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Most people flock to the legendary Mughlai hotspots listed below for their signature biryanis and kababs. But these restaurants dish out certain special dishes, available on particular days of the week, which are worth waiting in a queue for. Here is a round-up of their day’s specials…
The Royal India Restaurant in Chitpur (they now have a fancy outlet near Park Circus) is best known for their Awadhi style biryani, that comes with chunks of meat and tiny minced meatballs, but leaves the potato out, underscoring its commitment to authenticity over local preference. However, on certain days of the week, Royal turns out a few special dishes, that hardly have a match in the city. Take for instance, the mutton pasinda kabab, melt-in-the-mouth chunks of boneless goat meat laced with braised spices, that features on the menu on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. They also make a Nargisi kofta, boiled eggs in a minced meat casing, cooked in rick creamy gravy rick with nuts and aromatic spices, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a delightfully flavourful, but light mutton stew on Mondays and Fridays.
Sabir’s in Chandni Chowk is famous for their peerless mutton rezala, a fiercely guarded recipe that has wooed generations of Mughlai loving Kolkatians. However, those who do not eat goat meat (due to dietary restrictions or out of choice) could land up at Sabir’s on a Thursday when they make their stellar rezala rich flavoured with pure ghee, saffron and mace, with chicken. Pair it with their equally popular parathas, to experience bliss. Their Thursday specials also include a chicken dopiyaza, but take a tip and stick to the rezala.
On Friday’s, between 12 and 1 in the afternoon, Arsalan, famous for their biryani and cheese kabab, makes a special mutton Irani khichdi, served only at their Park Circus outpost. The spicy khichri is a mix of rice and kesari dal chockfull with tiny cubes of goat meat, flavoured with saffron and a host of warm aromatic spices. It is best to land up before time, this one gets over within an hour, but it is worth queuing up for. On the other hand, India Restaurant in Kidderpore, famous for their Kachhi and Dariyabadi biryani, turns out a limited quantity of slow-cooked Dariyabadi khichri loaded with dried fruits and minced mutton, on Fridays, for exactly an hour, after the midday namaaz.
Zeeshan, another of the city’s biryani behemoths, makes their special Hyderabadi biryani, only on Saturdays and Sundays. Spicier, with a fiery kick from the slit green chillies, it is a good alternative to the Kolkata-style biryani, in case you are looking for something different.
Sufia, another Central Kolkata Mughlai hotspot, is best known for the piping pots of beef nihari they turn out on winter mornings, but they serve up quite a few other dishes that lure its fans all year round. On Monday nights, Sufia makes a fiery curry of braised mutton and offal, and some fantastic beef tehari a subtly spiced pulao or sorts with chunks of tender beef. If you are not a beef eater, there is mutton tehari on Fridays, and chicken pulao on Thursdays and Saturdays.
An independent journalist based out of Calcutta and a dedicated food enthusiast, she writes mostly about food and travel, and has worked and written for publications India Today, The Telegraph, Live Mint as also Lonely Planet India’s website. She also loves to experiment in her kitchen and runs a food blog – allthatsdelicious.com. But mostly she eats, frets about how much she eats and then eats some more.