Are you a Punjabi by Nature?
A visit to Punjabi by Nature, located near Lamcy plaza , took me back to my trip to Amritsar , with its decor shouting out the classiest of Punjabi phrases that I remember my grandmother utter..
I would'nt miss a chance to visit a Punjabi restaurant since I do so miss the food back home.
Punjabi by Nature , a brain child of a young food entrepreneur, Sharan Kakwani and his wife , to treat us to the flavours of Amritsar to Lahore .
Starter Sharter, (you are a true Punjabi if you have a habit of repeating words, in a rhyme, after another but in a different way)- came the Chatii wali Lassi pede de naal... a sweet yoghurt drink flavoured with saffron and a sweet made of milk and sugar called pedhe.These are sold on roadside stalls in Rishikesh and Haridwar, north Indian cities along the Ganges. It was a delicious , wholesome drink...thankfully the serving was a small one! Other starter drinks on the menu are Ambh ka panna, which is a tangy raw mango drink , Matha or buttermilk (flavoured with cumin, coriander and ginger), thandai(almond flavoured drink) and shikanjvi (traditional punjabi lemonade).I tasted the Shikanjvi too which was very refreshing ..as it should be .
Then came the Seekh Kebab Kandhari , spicy minced meat kebab flavoured with coriander..
very soft and juicy , but spicy ...
Paneer Achari...you have to have a paneer or cottage cheese dish in a Punjabi home...it's what the vegetarians get when they are invited for lunch or dinner ! This was mild and the paneer was very fresh...
Tandoori Chicken ...which is by far the favourite of all Punjabis cannot be left behind. The menu boasts of a Bhatti Da Murgh , the Bhatti masala is a in house special , the chicken taking all the wonderful flavours on being marinated and then roasted in the Tandoor...tastes as good as it looks!
The Fish Amritsari was a bit mild since the fish used was Creme Dory but nevertheless crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
These were just the starters...then I tried the Angrezi Chicken Tikka Masala..(The English way) which is made with onions , ginger and garlic gravy , a different take than the original one.
Nevertheless,this one too was a winner..
The Bhuna Gosht or Lamb Curry is cooked for over 5 hours before serving the succulent pieces...that melt in the mouth..
I love Sarson ka saag, or mustard greens cooked in a verry traditional way , which was served to me ...every household in Punjab has a different way of cooking it ...so I knew I won't get the same taste as my grandmothers...but it was a treat!
It is eaten with jaggery and loads of butter....and makki ki roti which is corn bread...sigh...winter is here and I have to make these at home for sure...
I mentioned to Sharan ,my love for Kadhi . This is a gramflour based curry that is made with yoghurt and spices and is my all time favourite. The Rajasthani version is what I love which is loaded with spice , but the Punjabi version does definitely feature on my list too. I usually make the pakoras, or fritters of gram flour and onion, but here they make spinach flavoured ones that I absolutely loved. This was by far the best Punjabi Kadhi I had tasted in Dubai ...
And lastly , one of my favourites again..which is Phirni..A rice based dessert generally eaten cold When we were small, my grandmother would make these in small earthern pots and keep them in the fridge for us...and it would be finished in no time..
Punjabi by Nature did make me nostalgic about home cooking and all the memories of my Amritsar trip came flooding back. A tip :Do ask them to keep the spice mild when you are placing the order.
With few outlets in Dubai serving authentic Punjabi fare, this sure does stand out . I missed my grandmothers classiest Punjabi phrases she would use ...feed us continuously and always kept our foodie genes alive!....Yes I am truly a Punjabi by Nature:)