Sindhi cuisine seems to be making a mark on Mumbai’s culinary map. In the recent months, I have been on a tasting spree at two restaurants serving exclusive Sindhi cuisine. Juss by Sindhful opened its door in Khar early this year and has seen a steady stream of foodies who crave to try out niche cuisines. Enterprising Kanchan Ahuja started as a home chef along with her enthusiastic foodie son Sannat which went on to become an outlet for take-aways finally graduating to a full-fledged restaurant. As for its name, young, smart and hospitable Sannat explains, “My grandmother used to often remark ‘this person has juss in her hands’ which means magic in the hands of the person cooking.”
Enter the restaurant to be greeted by copper plaques scribbled with Sindhi jargons, walls painted with rural Sindh highlights and vibrant ‘chadar’ canopy on the ceiling. The upper level sported colourful niches on it way and carved wooden bannisters. Though constrained in space, Juss by Sindhful exudes positive and feel-good vibes.
Do you know Sindhis are among the few who have the tastiest snacks, albeit heavily fried, for breakfast? You cannot escape the ubiquitous snacks of Dal Pakwan – crunchy pakwan triangles topped with mushy kabuli (it is usually normal chana dal) chana dal cooked in secret Sindhi masalas, green/sweet/sour chutneys and a garnish of onion and fresh coriander; crusty whole wheat, onion and chilli paratha Koki with raita and papad; we also enjoyed heart-shaped Bheeyan ji Tikki made of lotus stem croquettes with Sindhi green masala finished with tangy lotus stem chips as we downed Kesar Lassi and Paan Milkshake in between.
After tucking into the starters, we settled for the tempting Unlimited Sindhi Thali (Rs.425) which had 2 appetizers – scrumptious spiced potato slivers in Aloo Tuk and Sanna pakoda – bite-sized onion pakodas. The inexorable Sindhi dishes, Sai Bhaji and Sindhi Kadhi made their way – the former full of healthy, full-bodied greens and veg slow-cooked to perfection while the latter had drumsticks peep out from tomato besan gravy. It would not be out of place to point out that Sindhi Kadhi is not to be confused with Gujarati Khadhi which is curd based.
Other side dishes included in the thali were Bhindi Basar (dry okra and onion in an unpretentious and flavoursome masala), delicious home style Raswalle Aloo and the spicier Besan Sindhi Curry with roasted besan morsels along with fluffy puris and rotis. Not to forget, Sindhi staple of papad made its presence throughout the meal.
The thali was already brimming with so many items that we didn’t go for a second helping at all as we wanted to reserve enough place in our tummies for the finale of rich-on-the-palate Sevai Kheerni, a traditional Sindhi dessert, luscious gulab jamuns and the global-touch rendering mud cake.
By the way, the caption Tamam Suthi Maani means Very Good Food which justifies the recipes by Kanchan at Juss by Sindhful!