I was walking down a busy street in Koramangala, Bangalore when I spotted “Fat Sindhi” in the first floor of a building. It was lunch time and I was craving for something quick, light and tasty. Unlike Mumbai, a dedicated Sindhi eatery is non existent in Bangalore; and sudden spotting of Fat Sindhi was like an oasis. I almost turned away seeing the crowd inside the modest outlet but they quickly showed me the way upstairs which had a nice checkered view of the busy street through the blinds. The tables and benches made from a combination of pine and rubber wood have a distinct DIY touch.
The owner Kailash came around to take the order and I opted for the Mutton Meal which is basically the veg meal and keema. He very kindly agreed to my request to include Dal instead of the Veg Curry. Actually, I switched to dal since the curry did not include the Sindhi special lotus stem- bhee. If you closely observe the Sindh region which is now wholly in Pakistan; it was nurtured by the river Indus which flows through Sindh into the Arabian sea. Owing to its origin in a river side fertile region, Sindhi cuisine is largely vegetables, lotus stems from the various ponds, fresh water fish from the rivers, different kinds of dal and parathas. Inclusion of meat and poultry in the cuisine is an aftermath of muslim invasions. Pakwaan the deep fried puri and Koki the thin dried paratha are some of the authentic items from Sindhi cuisine. The stuffed parathas are clearly influence from Punjab as Sindh opened up to Sikhism.
Keema Matar was surprisingly non oily, soft, moderately spicy and had the distinct smell of fresh garam masala- perfect taste from home kitchen. I had it with paratha and the rice and secretly wished that I had switched the paratha for pav. The Choley was well cooked and tasty as well but I was completely bowled over by the Keema to give it much attention. The chana dal was cooked to perfection topped with that signature Sindhi coriander chutney. The tangy taste was perhaps from some dried mango powder (aam choor).
I was instantly reminded of the Bengali Cholar Daal which is cooked in a similar manner sans the onion with a bit of sweet. The affimity of Bengal rather Eastern India cuisine with Sindhi cuisine does not end with the Chana Dal alone, it runs deeper with the much loved fish Ilish known as delicious Pallo Machli in Sindh region.
I also ordered for a glass of Chandan Sharbat out of curiosity since I had never had it before. I found it too sweet but gulped it down nevertheless hoping to cool down my body on a hot summer afternoon. It is apparently a mix of a wee bit sandalwood boiled in sugar and then a dash of orange colour to get that hue.
While I relished my food, the owner Kailash came to check on me more than once stopping by to enquire about the taste. En erstwile techie who dabbled with the world of IOS in Apple until one day he took the plunge to follow his passion. From assisting his mother who runs a catering business and collecting authentic recipes from aunts, he honed his cooking skills so much so that he personally prepares some items. I wish to see an expanding menu sometime in the future including some Seyun Patata, Chaap Chola, Kadhi, Bhee curries and of course a signature preparation of Pallo Machli. Till then, just walk in if you are in the area and be assured everything they serve is Dado Sutho (very tasty) and pocket friendly.
For a sneak peek into Sindhi cuisine, order a mutton meal, switch one of the curries to dal, switch the paratha to pav and order pakwaan on the side. Additionally order a Chandan or Khus Sharbat all for Rs 220/- In essence, you get to have Dal Pakwaan, Keema Pav and some rice with curry !!
I may never get to visit Sindh since it is the only region which finds mention in our national anthem though it belongs to the neighbour. After partition in 1947, the Punjabis from the West found a home in Punjab in India; the Bengalis from the east found a home in West Bengal but the immigrated Sindhis much smaller in number did not find a home close to their name and language; they mostly settled in Mumbai, Gujarat and parts of South India. Their cuisine is a remembrance of the land from where they came and Sindh in the national anthem is an ode to the people, their culture and food.
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