Punjab Grill’s latest offering, the Nani Ke Nuskhe menu, will take you down memory lane as you remember your dadi and nani forcing you to gulp down that kulfa dal or amla. Walk through the culinary journey with us. Text and photographs by Anushka Goel
One sultry afternoon, I visit Punjab Grill, Aerocity with much anticipation. Meeting a staff wearing ‘I’m vaccinated’ badges and seeing ample distance between tables, my mind is somewhat put to rest—while I’m fully vaccinated, one simply can’t take a risk!
Settling into my well-lit table in a cosy corner at the restaurant, I chat with Chef Parul Thapar, who explains how the Nani Ke Nuskhe menu came about. “We were thinking of doing an Ayurvedic food festival, when someone said nani ke nuskhe (grandmother’s home remedies), and that stuck. Every dish on this menu has at least one particular ingredient that has a medicinal value. I believe that Indian spices and ingredients have so many medicinal values and it’s dying day-by-day, and that’s what we want to bring back and highlight the importance of.” The menu, I learn, has been created by Chef Sareen Madhiyan, Executive Chef, Punjab Grill, and I can’t wait to dig in.
I am given wet wipes to disinfect my hands, and then served khatti rabdi, a daliya-based drink, while I wait for the food to come. Chef Thapar explains that the drink comes from Chef Madhiyan’s childhood, where men would take a huge bottle of rabdi to the fields to work. The drink kept them full and cool until lunchtime. Sipping the white liquid from my kulhad (clay cup), I’m reminded of my dadi (paternal grandmother), who used to make the best rabdi I’ve had till date. My mom’s version comes in a close second.
The first dish I try is their Vegan Sheesh Kebab, which is also Chef Thapar’s recommendation. The succulent kebab falls apart with the slightest touch of my fork, and unleashes a gamut of flavours onto my palate. The melt-in-the-mouth bite has a beautiful char and a deep hue, and it’s tough to believe it has no traces of meat or butter in it.
The next dish is the Litti Chokha, which (spoiler alert!) is my favourite dish on the entire menu. The perfectly-cooked litti breaks easily with my spoon, and the sattu filling is perfectly moist. The mustard oil in the chokha packs a powerful punch without being overpowering.
I’m soon presented with the amla ki machchi, a whole Rawas fish cooked with an amla (Indian gooseberry) stuffing, served with a salad with arugula leaves and amla murabba. Chef Thapar tells me the fish is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed whole to maintain its flavours—and I can’t agree more. The fish flakes apart easily, and each bite is packed with the sourness of the amla.
The next item to come my way is the Gongurra chicken biryani. The biryani comes in an iron pot made especially for the dish, and is served with gongurra, mirch salan, onion salad and a gongurra pickle. The sourness of the gongurra is the first thing that hits me, followed by the perfectly-cooked rice and tender chicken. The accompaniments enhance the flavours of the meal without being overpowering.
The Saoji Chicken Curry, which comes next, has a beautiful aroma of the spices, and the flavours have penetrated deep into the juicy meat. The soft, springy naan is a great accompaniment as it soaks up all the flavours perfectly.
By this time I’m full, but as soon as dessert hits the table, there’s room in my stomach again. By Chef Thapar’s admission, Shahi Tukda and mango ice cream is the only dish on the menu that’s there for pure nostalgia (and no health benefits), and with the very first bite, I’m transported to my college freshers’ party where the dessert was – you guessed it – shahi tukda!
I leave the restaurant satiated and full of memories from my childhood—which is what the Nani Ke Nuskhe menu aims to do. The menu is available till September 12, and I make a mental note to come again and relive some more memories with the food Punjab Grill is serving.
When: August 12 – September 12, 2021
Where: Punjab Grill outlets at Khan Market, Janpath, Worldmark – Aerocity, Ambience Mall – Gurugram and Starling Mall – Noida
Timings: 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Cost for two: INR 2,000 (approximately)