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Friday, April 03, 2020

Dal Pakwan on Sunday, Sev Barfi on Monday: A Sindhi food map of Mumbai

From hole-in-the-wall eateries to swish restaurants, here’s a list of the best places serving Sindhi food across the city.

Updated: June 8, 2016 2:57:32 pm

In most Sindhi homes, including mine, Sundays are for kadhi-rice and, of course, twice-deep-fried-and-loaded-with-masala aloo tuks — nothing comes close to the aamchur-and-dhania-topped ones they make at home. You allow yourself some indulgent, greasy goodness on that one day in the week. It’s also the one day in the city when all Sindhi eateries start their day by deep-frying pakwans which are served with ghee-laden chana dal.

You’ll invariably find pot-bellied granddads and dads with their sneakers and polo-necks trickling in after their morning run — to make up for all the burnt calories, of course. This is what keeps these small establishments afloat even as swanky alternatives crop up. Take Tharu Mukhi Bhandar, for instance. They just launched a swish, air-conditioned outlet in Chembur and yet their Khar HQ is stuck in a time warp. Only a few eateries have taken to online deliveries. “Our samosas are priced at Rs 20. We’re already so reasonably priced that we can’t afford to give these (online delivery platforms) any commissions,” says Ashok Lulla, second-generation owner of Sindhu Sweets in Khar.

Sindhi food, Sindhi cuisine, where to eat sindhi food, where to eat sindhi food in Mumbai, sindhi food in Mumbai, sindhi food eateries in Mumbai, Sindhi food restaurants in Mumbai, restaurants offering Sindhi food in Mumbai, Sindhi dishes, FoodI.E Sunday means Dal Pakwan for most Sindhis. (Source: Anurag Banerjee)

There’s habit and then there’s tradition that fuels these outlets. Every April during the festival of Holi, mothers send a batch of praghree (layered, flaky puff made with mawa) and geeyar (a cousin of jalebi made with fermented maida) to their newly-married daughters’ homes. “Winters are when people prefer our moong dal halwa,” says Rakhi Samtani, the 31-year-old third-generation owner of Chandru in Andheri.

I’ll always have a soft spot for Tharu Mukhi Bhandar’s chewy Karachi Halwas — made with arrowroot starch (occasionally corn flour) and pistachios. It was the one thing my mother loved demolishing with child-like glee every Diwali. For other times, there’s always Chembur Camp — a recent walk down this bustling area filled me with nostalgia as I rediscovered some old family-favourites with Wanderingfoodie.in. Here is my list of eateries that offer some excellent Sindhi food — stuff Sundays are made for.

Andheri

Chandru Pure Ghee Sweets: Chandru Samtani and his 31-year-old daughter Rakhi helm this 28-year-old establishment. Today, their dal pakwan and kadhi is a Sunday favourite. Every evening their pani puri — the Sindhi version is made with boondi, not ragda — draws a crowd, too. Oh, and you don’t want to miss their mushy sweet sev barfi and mohanthal (besan barfi).
Address: 6, Shiv Shopping Centre, Opposite Pratap Society, 7 Bungalows, Andheri (West)
Contact: 022 26340278, 022 26343721

Chembur

Gopal's sandwich is actually a cutlet, on a pav topped with a spicy onion gravy and chutney. (Source: Anurag Banerjee) Gopal’s sandwich is actually a cutlet, on a pav topped with a spicy onion gravy and chutney. (Source: Anurag Banerjee)

Gopal’s Mutton And Chicken: This hole-in-the-wall is best known for its take-out options — bheja and kheema pattices and what they call ‘sandwich’, which is actually a cutlet on a pav topped with a spicy onion gravy and chutney.
Address: Dr Chotiram Gidwani Road, Near Sattu Sweets, Chembur Camp, Chembur (East)
Contact: 022 25536668, 022 25535333

Jhama Sweets: Their gulab jamuns will take you to dessert-heaven. But, if you’re looking for authentic Sindhi sweets, ask for their ghee-rich sev barfi (topped with crushed almonds) and atta (wheat flour) laddoos.
Address: Dr Chotiram Gidwani Road, Chembur Camp, Chembur (East)
Contact: 022 33126934

Vig Refreshments: Make a quick stop at this restaurant — which was set up in 1952 — for their chaap (aloo tikki served with fluffy pav and a side of chole). The masala-chana-stuffed cutlet is what sets it apart from ragda-pattice. Even the samosas here come with a side of Sindhi chole, set in onion-garam masala gravy. They also serve hearty dal pakwans every morning. And, for the record, a tall glass of cumin-flavoured chaas at Vig’s eases all kinds of heartburn.
Address: Dr Chotiram Gidwani Road, Chembur Camp, Chembur (East)
Contact: 9820542200, 8286800000
Order online: Zomato

