This is why we are gonna get married to Punjabis and be happy fat people!
I love Punjabis,their culture,their customs, their Bhangra, [their wholeheartedness] and most importantly, their FOOOOOD!! The word ‘diet’ is quite non-existent in their lives, it’s the land where it’s a sin to serve parathas without rich wholesome butter dripping off the sides, where Lassi (buttermilk) flows in abundance, where ‘B’ stands for Butter Chicken [What’s not to love?]. Now imagine being married to one! It’d mean flavoursome food, every day…
Waking up to Aloo Paratha and pickle and Masala Chai, steaming Chicken Tikka Biriyani for lunch [and a dinner fit for kings with cold lassi with dollops of malai and naan with creamy Butter Chicken]…mmm… my married life would equate to gastronomic heaven and I’d have to switch over to stretchy pants and loose shirts… Now since all of that seems an unlikely possibility, [*sigh*] the only other alternative to satiate our tummy yearnings and the fact that we can’t afford gourmet North Indian food is to frequent Dhabas.
So, today we present to you Ladies, Gentlemen [and everyone in between], the ACTUAL FACTUAL most “authentic” North Indian Dhaba of the city of Kochi, [or atleast to the poor folks here at the Infopark] “Harsh Dhaba”. It’s what the genie gave to Northies stuck in Kerala who yearn for some “dharthi ke andar se aane waala” roti [yea what she said] (I was just quoting from their menu :P) and ladles of buttery paneer! It’s a haven for people like us who love the spice and flavour , quite different from the daily dose of mom’s idlis and upmaas… It’s a ‘khushi bhara’ place for your pocket [Thank the Gods!] as well as your Chicken Tikka cravings.
The very best of what Harsh Dhaba has to offer to the Gastro Gods are:
1. Chicken Tikka Biriyani
Aaaaah… Mmmmm… the salivating has been kickstarted automatically even as I sit here after having a really HEAVY onam sadya! THAT is just how good it is! Plentiful amounts of it piled into a bowl,steaming hot, flavoursome with the right amount of spice, laden with succulent pieces of chicken. It’s one of the best biriyanis the city has to offer.
2. Butter Naan
My personal fav in the roti department, something about its earthy taste, being not too light like the Average Joe chapatti and not too heavy like the Kerala porotta, made all the more better with the generous amount of butter slathered on, served fresh off the tawa in little rolls with an accompaniment of onions and aam ka achaar [a northie trademark]. We somehow always order it in amounts larger than we can eat [Yes! As surprising as that sounds, we do have limits :P]
3. Paneer Butter Masala
We do eat sabji [sometimes], we are a great friend of veggie dishes too, chicken isn’t all that important…I’m kidding of course,we just tried this one out because we have some vegan friends [who are now semi vegan,thanks to us! \m/]. Yea, we grumbled over the money being wasted, [when chicken tikka masala could’ve been procured instead], we made faces but for his sake we finally agreed. BUT as it turned out, it was totally worth it. Huge chunks of super soft paneer floating in rich creamy gravy with a certainly-bad-for-your-cholesterol spoon of Malai on the top. It was YUM YUM YUM! A definite order the next time you pig out with or without a vegan friend.
4. Golden Sunshine Yellow Jalebis
After a more than filling lunch at the Dhaba, we often return shamelessly, to gorge on the hot crispy jalebi’s which bhaiyya makes at around five-ish. Priced at just ten bucks apiece, we tend to keep eating them till we get a sugar rush [or they run out of jalebis]. The sweet, tangy, crispy jalebis are too addictive. Most of their sweets are really good, especially the gulab jamuns and motichoor ke ladoo.
The bestest drink in the entire worldddd? Coke? Pepsi? Au naturalé juice? Slushy? Well yea, its slushies, BUTTT lassi comes right after that [NO… its coke!! Imagine coke slushies! :O] and I haven’t tasted a decent one anywhere after I came down to the south. It’s always either too salty or too tangy or too creamy or not creamy enough. But Harsh Dhaba has what you are looking for on a hot sunny afternoon, cold, thick, frothy, with the right amounts of all the heavenly flavours, served in tall glasses… I’m going to go get myself one right this instant!
My all-time favs will never change of course but I do indulge in all sorts of curries which go cluckety cluck, and their thick Aloo Parathas and Kulchas. We usually end up at the Dhaba for lunch and spend a lot of time foodgasming, licking curry off of our fingers, gobbling up Jalebis as a pre meal treat, [while waiting on the waiters to take our order] and finishing it off with a fat gulab jamun, all the while sipping on cold glasses of Lassi. The place is a tad bit dirty but since I’m a huge street food fan, I tend to not mind as much as the guy next door, also, service kinda sucks sometimes, what with them ignoring you and all BUT the whole visit has become sort of a ritual, come to think of it, all the calories are worth it coz it’s so sinfully good.Why in the world is Punjabi food not a separate cuisine?Will I ever find that perfect Punjabi hunk who is also a sous chef? [What will happen in the next season of GoT?]
For those of you who are active members of the I-get-lost-even-after-having-a-map-in-my-hand club, Harsh Dhaba is on the Infopark road near Edachira. Go sample actual North Indian dishes, plenty of choices for veggies and non, for those with a sweet tooth and limited pocket money. Watch out for some pesky weight gain though. 😀