HYDERABAD: When in Delhi, a food lover should never miss out on Changezi chicken. Quite a few eateries in the Old Delhi area are known for their versions of this dish, which is prepared on a tawa with a lot of tomato paste, cream and garam masala among other ingredients. An eatery at Churiwalan Galli in Delhi initially made this dish so famous that the outlet changed its name to Changezi Chicken.
Apart from this, many other outlets in the Old Delhi area like Karims and Al-Jawahar also serve this tangy and spicy dish. Few joints in Kolkata like Taskeen in Zakaria Street also have their own recipe where the masala sticks to the chicken and there is hardly any gravy.
There are many stories about how this dish got its name. The first one links the dish to Genghis Khan the famous Mongol ruler, referred to in India as Chenghis Khan. It goes on to say that the Mongol conqueror wanted the spices in this chicken tempered with cream, and that is how this dish was born. Another story which looks much more credible is that the creator of the dish named it after an actor friend who played the role of Genghis Khan in a play.
For preparing Changezi chicken the chicken has to be first roasted or grilled. Then it is shredded into pieces and prepared on a tawa with abundant tomato paste, garlic ginger paste, cream, onions and garam masala. The resultant thick gravy dish which is often sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves is usually enjoyed with khameeri roti or naan.
In Hyderabad, dishes from Old Delhi are available at the Tolichowki branch of Karim’s, the iconic eatery from Jama Masjid area in Delhi. Karim’s in Hyderabad has recently introduced Changezi Chicken to its menu. According to Chandra Sekhar Janapati who manages the local outlet, it has received good response from their clientele. Apart from the fact that the dish here was a little tangier than its Delhi counterpart, the taste seems quite traditional.
When you visit Karims for this dish, do not forget to try out their Aloo Gosht, a mutton and potato dish which made the eatery famous about a century ago. Norfest the Dhaba in Gachibowli and Hi-Tec City do not have this delight on their regular menu, but they sometimes offer Changezi Chicken as a special dish for the day. Sabyasachi is a food enthusiast and blogs at www.foodaholix.in