April 24, 2011 3:45:45 am
In the heart of Mayapuris industrial area,New Khalsa serves up two treats: Liver dana and mutton burra
Liver dana. Mutton burra. It is always said together and even said twice. At the New Khalsa restaurant in Mayapuri,Phase II,these specials are rattled off in quick succession. Dana. Burra. The goat liver pieces,almost triangular in shape,are swathed in goat fat twice,before being skewered and cooked in a large tandoor.
In the restaurant kitchen,the mutton burra gets a gentler treatment of lasan and namak before its tossed in the tandoor to char to a light brown. The liver dana is just dunked in straight with the fat.
Ever since it came up about 50 years ago,foodies in Delhi have made it a point to visit New Khalsa for these two dishes. My father started this as a dhaba in the 1950s. We came from Peshawar and settled near Motia Khan in Delhi. The first dhaba was there,then we shifted in the 70s to Mayapuri, says 48-year-old Pritam Singh,sitting on a blue-gold upholstered chair at the restaurant. While we wait to taste the famous liver dana,Singh makes it a point to mention the other special tawa chicken with goat brain curry and also that Punjabi singer Daler Mehendi had once come by.
New Khalsa is located in the heart of an industrial area market,clearly not a place for a family experience,though Singh says,they do entertain families in the evenings. We get people from the nearby markets,but families visit us mostly at night, he says,looking at a large eight-seater table.
The New Khalsa was renovated ten years ago and has a decor thats caught between a dhaba and a restaurant. There is an LCD TV and a false ceiling. The odd bluish print that creeps up the wall and chequred floor seem to have a coat of the steaming butter from the kitchen.
While the liver dana has always been a crowd-puller,things have not always been smooth. Singh shifts nervously when we ask him about the incident in the Mayapuri industrial area last April when radioactive Cobalt-60 was found at a scrap metal dealers shop. It was a kilometre from here. We were scared, says Singh. The crowd of three on the small table adjacent to ours,give us a questioning look. The word radioactive hangs heavy in the air. But like a gravy spill hastily wiped away,Singh says,But now it is all safe,safe. On cue,the men on the next table are back to discussing auto spare parts and new furniture shops being opened in the market.
The liver dana finally arrives on our table,sixteen pieces of brown meat,with a hint of fried fat at the edges. The taste is crunchy,there is a hint of garlic,but nothing overpowering. It is a heavy item,says Singh,warning us that no one can eat more than one plate.
The tawa chicken with the goat brain curry is chicken with bone in a brain curry that looks just like butter chicken gravy. The burra is crisp,but doesnt pack in too much of a punch. The liver dana is clearly a winner on the white plastic plates. It is all about the mutton quality, says Singh,who says he has a special supplier in West Delhi.
Our family recipe has worked for us for decades,and people come here for specific dishes till now, he says as the lunch time crowd fills up the blue chairs.
There are no menu cards being distributed,the waiters just list out the specials,and we could hear the same ring: Liver dana. Mutton burra.
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