I’ve professed my love for homestyle Punjabi food quite a few times here. The typical restaurant style curries, the ‘something or the other’ Masalas, especially what the “Multicuisine” restaurants here in Pune belch out, create a kind of weird sensation in my throat. Actually, that’s just the food I can’t get down my gullet.
This is where MoMNom Kitcken comes in. Anything related to food, with the word ‘Mom’ in it, already has my full attention. Started by the Singh family, the kitchen spearheaded by the capable hands of Mrs Singh (putting the mom in MomNom), serving family favourites that she cooks at home everyday and on special occasions. Kababs, curries, biryanis, chole bhaturas and salads. Stuff that will melt the most stone hearted ‘Mai ka laal!”
What absolutely catapults this place to the next level is that there are no compromises even though it is a delivery kitchen. The kitchen is absolutely modern, spick and span, with a huge staff. All the meats, ingredients and masalas are always used fresh, nothing is cooked beforehand. Their leftovers too are donated to the needy. They use biodegradable packaging for every item, which is wonderfully designed and has heartwarming quotes on them. They have printed the word ‘maa’ on every package. But look at the attention to detail, on Maharashtrian style dishes they have ‘Aai’ and on South Indian style dishes they use ‘Amma’. Absolutely amazing.
Salads / Appetizers / Pickles
Three Bean Salad – A ridiculously delicious, simple and healthy salad (you gotta be a mom to make something so healthy so delicious). Steamed rajma, chole and chick peas, with pomegranate, lightly seasoned with salt, spices and corriander. Just so soul satisfying.
Sweet Potato Chips – Uber crispy and light homemade chips, perfectly spiced and seasoned! So morish, we had to send it away, as we would have finished them right there and would have had no space for the rest of the food! This is a must try. It was served with a yogurt dip, which was so creamy and tasty, We first felt it was mayo. Turns out it is just churned yogurt with light spices! Talk about making simple things tasty!
Pickles / Chutney – I absolutely love Punjabi pickles. They are fresh, crunchy and have a wonderful refreshing taste. No different here. We could have finished the whole serving on one go on its own. The green chutney was nice too.
Beetroot Tikki – You haven’t had beetroot tikkis like this ever in your life. Forget about anything you’ve ever tasted in a restaurant. This was so crispy on the outside and so soft, juicy and sweet on the inside. Perfect spice to balance out the sweetness from the beetroot. So colourful and pretty to match the perfect taste!
Chicken Hirkani – A typical Maharastrian style Chicken Sukha. Chicken with bone fried in a delicious onion based dry gravy, with warm spices, loads of garlic and curry leaves. So juicy, smoky and almost caramelly taste, fragrant with ghee. One of the best chicken starters I’ve ever had.
Chicken Podi Seekh – Confused? So was I when I first heard it. But then I tasted it! Man, so crazy. The best Punjabi-South Indian crossover ever since the cringeworthy ‘coconut mein lassi milake’ thing, whatever that was. Juicy smoky chicken seekh kabab stir fried in podi masala, onions, curry leaves and dried red chilly. Spicy, juicy and crunchy all together.
Chicken Harissa – Juicy chicken marinated and fried in spicy African red chili Harissa paste! It has a hit to it and it is really tasty, but doesn’t burn you at all. Perfectly spicy and amazing flavour.
Mutton Masala – A very home style Punjabi Mutton curry. My god, it absolutely blew my socks off. The onion-tomato based curry was so hearty and soul satisfying. A magical spice blend, very mildly spicy, with juicy flavourful mutton on bone. It is cooked in ghee so it gives it a beautiful richness and aroma.
Smoked Makhni Chicken – Their take on the Delhi Style Butter Chicken. A very creamy, buttery and thick gravy, unsweet (unlike the Puneri version) with an amazing smokey flavour! The boneless chicken was wonderfully cooked and on the whole it was very flavoursome. I’m not a huge fan of Butter Chicken, and even though this was really delicious, it still isn’t my cup of tea.
White Butter Chicken – Now this is something I can get behind. This was a coarser onion based gravy with a very amazing aroma and flavour of warm spices, very creamy and loads of black pepper! This was super delicious.
Dal Makhni – This is a very home style dal makhni. Don’t expect the cream laden version you get in restaurants. It is slow cooked and full of goodness of ghee! The dal was wonderfully broken down and the curry was earthy and heart warming.
Boneless Chicken Biryani – This was one hell of a biryani! Medium spicy but loads of flavour in the masala, fragrant rice and beautifully juicy chicken. The sweet caramelised flavour of fried onion and fresh mint heightening the experience. One of the best biryani’s I’ve had recently.
Chole Bhature – Earthy, boldly flavoured chole masala with absolutely massive crisp hearty bhaturas. Classic combo done extremely well. You cannot miss out on this.
We had some hot crispy jalebis and the most homely, sweet, creamy rice kheer to end the meal. We were bursting at this time but I couldn’t help but have more than one serving of the kheer. It wasn’t overly sweet, topped with loads of pistachios and other nuts.
Patilala Lassi – How could you go to a Punjabi place and not have a lassi? The sheer quantity is absolutely massive, a glass bigger than my head. Creamy, sweet, slightly tangy and rich lassi, with perfect amount of sweet spices! So crazy good!
They even do package meals for bulk orders. Priced very reasonably, you can have veg or non-veg versions. Again commendable quantity with curry, dal, rotis, rice and salad with one sweet. There are also one-person servings like kadhi-chawal, rajma-rice etc.
I know this has been a long post but the sheer quality and quantity of dishes and the variety for a single kitchen is just mind blowing. There isn’t a single dish I can complain about, even if I tried. The hygiene, the quality of ingredients and attention to detail and care put into the food is far beyond any delivery kitchen and probably even some big restaurants.
PS – I picked some food from them a few days later, anonymously. The Chicken Tikka was delicious and perfectly cooked. The chole bhature were slightly high on salt but still really delicious. The staff, even at closing time, were very cooperative and efficient.