I’m not kidding. I think I’ve fallen in love.

My lady, my goddess, my love

My lady, my goddess, my love

I’m not gonna lie. I have a problem. Call it an addiction. Or better yet, an obsession.

Since moving to Delhi, I have fallen, and fallen hard, for the chicken tikka roll.

Grilled skewers of marinated chicken with sliced red onions and masala wrapped in romali roti. It practically haunts my dreams.

And my dealer, the man who provides my fix, the purveyor of this culinary delight: Mohammed Azam and his kebab-wallahs at Aap Ki Khatir in Khan Market.

Now this isn’t a case of laziness, of me finding one dish I like at one restaurant I like and ordering it again and again. I’ve experimented, checked around, played the chicken tikka field, believe me.

I’ve visited all the kebab joints in Khan Market (there’s a bit of a turf war going on); I’ve ventured to Nizamuddin, Lajpat Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Connaught Place and Pahar Ganj. I’ve gone upscale and street style. And prior to Delhi, I’ve had it in Mumbai, Pune, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Thane, Jaipur, Palolem, Chicago and London.

I’ve tried kebab, kabab, kabob and kebap. I’ve had kakori and seekh, mutton and fish and paneer

And yet any time I go someplace else, it’s like I’m cheating on Azam and his 70 rupees of heaven. It’s so good, that last week in a ravenous fog of chicken tikka, I ate some of the foil wrapper. (Click on the photo above for a higher-resolution image you can drool over.)

And now, I’ve gone back to Aap Ki Khatir — which loosely means “For Your Sake” — so much that the guy at the front counter remembers me.

Money in hand, I walked up today, he took one look, smiled and hollered “Ek (one) chicken tikka roll” back to the kitchen.

Now I say kitchen, but this is really a hole in the wall. An expensive hole, if you believe a survey from two years ago that listed Khan Market among the most costly strips of retail real estate in the world.

But in this hole, magic is performed. One guy fans the charcoal grill and turns the skewers, a guy in the back alternates between prepping and packaging, another guy runs orders out to the lane where people huddle around devouring the goodness. And of course there’s the front man, whose name I can’t remember even though he remembers me.

It’s a hangout for college kids, middle-class Indians getting takeout and expats in the know. And it’s all of maybe 100 square feet.

That’s my Aap Ki Khatir.

Mr. Azam, if you ever read this, please know that despite my opposition to the concept, I’d consider an arranged marriage if you have an intelligent daughter to spare. She doesn’t even have to like Halloween.

I’d do this because I firmly believe that man can indeed live by chicken tike roll alone.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to “I’m not kidding. I think I’ve fallen in love.”

  1. Matt Stensland Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    You are a sick man. That looks delicious.

  2. Royal Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    That tikka roll looks absolutely amazing. Can’t wait.

  3. Adam Jadhav Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Natural light, by the way.

  4. Katie Curnutte Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Oh, Adam. I’d give my right eye for one of those. I just ate breakfast, but looking at that pic is making my stomach growl.

  5. Adam Jadhav Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Ya know, it’s kind of like a burrito, if one can imagine the most awesome burrito ever, except Indian.

    It’s after midnight here, and yet I’d murder for another one myself.

  6. Anna Says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    If I could phonetically approximate Homer’s drool-y expressions of gustatory ecstasy, I would. Since I can’t, I’ll settle for telling you yet again that I’m insanely jealous and also trying to think of how I could make something similar at home without filling the kitchen with black smoke.

  7. Kali Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Oh my god…this makes me want to haunt Kati Roll in NYC day and night…

  8. Adam Jadhav Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Yeah, but this is better.

  9. Royal Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Your tikka roll post is so far the most commented on. Perhaps you should stop tackling such big issues and just focus on food. Everybody eats it.

  10. Babu Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    kati rol!! yummmmm!!! Need alternate desi food fix NOW! the wait to arrive in Delhi and have those tasty rolls is too much to handle! Make a list of authentic eats…don’t just stop with Kati rolls. May I suggest you to create another blog for all your food related stuff? and you can post videos with wise comments like Tony Bourdain :)

  11. Jo Mannies Says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    AWESOME food pic, Adam! And I’m not even a fan of Indian cuisine. Too spicy for my bland Midwestern palate and stomach.

    Looks like you are having a great time. Hope the journey continues

  12. ADAM JADHAV » Blog Archive » Today, I am thankful… to be uninsured in a country where health care isn’t a cluster Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    [...] only downside: Dr. Gita wants me to have nothing to do with chicken tikka rolls for a week. Baby, we’re on a [...]

  13. Elie Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I’m drooling. And I actually have roti in my fridge. Hmm….perhaps it’s time to experiment!

  14. ADAM JADHAV » Blog Archive » A year-in-review Says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    [...] down with the desi folk on Halloween, had work published from Kenya and India, fell in love with a girl named Chicken Tikka Roll, learned the evils of JPMorgan Chase Bank, stared at fireworks, celebrated Christmas in my own way, [...]

  15. ADAM JADHAV » Blog Archive » Saturday night kebab lights Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    [...] continued my quest for the best chicken tikka roll in India this Saturday night with a new friend. She led me to Arabian Delights in Defence Colony [...]

  16. ADAM JADHAV » Blog Archive » Kebab week, Vol. 1 Says:
    April 18th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    [...] in reason, police shut down a number of market stalls including a tiny branch of Aap ki Khatir, the hawker of heaven, the best kebabwallah on the [...]

Leave a Reply