With its terrific blend of spices and the unique ways of cooking, the rich and fragrant dishes of Punjab has played a significant role in making Indian cuisine popular all over the world. Known for its delicious tandoor dishes, the Punjabi dhabas have been world famous. The foodies in Kochi love to visit 'Sethi da Dhaba' at Jawaharnagar, Kadavathra, to enjoy some mouthwatering Punjabi delicacies. The mutton burra and the Patiala chicken, both cooked to perfection in the tandoor oven are the specialities here. The interiors of the eatery, designed in the style of a vintage Punjabi dhaba, enhance the charm of this unique culinary experience.
The mutton burra is usually eaten as a starter while the Patiala chicken, drenched in tasty and spicy gravy are a filling main course. A glass of buttermilk, spiced with cumin, or rich, creamy and sweet lassi would make the perfect accompaniments to these delicious dishes.
Mutton is usually not cooked in a tandoor oven as the meat won't be evenly cooked. However, mutton burra is an extremely popular dish in Punjab. Mohinder Singh, owner of the Sethi da Dhaba decided to try out this dish at his eatery, as he wanted the people of Kochi to enjoy the authentic Punjabi flavours. "Goat which weighs less than six kilos is slaughtered for this dish. If the meat is not extremely tender, it cannot be cooked in a tandoor oven," says Singh.
The marinade made with yogurt, garam masala, Kashmiri chilli and kasuri methi is a flavour bomb. The tender mutton is marinated in this special marinade for a whole day before cooking it to perfection in a traditional tandoor oven. After cooking it for 15 minutes, the meat would be taken out and allowed to rest. The resting juices would be discarded and the meat is again cooked for another 20 more minutes. The mutton, drained off its resting juices and extra fat, becomes a healthy starter and the char over the meat adds to the flavour of the dish.
Patiala chicken is prepared with keema (mince) of boneless chicken cooked in a tandoor oven. The minced chicken is stuffed inside a fluffy omelet and rounded off with special gravy made with roasted and ground tomatoes, cinnamon, and onions. The flavour of the char from the chicken perfectly cuts through the spicy gravy, and the fluffy omelet adds to the texture of the dish. Rotis, smeared with generous dollops of butter, completes the elaborate Punjabi platter.