What happens when you combine delectable food, like-minded bloggers and a brilliant location? Magic, of course – My travelogue of Chail, review of Soni da dhaba and the actual story behind “pahari pizza!”
This May, a long-standing dream of Hitchy came due and purely due to his hard work I have to say. We did a bloggers meet at Kufri, Himachal Pradesh. We met, we clicked pictures, we chatted endless hours. And we visited the famous Soni Da Dhaba that everyone around recommended, and boy, did we eat!
We soaked in the rainy beauty of the place, I wanted to really bring back the whole experience and treasure it forever. Everytime I have met bloggers it’s surprised me that how well we seem to connect to each other. There is no hesitation, no awkwardness of meeting people for the first time, it feels like we are long lost friends who are just starting from where we left ages ago, I am sure you are all aware of the feeling. We even made jokes many times about Sak’s obsession with err butts and even shared a whole album sharing butts with her but truth be told, we missed you Saks, and you pixie and you Ritu and many more who couldn’t make it. Next time bigger and better.
Picture by IHM, missing in the picture Nidhi, Shail & IHM
Hitchy this post is dedicated to you my dear friend, may the smiles and the camera discussions last forever.
Left – Shail.
Right – IHM
So while we were in Kufri, one day we drove to Chail for lunch especially because someone had told us about Soni Da Dhaba like I said before, and the foodies that we all are (oh you thought its only me, he he) we had decided that we will go and eat there only and I am glad we did because the place gave me a feel of a typical eating joint in a small hill town. Nothing fancy just but basic dal, sabji and roti but so yumm that you will be licking your fingers, I assure you.
Uchat mulay pe khana and uske saath thoda gyan muft (food at reasonable prices and some advise free along with it) 🙂
When we reached the place the auntie who was running it told us so lovingly that its getting ready but if we wait for 10 mins she will serve us hot food, we were more than happy to oblige her and got clicking and chatting, BTW N got most amused in this trip he was like 10 people, each with a SLR who do you even deal with this 🙂
After a wait for about 15 minutes the food starting coming, our smiles got wider and the plates got fuller. I also got a little mouthfuls from the other folks for not letting them eat till I finish clicking the pics, unfortunately a food bloggers life isn’t so easy I tell you. The ordering was simple that day there was a thali which had – aloo jeera, punjabi dal, matter paneer, chole, kadhi and raita, served with hot phulkas and rice with some green salad on side.
one of the best aloo jeera’s I have had in some time. Rightly spiced and wasn’t floating in oil the way you usually find it in indian joints mostly.
I am not a paneer fan, yes go ahead and laugh 😛 and most certainly not a matar paneer fan, it was a dish fed to me twice every week during winters and I have had enough of it. It reminds me of childhood food traumas , ok fine I am exaggerating a bit but nonetheless, the nutshell is I don’t like matar paneer but this one almost changed my mind. If there was no trauma attached I might even have admitted loving it and no you are not allowed to point out anything here
I am a big dal person and specially the punjabi dhabhe walli dal, this one hit all the right notes and though sat in the corner ignored because well its just a dal for me it was a perfect dish (my recipe of the dhabha dal here)
The only miss that day in the meal for me was chole, it wasn’t bad infact it was good but somehow didn’t stand upto the rest of the food
they say save the best for the last and I agree with them, Kadhi one of my most fav vegetarian foods and this was yumm, we all finished many many bowls that day. Cracker of a kadhi 100% marks given.
And how can I leave you without showing you the full thali, tell me ?
After we finished having lunch and were wondering about what would land up as desssert, I walked into their kitchen next door and the auntie told us she is making “Pahari/Mountain Pizza”. It totally intrigued me and I stood there with my camera ready, focused on his little chulah that doubled up as a stove and he started the action. Took a little dough, rolled it in a chapathi and cooked it inside the chulha (not on the gas) more like an oven, cooked a bit from both sides, poured some gur and shakkar (gur is jaggery and shakkar is not sugar, its actually something between jaggery and sugar which is extremely popular in Punjab, specially in winters. It’s a must have with makki di roti meal too and has a such a distinct and lovely flavour of its own) and drizzled some ghee on top. It was then I almost screamed “this is gur shakkar ki roti” and they smiled at me saying “haan madam, mountain pizza kahtein hain, tou log khaate hain” (people eat it when we call it mountain pizzza)
This pahari pizza as they call it, made me so nostalgic, made me miss my granny who used to make this for us every week while we were growing up specially in winters and in the winter vacation time, if you were a good child you might even get it everyday.
So when I came back from kufri I asked mom for a recipe and made it for Ojas and delightfully he loved it as much as I used to while growing up.