13 March 2015

Sasta, Sundar, Tikao: Jani Khaman and Locho House, Borivali

Welcome to the Sasta, Sundar, Tikao section on the blog. As the name suggests, it includes roadside joints, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and street side vendors who dole out delicious food at the most reasonable prices. These are the lifelines of our city, and what the common man's idea of eating out comprises. There are some dishes that just cannot be replicated in the best of restaurants because the fun lies eating them off the road, the wind in your hair, and traffic noise in your ears. Hope you'll enjoy reading these posts, and eating at these places. 

I read about Jani Khaman and Locho House in a Mumbai Boss article two years ago. It has remained on my Must-Eat-At list since then. (I have a list of places on my phone where I have to go eat at, and I'm constantly adding, deleting, modifying this list). Two years later, destiny and true love brought me to Borivali - land of Khaman and Locho House. 

Eons ago, a chef in Surat added excess water to his dhokla batter of chana and urad dal, and exclaimed 'Locho thayi gayo!' Having nothing better to serve his guests, he served them this pulpy mash along with sev and chutney. Therein the 'Locho' was born. Credit to the chef for coming up with this, and for the smart Suratis for making this erroneous snack available in every nook and corner of Gujarat.

Jani Khaman and Locho House, situated a few minutes from the station, serves locho and does it in style. You'll find a lot more apart from your basic locho and garlic locho here. There's the crazy schezwan locho and manchurian locho, and you can top each of these with grated (Amul) cheese.

Having never eaten locho in my life, I took along a true-blue Ahmedabad boy with me who confirms the authenticity of this Gujju staple. Our Garlic Locho tasted like a smashed up dhokla batter to me drizzled with garlic oil. The sev on top provides so much crunch to the smooth, soft locho batter. The hero is the green chutney on the side. This sweet-spicy chutney along with chopped onions elevates the simplicity of this dish.

Garlic Locho
The Schezwan Locho is fusion food at it's best. An error in a recipe combined with a desi Chinese sauce, that makes for a crazy fun dish to eat. The Schezwan is not authentic one bit, but who cares! They also do a Manchurian version, but I was not gutsy enough to try that. Maybe next time. Add grated cheese on top, if you're adventurous and don't have to count calories, like I do.

Schezwan Locho
Do not leave without trying the Sev Khamani or else you'll face my wrath! Khamani is the younger brother of the Khaman dhokla - Brand ambassador of Gujju cuisine, after undhiyu. The dhokla is crushed, stir fried with spices, and topped with sev to create the khamani. This khamani is sweet-spicy thanks to the occasional pomegranate pearl that will pop in your mouth, soft yet crunchy thanks to the sev, and tastes beautiful when paired with that magic green chutney.

Sev Khamani
You'll find other Gujju staples such as Methi Gota, Jethalal's favourite Jalebi - Fafda, khandvi et al. You'll also find a constant flow of people in and out of the shop, sitting on bikes and wolfing down their lochos. (Go on a bike of your own because they have no seating space). Jani Locho and Khaman House is a gem. It serves filling, authentic food at a prices that are so reasonable you'll happily pay double for what you have been charged. Locho prices start at Rs. 30 onward, a sev khamani is priced at Rs. 35/-  and a foodcation to Gujarat while you're sitting in Mumbai is free. There are some things money can't buy....

(The author dined anonymously and paid for her own meal).

Contact: Jani Khaman and Locho House,  11, Star Trade Centre, Sodawala Lane, Opposite Chamunda Circle, Borivali West, Mumbai.

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