In love with Punjabi cuisine at Sangat
I am continuously amazed at what my hood has to offer. Just the other day, I told a friend about a hip coffee joint here and he was gobsmacked that this ‘middle-of-nowhere’ residential area had an inviting coffee joint out in the boondocks.
Well, it’s not exactly the boondocks, just a very old neighbourhood that’s slowly being gentrified.
The Punjabis are a very close-knit community and whenever I’ve had the privilege to eat at any of my Punjabi friends’ homes, the food has been amazing. But I’ve hardly ever come across a Punjabi restaurant.
Which is why when I stumbled across Sangat Punjabi Cuisine Restaurant, my heart gave a little leap of joy. Employing a simple basic decor, bright and clean, the restaurant just opened in July post MCO.
Sangat here is not Malay for “very” but a Sikh term with Sanskrit origins to mean “company or fellowship”, Set up by a Punjabi family (father, 2 sons and another relative), the food here offers homestyle cooking with authentic flavours, and real friendly service.
I asked the server what was recommended and she so kindly told me about the popular dishes, and even accommodated out-of-menu requests – No. 1 wanted cheese added to his chilli padi garlic naan, and since his stomach was a bit out of sorts, we asked for a hot ginger lime drink. I love how she said, “We will try,” to everything we asked for!
We ordering a cross section of foodstuff – mutton keema naan (RM13) and chilli padi garlic naan (RM5), chicken biryani, aloo gobi, baigan bartha and karahi chicken – for four of us.
The fresh and fragrant naan breads were not that large, but enough per person if you’re a small eater. The meat-filled version turned out especially filling, and they have a chicken naan (RM7) as well, and a plain naan is just RM2.
I’ve had Aloo Gobi (RM10) – cauliflower and potatoes cooked with spices – many times before, and this was definitely one of the tastier versions. The Baigan Bartha – grilled eggplant – was quite different as I expected something mushy and savoury. Instead, this came in cut small pieces, with a firm texture, subtle herbs and spices, and slightly sour tinge, thanks to a squeeze of lime. Later I found out this was a typical Punjabi vegetable dish found on most family dining tables.
Really long-grained basmati rice came in colourful bits of red, yellow and white, mildly spiced. I would have preferred a heartier dose of spices for this biryani (RM14) but for those unfamiliar with Indian flavours, this would be a good gentle introduction. It came with a generous piece of chicken buried inside, and the first layer of flavour to hit the palate was again a sour taste. I never knew the Punjabis liked lime so much. The portion is generous enough for 2 persons, and frankly, hours after lunch, despite sharing everything, we still felt stuffed!
The highlight was the Karahi Chicken (RM18) served in a mini wok – mildly spicy and savoury, the thick gravy had us smacking our lips and reaching for more. Couldn’t quite put my finger on the recipe – thought there was yogurt – but the server said no. Creamy, rich and buttery, yet elegant and fragrant, a bit salty eaten by itself, but perfect with rice. The server offered to pack the rest if we couldn’t finish, but we slurped every last drop, down to the last spoonful of calorie-laden goodness.
Typical Punjabi desserts such as kheer rice-and-milk pudding (RM8) and grated carrot halwa with nuts (RM8) are also available, but we couldn’t put away anotehr bite.
Generally, flavours were muted, subtle, more like “shall we dance” inside your mouth rather then “We’re conquering this place!”.
What’s even more wonderful is the budget-friendly prices. It’s entirely possible to feed a whole family for less than RM100, and you can walk out feeling you’re eaten like a king. I most definitely want to come back to try more of this cuisine!
Add: 59A, Jalan 20/7, Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 011-6997-1735. Closed on the first and third Monday of the month.
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