Witness the true flavours of Amritsar
Although I have lived in Delhi for 10-12 years now and have numerous Punjabi friends who have always recommended me to try one or the other restaurant for their Punjabi food, but never have I ever had that desi pind da swaad in any of them. This was until I went to The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel for their Amritsari food festival.
From the starters to the main course, every dish has its own distinct flavour and when you have Punjabi food around you, lassi is sure to catch up. Topped with some bits of barfi and served in a mitti ka kulhad, the lassi at Dilli 32 is out of this world. But if you wish to have some refreshing summer drinks, then, without going into the details, go for Tar-booze gingerwale (fresh watermelon juice, ginger juice) and Diwan-e-Khas – with an option to add alcohol. These three drinks are undoubtedly the most refreshing, sweet and juiciest of the lot.
Coming to the food, I might not have had the authentic, home-cooked Punjabi food, but after watching movies and listening to my friends, I know one thing, they love to use desi ghee in every dish and Chef Ashwini Kumar knows this too well. He has not missed a single opportunity to use desi ghee or butter in his tadka – from their naan to baingan bharta (chargrilled aubergine tossed with garlic and butter), sarson da saag (mustard leaf tempered with garlic and maize flour), langar di daal fry (mixed lentil tempered with onion, garlic and butter), to rice – almost everything has that mild salty essence which simply tastes delicious.
What really caught my attention was their in-house chicken and mutton curries. Couple them with a kulcha or naan and you can keep on eating them till your stomach hurts. With medium-sized pieces, both the curries were perfectly cooked and had that touch of desi-ness in them. Apart from the curries, Chef Ashwini surprised with his nutri masala taka tin (soya nuggets and spinach with onion gravy) – this particular dish is for those people who would like to taste a non-vegetarian item but can't. In one bite, you just can't figure that it is made out of soya.
The Amritsari journey ended the way it had started – delicious and refreshing. The gur (jaggery) ka halwa and phirni were well-cooked, light and sweet but had nothing extrordinary to offer.