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Talking turkey | Punjabi tadka

Nazare Pind De in an obscure market in Gurgaon, is a slightly unusual assortment of elements that you usually do not find together in one place. Marryam H Reshii explores...

india Updated: Mar 27, 2009 20:43 IST

Nazare Pind De is a slightly unusual assortment of elements that you usually do not find together in one place. For one, although it serves Punjabi food, it’s in an ambience that you would associate with a club, especially its basement. The restaurant is in an obscure market in Gurgaon. Plus, this is no ordinary Punjabi food that you could get in dozens of North Indian restaurants across the NCR, but food hand-picked by the family that owns it.

The upshot of all this is that you won’t get the standard dishes with loads of oil and much higher spice levels than required. What you can expect is a hatke menu minus the three-gravy trick so beloved of restaurateurs specialising in Indian food. The dal makhni (Rs 99) is not to be missed on any account. It is the closest you are likely to get to the dal of yore, which was made throughout Delhi in the 1960s, slowly cooking on barely glowing coals through the night. Even the tomato component has been sensibly kept low.

To begin at the beginning, the starters include murgh tikka (Rs 180) with a lip-smacking taste of sour dahi and a fraction of the spices that other restaurants use. This means that you can actually taste the chicken, but if you are a masala junkie, this one is not for you. The buttered mutton kebab (Rs 160 for 4 pieces) is similar in concept — nothing comes between

you and your lamb tikkas, which are not, however, put in the tandoor but are pan-fried in real butter and not many spices.

The problem I have with this dish on both times I’ve ordered it is that the cuts of meat include more bone and less meat. On the plus side, it is rather like eating in the home of your favourite uncle more than in a restaurant.

The other novelty on the menu is ande ka josh (Rs 75). It is eggs scrambled in a tasty onion spice, but so well that the eggs just barely set. Saag meat (Rs 180) contains a flavourful base of spinach that has obviously been cooked in lamb stock. Four generous chops make this rather good value for money.

There’s an interesting section with fusion food that I mean to try on my next visit.