Summary of Sindhi Cuisine
Sindhi Cuisine , apart from having unique flavors of its own, have the unmistakable mark of other dynasties like Mughals, Arabs, Turkhans, Soomras etc that influenced Sindhi cuisine while they ruled the Province. The mighty Koftas, the scrumptious Biryanis, amazing Gosht (meat) Curries, got infused in Sindhi cuisine during that era. As various other cuisines of India, Sindhi cuisine is also a vibrant one , sizzling and dazzling with lots of flavors, a wonderful amalgamation of Delish sweets, perfectly tangy curries, mildly flavored gravies, rich and wholesome biryanis, wide array of seasonal vegetables, awesome variety of Flatbreads, and not to forget the world famous Sindhi Papad and Sindhi Pickles.
To begin with, a royal breakfast preferred by Sindhis, is ought to be The Dal Pakwan, the crisp fried Maida flatbreads, served with simple Chanadal, garnished with chutney and chopped onion. Apart from this,Bori (Kutti or crushed koki tempered with hot oil, and sweetened with sugar), Sindhi Koki, a wholewheat flour flatbread, kneaded with onion, chillies, dried pomegranate seeds, cumin and a generous amount of oil, double cooked on griddle ,or Lolo (sweet flatbread) Dodo (Flatbread with millet flour, jowar, bajra etc), stuffed parathas with Curd are most popular.Juar (jowar) or Bhaat (crackedr wheat) porridge, are favorites of elders of the family. And bread dunked in chickpea curry called Chola dhabhala or the two lentils cooked together called Dal moong are still the most sought after breakfasts in many Sindhi families.
Sindhis love simple Dal chaawal- subzi -roti combo.They have some popular style of cooking like Daagh (curry with browned onions), Seyal (cooking food with onions or ginger garlic as base, with little or no water), Tamatey mein (In tomato gravy), saye masaley mein(with Green base, that of coriander leaves and fresh garlic) and Dhaas vegetables (Stuffed vegetables like Okra, Apple gourds, Capsicum etc).Though seasonal vegetables, and plenty of lentils /pulses, are included in daily cooking, but when fresh vegetables are unavailable, Sindhis tend to make use of Besan, and hence Chilra (Gramflour savory pancakes), Chilra kadhi, Aani ji bhaji (Besan dumplings in Onion tomato base) are immensely popular. And not to forget a Sindhi specialty called Sindhi Kadhi , which is a tangy tamarind and gram flour based curry, flavored with some spices and Vaghar like cluster beans, okra, drumsticks etc.This is again generally made for guests and is served with hot plain boiled white rice and sweet boondi. Amritsari wadis cooked along with potatoes, is one spicy curry you cannot afford to miss, and so is Sindhi Saibahji, the yummiest concoction of spinach with fenugreek leaves, sorrel leaves, beans, potatoes,carrot,eggplant,okra, chana dal etc.
Though now paneer rules menu of marriage buffets and festival food, there was a time when Bhee(Bhein) i.e Lotus stem hold the Numero Uno position.During marriage ceremonies decades back, relatives and neighbors were offered the Bheepatata and Degh Waara chaanwara. Huge Iron or aluminum pots or containers were kept in open spaces, on logs of wood, or coal (sighri) or stove,and a generous quantity of rice and curry was cooked on it. It was called Degh. A spicy curry of lotus stem, potato, peas, cooked in the base of onions, tomatoes and eggplants, when served with Simple pulav,will make you slave of Sindhi degh . Even today this curry is cooked and distributed at Langars in various temples ,on religious occasions.
Sindhi Sanna Pakoda (Double fried Gram flour fritters) are famous as most crispy snacks, while Alu tikki, Batan papdi(A Sindhi Chaat), Mirchi Pakora, Bhein Tikki, Spinach Pakoda , are other guilty pleasures. Sindhi Papad has a unique taste, not too spicy nor bland...just perfect. And so are the pickles...the regular oil based as well as Mustard seeds and water based pickles called as Paarianh waari Khatairn have many loyal followers. Yet another typical Sindhi style pickle is Kadhookas (grated ), pickle made from raw shredded mangoes, seasoned with,salt, turmeric, red chillies, nigella seeds,cloves of garlic, mixed and lumps of these mixture are tied in small white muslin cloth gathadis (like dumplings), pickled and enjoyed later. It’s called Gathadi aka Bheendi.
Summers are spend pickling, Turnips, onions, carrots,chillies, lemons , raw mangoes etc. While Sweet pickles like Raw mango Muraba, Awran jo Murbo (Awla ) and grated mango pickles are the hot favorites amongst Sindhis.
Festivals like Chetichand, Diwali, Holi, Akhand Teej ,Thadree,etc are celebrated with typical Sindhi Sweets like, Tosha, Praghuree, Geear, Khuskhus Halwa , chabhu Halwo,etc. while Sherbet and Thaadal (Thandai) are most popular beverages.
And to wind up, Sindhis satisfy their "Sweet cravings" with Gaajar ka halwa, Mazoon, Mohanthal,Gulabjamun,Rabri ,Dried grated coconut mithai(Narel ji mithai), Singhar (Sev) Mithai, Falooda icecream etc.
The probably only places that you could still enjoy Sindhi food are few eateries like Kailash parbat and Bhagat Tarachand , or else on the streets of Sindhi dominated areas, like Ulhasnagar, Chembur, ,Bhopal etc.The vendors selling dal pakwan, Sindhi Patties with chola and Dal moong are common sights at such places during early mornings.
Sadly the trend of fast food and exposure to national and international cuisine is drifting many youngsters away from the lovely Sindhi cuisine.The 'Chips' and ' french fries' generation hardly cares for Sindhi Kheecha, papad. The biscuits and cookies overshadowed the humble Dal Nakul, that was initially offered to the guests.Mocktails and canned juices pushed into the corner, the home made Rose sherbet, chandan (sandalwood) sherbet .The artificially coloured, branded Mithai, killed the trend of sharing Mazoon, Khus khus jo seero, ladoo etc with near and dear ones. Packaged junk snacks diverted kids from the good old, pabhoree ( fresh lotus seeds), Jamun (berries) , saawa phota (fresh green peas), Dhadhri (tiny fresh green pods ) which used to be the' after school time snacks' for the kids ,eons ago.
List of Sindhi Recipes
- Daal Pakwan
- Besni Bhaji
- Bhia Patata
- Bhuga Chanvar
- Gol Gappa (Pani Puri)
- Kadi Chanvar
- Kuti (Churi)
- Sai Bhaji
- Sayoon Patata
- Siyal Phulka
- Took Patata
Places to enjoy Sindhi Food
- Bhagat Tarachand
- Kailash Parbat
- Elco Panipuri
- Jhama Sweets, Chembur
- Mukhi Bhandar (Grandsons of Tharu), 7,8, Madhuban, Opp Canara Bank, P.D. Hinduja Marg, Khar(W), Mumbai-52. Phone: (022) 26462882. Google Map
- Chandru's Pure Ghee Sweets, 6, Shiv Shopping Center, Opp. Pratap Society, 4 Bunglows, Versov, J.P. Road, Andheri (West) Mumbai-400 058. Tel: 2634 0278, 2634 3721
- Tharu Sweets