Dhabas between covers
IF YOU stumble upon the word richness in a culinary dictionary, it is implicit you have opened the Punjabi section of food and the city is Amritsar. Known for its dhabas, the city presents such delights that can outshine many a multiple star hotels of the metros.
Now such dhabas are present between covers courtesy Yashbir Sharma, a journalist who made a hobby into profession with "The Dhabas of Amritsar" published by S.Chand. "In 1988 I went to Amritsar on a business trip and became besotted with the food there." Sharma claims after that every trip to the city was a gastronomic nirvana for him
The book has about 50 recipes but Sharma specifically roots for dal makhani. "If you cook it the way I have presented it in the book, rest assured there would be an explosion in your neighbourhood," he laughs.
Sharma holds climate, water and soil as responsible for the delectability of food in the state. "The food is so rich but still you can easily digest it. Imagine digesting khoya lassi in any other state. I think the fact that they cook in desi ghee is also a key factor behind the good taste. That is why the populace of the state has such radiant faces."
Though he maintains that the best way is to cook the recipes the way he has suggested in the book but still if people find it heavy they can change it according to their convenience. "Before `60s people were living on desi ghee diet only. It is only now that we have become accustomed to these vegetable oils. Cost wise also, it doesn't make much of a difference." The good thing is recipes are easy to prepare and most of the ingredients required are easily available in a normal kitchen.
From a simple gobi aloo to specialities like methi ckicken, makhan wali fish and kalezi matar, the book offers to bring dhabas to your kitchen, Amritsari style.
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