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Indulge, The Amritsari way

The holy city of Amritsar is also the land of foodies. A visit to the food capital of Punjab is incomplete if you haven’t savoured the variety of gourmet delights on offer. With a nip in the air already, there is no better time to indulge in the mouthwatering delicacies such as Amritsari (stuffed) kulche-chhole, lassi, fish fry, gur halwa, jalebis and gulab jamuns

chandigarh Updated: Nov 19, 2014 15:08 IST
Tavanpal Singh

The holy city of Amritsar is also the land of foodies. A visit to the food capital of Punjab is incomplete if you haven’t savoured the variety of gourmet delights on offer. With a nip in the air already, there is no better time to indulge in the mouthwatering delicacies such as Amritsari (stuffed) kulche-chhole, lassi, fish fry, gur halwa, jalebis and gulab jamuns.So if you’re ready for a guided tour of the Amritsari dining-out experience, remember to forget your diet plans at home and go with the flow.

Delicious good old fashioned lassi being readied for consumption

1. LASSI: This healthy and refreshing drink made by blending yoghurt with water, salt or sugar, is served at food joints across the town, but we recommend the saffron lassi of The Ahuja Lassi near Hindu College. Gyan Singh’s Punjabi lassi is also a popular choice.

2. AMRITSARI KULCHA: All restaurants offer the Amritsari kulcha but this flat bread made of refined flour, with a stuffing of mashed potato, onions and lots of complimentary spices, should be tried out at Ashok Kulchewala (A-Block, Ranjit Avenue Market) or at Kulwant Kulchewale near Golden Temple.

3. SARSON DA SAAG AUR MAKKI DI ROTI: This is a Punjabi speciality. Sarson da saag is prepared from spinach and mustard greens and makki di roti is prepared from the flour of corn/maize. Though it’s available in all seasons, it tastes best in winter. Combining it with a tall glass of lassi makes it a wholesome meal. Try out this combination at Bhrawan da Dhaba located at Hall Bazaar.

4.GULAB JAMUNS AND SAMOSA:
In the mood for some snacks? Hot gulab jamuns, spicy samosas and kachoris at Sharma Sweets and New
Munim Di Hatti, both on Lawrence Road, are highly recommended.

5. OMELETTE AND TEA:
Yes, a simple breakfast at a roadside stall can also be an unforgettable dining out experience inAmritsar. Don’t leave without savouring the omelette or half-fried egg and tea at Giani tea stall near Bhandari Bridge. Several morning walkers love to indulge in these delicacies over gupshup and exchanging the latest news. No love or calories lost.

6. MAA KI DAAL AND PARANTHA:
If you’re keen on tasting the authentic Punjabi Maa ki daal and parantha, then head for Kesar Ka Dhaba near Loh Garh Gate. Just be ready to ditch the diet plans and indulge in lots and lots of ghee.

7.AMRITSARI FISH:
For fish lovers, we recommend fried fish at Makhan Da Dhaba on Majitha Road and its branch on Lawrence Road. Pehalwaan Fish Shop is also famous for its delectable preparations.

8. PAPAD-WARIAN BAZAAR:
Yes, there’s a whole market dedicated to papads. Tourists love to carry home a slice ofAmritsar for themselves, relatives, friends and even neighbours! Papads and warian are the best option to take along. They spice up meals all through the year. So, stock up on your supplies with a visit to the Papad-Warian Bazaar in town.

9. GURUDAS RAM JALEBIWALA:
A meal is incomplete without a tasty dessert. Jalebis, a crisp golden sweet fried in pure ghee, is an option with a variety to choose from. A shop in the vicinity of the Golden Temple specialises in jalebis of all varieties. Then there are shops offering sumptuous gulab jamuns that just melt in the mouth and are much smaller than the usual treat. Take your pick.

10.POORI-CHANE/GUR KAHALWA: An Amritsari’s Sunday breakfast, or should we say brunch, usually comprises poori-chane and gur ka halwa. Try them at Kanha Sweets on Lawrence Road. These are signature dishes and finding a place to sit is a test of patience every Sunday morning.

11. PHIRNI- A rice pudding which is common in North India and can be served hot or cold. Lots of nuts and raisins are added which make the dish more lip smacking. There are many food joints in Amritsar which are well known for this dish such as Ahuja Milk Bhandaar (Near Hindu College) and Bharawan da Dhaba (Town Hall).

12. BAKERY OPTIONS/INTERNATIONAL CUISINES: Foreign tourists can take heart and so can those who don’t want to gorge on the high-calorie Punjabi cuisine. They have the option of trying out goodies at bakeries such as Bon Gateau (C-Block, Ranjit Avenue), Bansal Bakers on Lawrence Road and Bakewell on Cooper Road.

CHEF SPEAK

Not only residents and tourists, but world-renowned chefs too swear by Amritsar’s delicacies. Chef Kunal Kapoor says, “I like the uniqueness of Amritsari food, for example, how a simple dough is served as a spicy stuffed aloo kulcha and chhole. What I love about Amritsari food is that it does not try a fusion of different flavours and cuisines and maintains its originality. Kanhaiya’s poori-aloo is one of my favourites.

”Chef Vikas Khanna, who originally hails from Amritsar, also swears by the food of the city. “We are the first state which has produced a food trail. Food tourism starts from Amritsar, the food capital of planet earth,” says Khanna.Winner of Masterchef season 3, chef Ripudaman Handa, too gives a thumbs-up to the culinary culture to the city. “I find the langar and karah prashad here the tastiest in the world.

Apart from that, phirni, pakore, chaat, maa ki daal of Kesar ka Dhaba are some dishes on my list when I visit the Holy City and whenever someone visits Amritsar, I recommend the stuffed kulche with chhole, one of Amritsar’s signature dishes.”