the famous macchi ki seekh

 “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

Chef Sweety Singh truly validates George Bernard Shaw’s words. A soft spoken, affable Sardarji from the bylanes of Old Delhi, Sweety Singh aka Harjinder Singh has come miles from his modest Dhaba opposite Delite Cinema. Punjabi cuisine is generally considered rich with the usage of cream(s) and butter(s). But Chef Sweety defies that.

excellent mutton chaap

“If food is cooked with love, then one doesn’t need cream(s) and cashew paste(s). Punjabi cooking is just like the Punjabis themselves. It is simple and forthright. The use of fresh ingredients and slow cooking brings out flavours.”

Chef Sweety Singh has been cooking Punjabi Food since the age of 19. He runs a popular Dhaba ‘Punjabi Khaana’ at Asaf Ali Road in Daryaganj. The Dhaba was started by his father Gyani Santokh Singh, who started selling food items in a bicycle after relocating to Delhi post the partition. The passion and success gave birth to the Dhaba and Sweety Singh added catering business to it when he took over the reins from his father.

The doyen of Indian culinary, Chef Manjit Singh Gill spotted Sweety Singh during one of his visits to The Old Delhi. He was impressed by the simplicity and non fussy culinary skills of Sweety Singh and gave him a break through a Punjabi Food Festival at the ITCPark Sheraton Chennai in December 1998. Since then, there was no looking back for Chef Sweety Singh and he has done many food festivals in various groups of hotels all across the world.

Whenver, Chef Sweety Singh churns his spatula at the iconic Dhaba at The Claridges, it casts a magic spell on the diners. We witnessed this magic first hand on a quiet Monday evening, when we had the privilege to review The Royal Punjab Food Festival currently running in Dhaba at The Claridges. The interestingly designed menu (in the shape of tractor tire) had some interesting dishes which posed a difficult question – what shouldn’t be missed!!. And Chef Sweety Singh charmed us with his first dish – Mutton Chap. Be it seasonal Sarson Da Saag, or intriguing Macchi Di Seekh, or the household Punjabi dish Pindi Chole (it’s the specialty of Chef Sweety Singh) , every dish was done perfectly with minimal spices and were full of flavor . This, made me term it as ‘Precision Cooking’. The dining seemed more like a ‘Mushaira’where we were mouthful and all that we could utter was – ‘wah-wah’ for every morsel that we relished.

For us,  this was the best Punjabi fare ever and it busted the cliché that Punjabi food is rich and heavy. The festival is on ,till 15th February and it is one festival which should not be missed.

When: On till 15th February 2014
Where: Dhaba at The Claridges
Timings: Lunch and Dinner

Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.
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