Khar

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Sindhu Sweets: Originally from Shikarpur (Pakistan), the Lulla family has been running this establishment since 1902. In 1972, they set up shop near Khar station. Today, their mirchi pakoras and sanna pakoras with finely cut onions (sanna means thin or finely cut in Sindhi), spinach, garlic and ginger are hot sellers. They’re deep fried, sliced in half and fried again. Their dal pakwan (Sundays only) and chaap attract a loyal clientele, too. Round out your meal with mungan ji mithai (moong dal halwa).
Address: Satguru Shopping Centre, Ram Krishna Nagar, 3rd Road, Khar(West)
Contact: 022 26006664

Tharu Mukhi Bhandar: Not to be confused with Tharu Mukhi Bhandar (P&M) down the road, their Karachi halwa is the right amount of chewy and has generous fistfuls of pistachios. Also, take home their dal pakwan and kadhi on Sundays. Turn to them for Holi favourites — gheeyar and praghree. Their Khar establishment (1968) is nothing to look at, but a new branch in Chembur is as swanky as it gets.
Address: 7-8, Madhuban Bldg, Khar Pali Road, Khar (West)
Contact: 022 26462882, 9920553788
Order online: Tharusweets.com

Fort

Sindhi food, Sindhi cuisine, where to eat sindhi food, where to eat sindhi food in Mumbai, sindhi food in Mumbai, sindhi food eateries in Mumbai, Sindhi food restaurants in Mumbai, restaurants offering Sindhi food in Mumbai, Sindhi dishes, FoodI.E Sindhi chaap and samosa with chole at Punjab Moti Halwai in Fort.

Punjabi Moti Halwai: If you’re looking to pack in a heavy but easy-on-the-pocket breakfast before work, then stuff up on the dal pakwan here. Or, try their Sindhi chaap (pattice) with chole.
Address: 40, Savla Chambers, Cawasji Patel Street, Fort
Contact: 022 22045678

Sion

Guru Kripa: In the daytime it’s overrun by college students binging on chaap, paani puri or dal pakwan. The staff is generally brusque, so you might need to hurry up with your kadhi-chawal lunch. Their sev barfi is a good sugar fix, too.
Address: 40, Guru Kripa Building, Road 24, Near SIES College, Sion
Contact: 022 33716059
Order online: Swiggy

Other places to check out

Sindhi food, Sindhi cuisine, where to eat sindhi food, where to eat sindhi food in Mumbai, sindhi food in Mumbai, sindhi food eateries in Mumbai, Sindhi food restaurants in Mumbai, restaurants offering Sindhi food in Mumbai, Sindhi dishes, FoodI.E A tall glass of cumin-flavoured chaas at Vig’s takes care of any heartburn. (Source: Anurag Banerjee)

Sindh Pani Puri House: Right across Vig, this little joint makes a neat mirchi pakora chaat with curd – salty-sweet, with a hint of spice. Their sanna pakoras, pani puri and dahi wadas are not to be missed.
Address: Dr Chotiram Gidwani Road, near Sattu Sweets, Chembur Camp, Chembur (East)
Contact: 91 8898131313

D Sharma Punjab: It’s one of the few places that serves dal pakwan on Sundays and they usually run out by lunch time.
Address: 8-9, Shiv Shakti building, near Khar station, 4th Road, Khar(West)
Contact: 022 26462727, 022 26052726

Punjabi Chandu Halwai: They have 11 outlets across the city — Sion Circle, Ghatkopar, Zaveri Bazaar, Colaba, Dadar TT, Bandra, Santacruz and, among others, Walkeshwar. Fill up on their dal pakwan(on prior order, minimum five plates). Or, stock up on Sindhi sweets — Karachi halwa, doda barfi (milk and dry fruits fudge) and sev barfi.
Address: 5, Hargun House, 148 A, Annie Basant Road, near Poddar Hospital, Worli
Contact:022 24932796

Mukesh Agarwal Ki Dukaan: If you’re maintaining a checklist of dal pakwan hotspots, tick this small joint off your list too. A little ahead of Moti Mahal restaurant, this dig serves the staple with a side of spicy, pickled chillies.
Address: GTB Nagar Sion-Koliwada

Lakhumal Kundanmal Farsan Mart: Stop here only for their sanna and mirchi pakoras, served with a garlic-key chutney.
Address: Dr Chotiram Gidwani Road, Chembur Camp, Chembur (East)

New Karachi Sweets: Daily fix of dal pakwan? Sorted. Also, sample their chaap, mohanthal and sev barfi.
Address: Shop 6, Ajanta building, near railway station, Khar (West)
Contact: 022 26485974

Jhulelal Hotel: They have a limited menu, but dal pakwan’s right there.
Address: Main Bazaar, Jhulelal Marg, Mulund Colony, Mulund (West)

Kailash Parbat: It’s every Sindhi food enthusiast’s entry point. They go beyond dal pakwan and offer koki (roti with onion, coriander and cumin), sai bhaji (spinach and potato vegetable), bhughal bhee aloo (lotus stem and aloo) and aloo phool patasha (lotus seed and potato).
Address: New Link Road, Andheri (west)
Contact: 022 22812112