Dal Tadka To Soya Chaap Curry: 7 Punjabi Dhaba Dishes We Love

One of the things I look forward to the most on a road trip is a stopover at roadside dhaba. The highways nowadays are lined with a variety of fine-dine options, but we consciously choose to go to these dingy dhabas with worn-out benches and tables. These Dhabas know their USP is not their décor, so they don’t even care for an upgrade. The magic lies in their parathas glistening with butter, their palak paneer with ghee swimming on top, their spicy tandoori chicken and so much more.  

In the beginning of the twentieth century when the British were trying to link cities by building roads and highways, many dhabas sprouted on either side to feed the travelers. In Delhi, dhabas also served scores of refugees who came from west Pakistan with no money. Many of these refugees also went on to set up their own dhabas. Now, the Dhabas in and around Delhi are dominated by Punjabi and Mughlai fare. Here are a few timeless classics you can try recreating at home.  

1. Dhaba-Style Dal Fry

 A smoked preparation of red and yellow lentils tempered with aromatic spices, tomatoes, onions and garlic, finished off with oodles of ghee. Droolworthy much?  

2. Dhaba Chicken

Marinated chicken cooked in rustic spices and mustard oil. Hot, spicy and brimming with flavours, you don’t want to miss out on this one.  

3. Punjabi Dhaba Style Egg Curry

Anda curry but with Dhaba-style magic. What really makes the dish so special is the thick and robust masala made with ginger, tomatoes, Kashmiri red chilli powder and coriander. It is fried for a longer time so that it mixes well and become thick and paste-like.  

4. Dhaba Style Aloo Gobhi

Sharply cut potatoes and cauliflower cooked in bulk of hot and aromatic masalas. Butter adds a much-needed greasy edge to the otherwise spicy dish and the fresh coriander garnish elevates the overall flavour of the dish.  

5. Dhaba Style Aloo Paratha

There is something about the parathas at dhabas that can unleash the glutton in you within minutes. This breakfast favourite dons an even indulgent avatar when in Dhabas. Whether is it the generously hot potato stuffing or the giant blob of butter sitting pretty on the crispy surface, this flatbread is worth all the hype and more.  

6. Punjabi Chaap With Gravy

No meat, no problem. Make this thick and luscious gravy with soya chunks and relish the hot, creamy and tangy flavours of this Punjabi delicacy with any bread of your choice. You can pair it with any bread of your choice or rice.

7. Punjabi Chole Masala

This deep-brown coloured chickpea-curry is a Punjabi specialty that has found fans across the country. It is cooked with heaps of garam masala, whole spices and chillies. This blockbuster dish is one part of the iconic ‘chole bhature’. You can go ahead and pair it with chole, other than that, they also make a nice pair with kulchas, puri and rice.