Saturday, March 03, 2007

Nahari at Turkaman Gate

Delhi's climate has long given up all claims to rationality. The unseasonal chilly rains we're facing currently is a case in point. Normally, cold weather in Delhi is something to look forward to. But so unpredictable have things become that most perceive the rains as portents of a gruesome summer that must surely lie ahead.

Making the best of a bad job, a friend and self decided on an impromptu Nahari-hunting expedition the day before yesterday. We devised the plan the previous evening, finalised it a couple of hours later, and set off at six in the morning. Some time ago, I had heard of a famous Nahari shop near Kali Masjid in the Turkaman Gate area. We decided to check it out.

The Masjid itself is quite interesting. It was built in 1387 during the reign of emperor Firozshah Tughlaq, close to his capital city Firozshah Kotla. Razia Sultan's tomb also lay nearby. Situated on a little hillock in what was then open ground, it was later subsumed within the walled city of Shahjahanabad. Habitation sprang up and ultimately surrounded the mosque as well as the tomb. Today, the Masjid has no compound to speak of, at least none outside its walls. Houses, built higgledy-piggledy and perpetually threatening to cave in on one another, have spread like tentacles around and over it.

Finding the shop was no problem. In fact we had passed it on our way to the mosque. The food itself was good, just about; nothing exceptional. Though soft and well-cooked, the meat lacked the rich flavour so essential to good Nahari. Neither did the spices seem to make their presence felt. And at 36 bucks for two helpings and three Rotis, we felt we could get better value for money elsewhere. Certainly not worth getting up at six and squelching through rain, muck, and semi-dissolved horse dung.