Food Review: Sindhful
Sindhi food is sorely underrepresented in Mumbai’s restaurants, despite the community’s large presence in the city. Folks with a penchant for this cuisine have to trek to Sindhi Camp in Chembur East, which is populated with street stalls or to a branch of the Kailash Parbat chain that serves a smattering of Sindhi delicacies. Since May however prospects have improved for fans of the food thanks to Sindhful, a home-run delivery service. With Sindhful, Khar residents Kanchan and Sannat Ahuja have progressed from being caterers listed on the home food delivery app Hola Chef to running the business independently. The mother and son have unlisted themselves from Hola Chef and have enlisted Zomato and Scootsy to deliver food between Santa Cruz and Mahim.
About a dozen Sindhi specials take up a page of their online menu that also lists Punjabi and Chinese dishes. Standards such as dal pakwan, koki, Sindhi curry and sai bhaji are part of the selection along with non-vegetarian preparations including mutton curry, kheema pattice and kheema pao. Apron-wielding Kanchan Ahuja uses minimal oil and spices in her cooking. Her food is delicious despite this careful calibration.
Begin the day with either the dal pakwan (Rs160) or the koki with boondi raita, chole and papad (Rs150). Ahuja’s flaking jeera-flecked pakwans and chana dal, which come accompanied with a sweet and tart imli chutney, fooled us into thinking that Tuesday night was Sunday morning, which is when the dish is typically eaten. Hers is a lighter version of the indulgent breakfast that’s usually lavished with ghee. Sindhful packs a generous bowl of chilled boondi raita tempered with spices and a portion of moderately spiced chole with the cumin, onion and chilli-speckled koki (a Sindhi thepla of sorts). At a meagre Rs150 for these items including a papad, it could lead a list of Mumbai’s most value-for-money meals.
Every Sindhi home has a take on sai bhaji (Rs220), a pressure-cooked preparation of dal and vegetables such as spinach, green sorrel, dill, aubergine and tomatoes. The Sindhful version had chana dal, spinach and potatoes and was the right amount of sour owing presumably to tomatoes. As in most Sindhi homes, they paired the healthful dish with aromatic bhuga chawal or spiced rice flavoured with slow-cooked onions. Their kheema pattice served with pao and chutney (Rs290) had a pillowy potato shell concealing flavourful chicken kheema. The pao is a distraction; skip it and savour the two meat-filled cutlets with the pungent coriander chutney instead. We accidentally received (and laid waste to) a portion of remarkable chicken kheema (Rs300), which had just as much gravy as mince, without being too watery. The buttered paos served with the pattice came in handy as we used them to mop up the moist onion-rich mince.
A portion of steamed rice is sent along with the loyalty-inspiring mutton curry (Rs300). The flavour of the mutton chops had seeped into the tangy tomato and onion loaded gravy. We perhaps incorrectly picked their signature crackle chocolate fudge (Rs110) over the Sindhi sev barfi, our favourite iteration of which is sold at Bandra’s Karachi Sweets, a Sindhi sweet mart and chaat stall. Sadly the fudge lacked the precise measurements applied to the savoury fare. The homemade dark chocolate dessert was overcooked and over-sweetened with a halo of treacle.
Get: Kheema pattice (Rs290), Sindhi mutton curry (Rs300), sai bhaji and bhuga chawal (Rs220), chicken kheema (Rs300), dal pakwan (Rs160).
Skip: Crackle chocolate fudge (Rs110).
It is our policy to wait at least a week after an establishment has opened before we review it.