By Tanushree Saxena

The one thing that makes Delhi so lovable is the food this city brings to us. Hidden in nooks and corners of various old markets, Delhi has presented enough food joints that we raved about and recommended to our friends. A place that I love to go to when no one at home feels like cooking and I’m torn about about what to pack into a doggie bag, is MI Food Center {Meat Specials} in Meherchand Market. Think plates of chikken tikkas, and then some more.

Yes, the name doesn’t sound too appealing and you may have your eyebrow raised at this recommendation, but if you skip this, you’re missing out on some of the most fabulously cooked tikkas and kebabs in the city.

MI Food Center, owned by Haji Mohd. Ilyas and run by his sons, sits somewhere in the middle of  Meherchand market {ahead of Nourish Organics and Fabindia}. Walking past it, there is no way that you can avoid that luring smell of chicken tikkas on hot coal. And that is exactly how I ended up standing as part of a large crowd circling the of MI Food Centre.

50 years ago, the family who originally has a meat shop, thought of sharing their family recipes with others. Today they have customers who have been flocking this food joint for decades. Their best seller is the humble ‘mutton seekh kabab’. How different can it be, you’d think? I would say it’s a perfect balance of spices blending with fresh mutton, swivelled and twisted over coal that gives it the finishing touch. It is different enough to make fellow dilliwalas and loyalists to come out asking for more on the hottest of Delhi evenings.

Having been before, I had already tried the ‘roasted chicken’, which is the another popular dish. Unlike the tandoori chicken version which is commonplace, their roasted chicken is flavoured with an array of spices and served with an oil based sauce. It is an absolute must try! I saw customers asking for the roasted chicken and then the ‘malai tikka’, which naturally meant that it was the next dish to come to our table. A warning here- the malai tikka is the dish that you fear when you’ve been trying to eat healthy. These 8 pieces of chicken tikka are cooked in the most buttery and creamy sauce possible, and that’s probably why it just melts in your mouth.  Thanks to the richness, it becomes the dish that you place repeat orders for and put your diet on the back-burner. For me, a simple but crucial accompaniment is hari chutney, and I am happy to say that even that has been mastered by MI Food Centre! Next on the plate was ‘Mutton kabab rolls’; a common dish among this category of food, nevertheless a winner! Light and feather-like rumali rotis worked extremely well with succulent mutton packed inside, They also make ‘chicken fry’ which I had to place second to the mouthwatering dressings and succulent chicken I had tasted earlier.

The best part about MI Food Centre is the quantity of food served. The generosity of the servings, is remarkable- good enough for a party at home! And while MI Food Centre is a very busy and a very hot place; it’s also unassuming and real which adds to the experience. For Haji Mohd Zohaib, fondly known as Haji Sahab, the food centre is a simple joint for those who want to devour a great mix of flavours. He intends to start a seating on the top floor of the tikka joint to give his customers a better experience. Wishing him luck and thanking him for great food!

Where | 43, Meher Chand Market, Lodhi Colony; Ph: 9818906500, 24625979 and 24654596

Must Try | Roasted Chicken & Malai Tikka

About the Author | Tanushree, a fellow Dilliwaala, is a food enthusiast, and occasionally writes for Little Black Book Delhi.