unknown kebab

Kebabs occupy a prominent place on a festive platter, and with the season underway, the guide exclusively sampled kebabs made from lesser-known ingredients like beetroot and water chestnuts at Neel’s Jashn-e-Kabab festival

In between mouthfuls of our preview, chef Mukhtar Qureshi at Neel shares that there is no difference between a kebab and a tikka. He says, “Anything dry (without gravy/curry) qualifies to be called a kebab.

Subz Fauladi Sheekh

Imagine raw bananas and seasonal vegetables as a melting kebab for lovers of greens. Subz Fauladi Sheekh is precisely this that has ‘faulad’ i.e. a crust of almonds imbibed to give it a coarse feel.

The word kebab comes from Peshawar and Lucknow while tikka is a term from Punjab.” Continuing on the topic, he spells out that there are four ways of making the delicate meat or vegetable delicacy — sigri, tandoor, tawa and mahi tawa.

Soya Tandoori Macchli

Soya Tandoori Macchli is a rare kebab that is subtle on flavour and has a brilliant texture. Its juices are barely sealed with a crisp exterior, which pop in the mouth when infused with a dash of lemon.

Gosht Tawa “Gutwa” Kabab

A Lucknowi import, Gosht Tawa “Gutwa” Kabab is the only odd one out amongst the picks. This is because though it comprises of succulent lamb kebabs, the dish is cooked on a paraat or a mahi tawaa, which is made of copper and instrumental in infusing flavour.

An important factor while making kebabs is to keep the heat in mind. “The tawa should be on high flame otherwise the kebab crumbles without gaining colour and also, soaks too much oil.” Since chicken and vegetarian dishes have had most following, the chef has concentrated only on these two varieties at the Jashn-e-Kabab festival.

Kashmiri Baingan Tikka

Flavoured with Kashmiri fennel seeds, Kashmiri Baingan Tikka is an attempt to revamp the oft-ignored brinjal. The baby aubergines are crisp to such an extent that you can hear a slight crunch when bitten into.

When asked about the different ingredients that may have made their way into the making of kebabs, the chef informs that star anise is used in South India. An unheard of bet is also stone flower or dagad phool that is used by Kashmiris and Hyderabadis.

Murgh Karachi Sheekh

Murgh Karachi Sheekh bears the colour of beetroot — an off-beat choice for the delicacy in these parts. Chef Mukhtar Qureshi informs that this is a common practice on the other side of the border, i.e. Pakistan. Pics/Satyajit Desai

Dahi Singhada Ke Kabab

Dahi Singhada Ke Kabab crumbles at touch and has a unique mixture of yoghurt and water chestnuts that are given shape with a coating of gram flour. Greeted with a hint of sour, the water chestnuts give a neutral finish while accentuating the soft-yet-crunchy textures. A must for vegetarians who love to experiment.

From: October 10 to 19
At: Ground Floor, Crystal Paradise, off Veera Desai Road, Andheri (W); and Neel at Tote, Mahalaxmi Race Course, KK Marg, Mahalaxmi.
Call: 26749999/88 (Andheri)’ 615 77777 (Mahalaxmi)
Cost: Rs 999 (plus taxes).

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