Thin steamed pancakes in banana leaves – a piece of Gujarat
Monday 28th December 2015
The bright yellow of the panki, slightly visible between layers of green, is enough to make you salivate. Then you peel open the steaming banana leaf and wonder if the thin pancake might be too hot to touch, let alone eat; so you tear off a piece and almost drop it on your plate, take a spoonful of coriander chutney while the panki steams off a little and then dip the panki in the chutney and eat it even though it is far too hot, and possibly spicy. But the texture and flavour of this rice flour pancake is so different to anything you’ve ever tasted that you just keep eating more, going through layer after layer of banana leaf… until you need to order one more. I had mine with a glass of salted lassi, the perfect relief from the moorish spice. There’s also sweet lassi, fresh lime soda, fresh coconut water… a number of drinks to cool the flavours.
While panki takes centre stage at Soam, it’s worth trying some of the other traditional Gujarati dishes from pooran puri with kadhi and methi thepla to all types of kichdi, my favourite being sabudana kichdi. You’ll also be able to find other dishes like dosa and bhel here, but I would recommend tasting different elements of Gujarat.
What I love about this restaurant is that it is located halfway through Mumbai – well sort of! It’s in the South but close enough to the sea link to make it easily accessible from Bandra. I haven’t tried the desserts here, but I’m sure they’re as delicious as they are indulgent!
For another similar and just as impressive option, there’s Swati Snacks nearby, famous again for it’s Gujarati snacks including panki.
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Mira Manek's desire for healthy cooking combines her love of traditional Indian cuisine with her mother and grandmother's recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes.