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Daal Makhni & Tandoori Murg: In The Swiss Alps

by SHRUTI SETIA CHHABRA

 

 

As you climb down Mount Titlis in the Urner Alps of Switzerland, over 3,000 metres high, it's not what you would expect - the aroma of samosas wafting through the chilly mountain air.

Europeans are lining up at a huge, all-white van parked in the middle of the snow-covered slopes. Their faces light up at the sight of Punjab da puttar, Bhairu Singh, frying the popular savoury, just the way they want it.

A few yards away, Hyatt Singh's finger-licking butter chicken is lapped up by most visitors at Hotel Terrace, the only hospitality unit in this part of the Alps. This Amritsari gabroo has made the ubiquitous Punjabi recipe a hit among Europeans. His colleague, Jeevan Singh, has gone a step further and converted the bread-eating, chocolate-making Swiss populace salivate for his dal makhni and naan.

The three Punjabi chefs, who have been wooing locals and visitors alike in the tourist haven of Switzerland for the past few years, work with Gourm India, a 25- year-old company specializing in Punjabi food.

This company is the sole supplier of Punjabi food to Terrace, the only hotel at Mount Titlis.

Gourm India is not the only company proud of its Punjabi chefs.

Others from the Land of the Five Rivers have also made it big with their recipes and cooking at various places in Switzerland.

Two brothers from Rajpura, Mann Singh and Harbinder Singh, have set up Tandoor Haus, a restaurant specializing in exotic Punjabi dishes in the Swiss capital of Zurich. The duo, who came to Switzerland to work in a hotel, are now well-settled in the beautiful country along with their families.

"I had begun working as a cook in Rajpura. I migrated to Switzerland after I got a job in a hotel. Later, my brother, too, joined me,'' says Mann Singh, a graduate from Mahindra College in Patiala. The kitchen at Tandoor Haus is all too familiar for Punjabis. Utensils being used to cook delicacies like murg shorba, murg makhani, tandoori murg and macchhi are straight from a Punjabi kitchen. To round up a perfect Punjabi khaana, they serve kulfi too.

 

[Courtesy: Times of India]

June 7, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Jasbir Singh Sethi (Houston, Texas, U.S.A.), June 07, 2010, 7:49 AM.

"The road to the heart is through the stomach!" Wow, great enterpreneurship. Congratulations. Want to add something. Most of the chefs in U.S.A. in Indian Restaurants are Punjabis. Mainstream Americans think - and rightly so - that Punjabi Cuisine is the only authentic Indian cuisine. Any time I have taken an American friend for Punjabi food, at the first taste they fall in love with naan, tandoori chicken and paalak paneer. When I moved to Houston in 1972, I met the late S.Iqbal "Ike" Singh in Dallas, Texas who had settled there as the first Sikh/ Punjabi/ Indian/ South-Asian, decades ahead of any other, and he was running a Punjabi restaurant. His clientele included all the visiting dignitaries from the sub-continent (P.M. Nehru, President Radhakrishnan, et al). Ike was an instituion. Incidently, in 1971, when a handful of Sikhs here wanted to have an annual Gurdwara Day (they did not have the Guru Granth Sahib), Ike had one and drove 250 miles from Dallas so that the divan could be held. He was a Punjabi poet as well. Then in 1987, I was visiting Innsbrook, Austria with my family, when I found out about, and had dinner at the "Sher-e-Punjab" Restaurant right on the banks of the river. Good luck to all such entrepreneurs and Sikhi/ Punjabi flag-bearers.

2: Dr. Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 07, 2010, 8:38 AM.

Punjabi cuisine has thus authentically disproved that "Sky is the limit" - what next, saryon da saag and makki di roti in outer space? Go for it!

3: Ari Singh (Sofia, Bulgaria), June 09, 2010, 2:32 PM.

Interesting. There are at least three restaurants in Iceland serving food from the subcontinent. At least two of them are Punjabi. They were set up more than 20 years ago.

4: Harvinder Singh (Switzerland), January 06, 2013, 7:21 PM.

Error in the article: The capital of Switzerland is Bern, not Zurich.

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