There was a seminal moment on my recent girl’s weekend to Amritsar, India. When, at a famous local restaurant, the Brothers Dhaba, we ordered two more parathas. This is a flaky Indian flatbread, buttery and oily in that perfect way, served hot from the oven and irresistible.
The waiter, stared at the already heaving table before our party of four, and said “but you heave two more dishes coming”.
Shoveling food into our mouths, we barely breathed, in unison we said “We don’t care!”. He backed away from the table like a man who had seen something very, very alarming.
There is something about India. I do love visiting – the sites, sounds and smells. But my main problem is that I can’t stop eating there. Literally I am hungry. All. The. Time. My friends experienced this phenomenon as well.
The only explanation is the smells – spices – they excite and delight the senses. And the food, is just so damn delicious.
Amritsar is an unlikely destination for four women for a weekend, but it was the perfect antidote to our daily grind. Close (three hours on Qatar Airways, manageable and filled with significance.
And then…there is the food.
We arrived on the day the Indian Election results were announced, to find the city a little on edge. So we opted to dine in on the first night, and the Hyatt Amritsar didn’t disappoint. The entire weekend was a parade of local and Indian specialties.
No food request was too difficult and we were happy for the delicious attention.
Our adventures took us far and wide across the city but like many locals and visitors, we were drawn to the Brothers Dhaba – one of the city’s most famous restaurants.
Punjabi cuisine is a world unto itself and Amritsar is considered one of the best places to try it. Their cooking is done with garam masala, green and black cardamom, bay leaf, black peppercorns, cinnamon, curry leaves, cloves, nutmeg. They use plenty of green and red chilli, in raw form, powder and paste, to bring a bite to their food. And they are fond of ginger and garlic as well.
Amritsari food uses mutton, chicken and healthy quantities of paneer. Mentioned in the Vedas, dating as far back as 6000 BC of India Subcontinent, Paneer is a fresh cheese frequently used in South Asian Cuisine similar to queso blanco. We tried it in many forms – fried, stuffed in bread, in a masala curry.
There is a post in process about the sights and sounds of Amritsar and it’s surrounds. But I wanted to pay my own homage to the food of this remarkable city. Now bring me those parathas before things get nasty.
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Rachel Ann Morris
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