Dining in Oman: Pleasures of Parantha

Lifestyle Monday 27/June/2016 17:18 PM
By: Times News Service
Dining in Oman: Pleasures of Parantha

It was December and as my car raced on the sprawling highway towards Agra braving the thick fogs, all I had in mind was Taj Mahal, the world’s most iconic tribute to love. And why not? After all, my childhood dream of visiting this place was finally coming true, albeit years later. But destiny had something else in store and midway my car had a sudden breakdown. Sensing my heartbreak, the driver signalled a ‘don’t worry’ message in as many ways as he could to assure me that he would fix it up in no time. And while he got down to business, I decided to walk around the area though it was fully engulfed in fog. A few metres away, even in the zero visibility range, I could see the signboard that read, Ram Babu Paranthe Wale.
Food was certainly not on my mind then, but the biting cold compelled me to walk inside the eatery to be welcomed by the aroma of freshly roasted parantha. A staple in Northern India, parantha is a pan-fried flatbread made of wheat flour which are either served plain or stuffed with various ingredients and served with a bowl of yoghurt or pickle.
At Ram Babu there were many varieties, starting from methi and muttar (fenugreek leaves and peas) to mooli and aloo (grated white radish and potato) made fresh on order. I settled with a plate of aloo parantha and no qualms in admitting, my urge to reach Agra and marvel at Taj Mahal took a back seat, at least at that moment.
If you travel extensively in India one common thing that you will find are the roadside eateries popularly known as dhabas. Minimalist to the core, these eateries do not have any frills and fancies, yet are known to serve fresh and lip smacking dishes for those who are on road for long hours.
It was 12 noon and I was appalled to see the number of people waiting patiently outside the restaurant for so long just to get a seat inside. A parantha factory in true sense, all I could see in my hour long wait inside the restaurant was endless streams of paranthas emerging from the kitchen. While many were having their choice of paranthas with a cup of steaming hot karak tea, as it was very cold that day, there were a handful of people who still preferred to have it with salted buttermilk, it’s the traditional Indian way of eating parantha. While I was engrossed in finishing the hot and crisp aloo parantha on my plate that was delicious to the core with liberal dose of ghee (clarified butter), it wasthen soon time for me to leave for my destination, with my car back in action.
This was years’ ago and while I never forgot the charms of Taj Mahal, I also could never forget the paranthas of Ram Babu Paranthe Wale, the taste that still lingers on my palate.
Back in Muscat if paranthas are on your menu, and you think getting a dhaba like freshly baked parantha here is a wish upon the stars then just drive through the bylanes of Ruwi in Rex Road and you will stumble upon a small shop, that does have a name but the growing community of parantha lovers know it as Khurshid’s parantha where you can swear by their aloo (potato), gobi (cauliflower), and methi (fenugreek) parantha.
This modest eatery churns out other varieties too which include chicken parantha, cheese parantha, mix vegetable parantha and more, at a very affordable price ranging from 250 baisa a piece to maximum 400 baisa.
Along with that there are several other restaurants in town where one can get these freshly baked breads with a dollop of butter and variety in stuffing. Take your pick. —[email protected]

Here’s a quick rundown on your favourite restaurants for a parantha bite.
• Cheese chicken parantha at Khurshid’s Shop, Ruwi, + 968 9261 3601
• Lacha parantha at Yellow Chillis, Al Mouj Muscat, Opposite The Walk, +968 2454 1717
• Mughlai parantha at Dawat, Rex Road, Ruwi, +968 2470 7722
• Warqi parantha at Shalimar Muscat, in Al Khuwair service road, +968 2447 8786
• Kabab parantha at Meerath Famous in Al Khuwair, near Mars Hyper market, +968 2447 8344
• Stuffed keema parantha at Kati Kababs, near Taimur Mosque, Al Khuwair, +968 9769 4151