Sorry for the silence – life seems to have gone a bit crazy around here. Ever since The Hindustan Times wrote a lovely feature about Eat and Dust a couple of weeks ago, my inbox has been overflowing with offers of exciting foodie projects! One that I’ve been extremely happy to be preoccupied with is a new newspaper column on baking – coming very soon – stay tuned!
I did, though, still manage a couple of street food forays – and that despite the 42º heat! One outstanding new find – and it took a bit of finding! – is Ashok and Ashok’s Meat Dhaba in Sadar Bazaar.
For those in the know, Ashok’s chicken and mutton korma is legendary. The tiny little street eatery also has an extremely macho pedigree. Word has it that the original Ashok and Ashok (now deceased) were, how shall I put this? Locally referred to as ‘toughies’ or ‘hoodlums’, I gather there was a touch of The Sopranos about the two friends, who to curry (!) favour with patrons, used cook up great pots of mutton and chicken. Catering eventually became their main activity and the legend lives on in Sadar Bazar.
The shop still feels pretty testosterone-fuelled – I get the impression not many ladies lunch there! Maybe they should: A&A, now run by a son and brother-in-law, have a limited but incredible menu. They make chicken korma every day, mutton korma (only on Wednesday and Saturday) and biryani. To give some idea of how good this food is, we arrived at about 2pm on a Wednesday (1 hour after opening) and the mutton was already finished. If the chicken was anything to go by, the mutton must be stupendous. The meat was melting, the dark brown gravy hinted at a magical mystery masala (apparently up to 30 different spices), pistachios, and a devilish pact with the ghee tin. Alongside, the rather racy, coriander-laced rotis moved things along fabulously.
I thought The Caveman was going to cry, declaring it one of the best things he’s ever eaten; the American journalist who had come along to research a feature on street food confessed he was ‘having a moment’; and I wondered, frankly, why I ever bother eating in ‘proper’ restaurants.
I can also recommend the jalebis from this young man on the corner.
Ashok and Ashok,42, Subhas Chowk, Basti Harphool Singh, Sadar Thana Road. We came to Sadar Bazar from Idgah Road – at the crossroads with Sardar Thana Marg, turn right and Sadar Bazar Police Station will be on your left. Keep walking until you see Madan Lal Halwai shop, Ashok and Ashok is up the lane just before it. You’ll smell it before you see it!