Yummilicious
  • Zaika Ambarsar da
  • Date: 2015-09-14

  • Beyond layers of devotion and faith, lush green swaying fields, everlasting warmth inherent in people, a unique and fascinating culture, the city’s picture is definitely incomplete without mentioning its tantalising culinary treasure. The aroma of pure butter and ghee mingled with affection makes one fall in love with delectable and scrumptious Ambarsari Zaika.
    — Text by Neha Mehta

     

    With its name penned in the history as a land of brave hearts, Amritsar is rightly located in the heart of Punjab and it’s the lip smacking and rich cuisine that sets it apart from rest of the Punjab. The delicacies originating from the Mughlai influences of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the ambarsari tadka has now made a mark across the globe as all the tourists who come flocking to this city, always take with them these enticing flavours.

     


    Famous for its Amritsari kulchas, Golgappas, Paranthas, Faluda Kulfi, and varied Lassi flavours, the street food in Amritsar is considered as one of the finest in our country. There is no doubt in it that Amritsar is a heaven for food lovers. One can always whiff tangy aromas hovering in the air as there is something being cooked in every corner of the food streets.

     


    From array of dhabas alongside the highway serving their special masala tea and stuffed paranthas to the divine flavours imbibed in the langar at Harmandir Sahib, also known as golden temple, a hub of small food joints on the way towards this holy destination, the sizzling sound of oil frying in every other shop around here is definitely a luscious welcome to ones’ gastronomic delights.
    The delectable Amritsari Kulcha served with chickpeas in spicy gravy and the exceptional flavours dipped in this kulcha have such an amazing savour that this has been given an exclusive name ‘Amritsari Kulcha’, the speciality of this town. Sarson Da Saag and Makkai Di Roti dipped in pure ghee are the main winter dishes which are a paradise for food lovers.

     


    Dal fry cooked overnight in earthen pots and Palak Paneer at legendary ‘Kesar Da Dhaba’ are a must-try and don’t forget to miss out the lingering sweetness in the variety of mithais from rasmalai to phirnis served here. The alu puris and the chole puri at Kanha Sweets or Munim Di Hatti at Lawrence Road is another hit. The delicious, crispy and spicy kachauris on the way towards Wagah border and 
    the famous Amritsari jalebis at ‘Gurudas Ram Jalebiwala’ are a mouthwatering delight for sure. Keema naan at ‘Pal dhaba’, mutton curry and plain kulchas at ‘Parkash ka Dhaba’, Amritsari fish at ‘Makhan Dhaba’ on Lawrence Road, Beera’s butter chicken are worth trying when it comes to the non vegetarian gourmands. From staunch vegetarians to hard core non vegetarians, Amritsar is definitely a must visit for all the food lovers.


    Sarson da Saag
    Ingredients
    Mustard greens (sarson), fresh, cleaned, roughly chopped    2 cups
    Spinach fresh, cleaned, roughly chopped    3/4 cup
    Garlic cloves, large, finely chopped    4
    Green chillies, medium-sized, finely chopped    2
    Salt    As per taste
    Gram flour    3 tbsp
    Vegetable oil    3 tbsp
    Cumin seeds    2tsp
    Onion, large, finely chopped    1
    Ginger, finely grated    1 ½ tbsp
    Tomatoes, medium-sized, finely chopped    2

     

    Method
    In a heavy saucepan, combine the mustard greens, spinach, garlic, green chillies and salt with 4 cups water and place on high flame.


    Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the flame and simmer till the stems of mustard greens have cooked through. (Add more water, if necessary, and stir occasionally).

     


    Sprinkle the gram flour over the mixture and mix it in using a whisk.
    Cook for 3-4 minutes till the raw fragrance of the gram flour disappears, then remove the mixture from the flame and whisk till the mixture is almost smooth. Keep aside.

     


    Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium flame; add the cumin seeds.
    When the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the onion and ginger, and saute till the onion turns golden.
    Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, till the tomatoes are mashy and mixture darkens very slightly. Add the green paste and mix thoroughly.

     


    Adjust salt, if required, cook for five minutes then remove from flame.
    To serve, spoon 1 tbsp of butter and sprinkle over with some brown sugar (optional).
    Serve hot with Makki di Roti.


    Amritsari Fish
    Ingredients
    Surmai Fillets (cut into fingers)    600 gms
    Gram Flour (Besan)    1 cup
    Red Chilli Powder    1 tbsp
    Carom Seeds (Ajwain)    1 tsp
    Ginger Paste    2 tbsp
    Garlic Paste    2 tbsp
    Lemon Juice    1 tbsp
    Egg        1
    Salt    As per taste
    Chaat Masala    1 tsp
    Lemons (cut into wedges)    2
    Oil to deep fry

     

    Method
    In a bowl, take the fish fingers and add red chilli powder, salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, carom seeds, lemon juice, gram flour.
    Mix all the ingredients well and keep aside
    Break egg into the fish mixture and mix well
    In a wok (kadhai) heat sufficient oil and fry the fish fingers in batches till golden and crisp.
    Drain and put on a paper towel.
    Sprinkle chaat masala and serve hot with lemon wedges.

     


    Amritsari Kulcha
    Ingredients
    For the Kulcha– 
    Maida (white flour)    400 gms/3 cups approx
    Curd    3 tsp
    Baking soda    1/3 tsp
    Baking powder    ½ tsp
    Sugar    1tsp
    Oil        1tbsp
    Salt    As per taste
    Carom seeds or cumin seeds    1 tsp
    For the filling– 
    Boiled potatoes    300 gms
    Salt    As per taste
    Chopped green chilies    1-2
    Grated Ginger    1 inch long
    Amchoor powder    ½ tsp
    Coriander powder    1 tsp
    Red chili powder    1-2 pinch
    Garam masala    1/4 tsp
    Chopped coriander leaves    1 tbsp

     

     

    Method
    Kneading the flour 
    Sieve the maida in a bowl and mix curd, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, oil in it. Mix the ingredients well with hands. Knead the flour with luke warm water to make a smooth dough. Flip and punch the dough for 5 minutes to make it smooth. Apply oil to the dough and keep it in a deep pan. Cover the bowl with clean towel and keep it in a warm place. Within 3-4 hours the dough will rise. Punch the dough once again to fix it. The dough to make kulcha is ready.
    Filling to stuff the Kulcha 
    Peel and mash the boiled potatoes. Put salt, green chilli, ginger, coriander powder, amchoor powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and coriander leaves. Mix all the spices well with the mashed potatoes. The filling to stuff the kulcha is ready.

     


    Preparing Kulcha 
    Make 8-10 round balls of the dough. Make equal amount of small balls of the potato mixture also. Take one ball of the dough and roll it into a flat disc of 3 inch. Put the potato mixture ball on the disc and press it with hands so it settles down on the dough. Fold and close the disc from all the sides to make a kulcha. Dust the kulcha with dry maida and press it with light hands to increase its size upto 3 inch. Now roll the kulcha into a flat disc of 6-7 inch with the roller. Fix some carom seeds or cumin seeds over the kulcha. 
    To make the kulcha in a pan, put it over the stove and grease it with little oil. Put the kulcha in the pan and roast it until it turns brown from the bottom surface. Pour some oil or ghee on the upper surface once the lower surface turns brown. Roast it till both the surface turns brown in colour. Prepare all the kulchas in the same manner. Serve the Potato stuffed kulchas with curd, chutney or chole.

     


    Oven method: To bake the kulcha in an oven grease a tray with oil. Put 2 kulchas in the pan and pre-heat the oven at 300 centigrade. Place the tray in an oven and bake the kulcha for 2 minutes. Flip the side of the kulchas after 2 minutes and bake again till both the surfaces turn brown in colour.

     


    Now take out the tray from the oven and serve the hot baked kulchas with curd, aloo matar, pickle or chole. 


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