Food Review: Nagpurian Saoji
Sandwiched between the regional food joints Calcutta Club and Lucknowi Legacy in Oshiwara is new entrant Nagpurian Saoji, a no-frills establishment that specialises in the cuisine of the Saoji community of Nagpur. Saoji food is said to have a cult following among people with a fondness for extreme levels of spice. And sure enough, all the curries at Nagpurian Saoji are rendered hot with the aromatic base ingredients of garam masala, including bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper.
A comparatively smaller dependence on red chillies makes Saoji cooking marginally less fiery than Kolhapuri food. The dark brown curries of Saoji dishes are thinner and more soupy in consistency as opposed to the thick and deep-red Kolhapuri tambda rassa. However, the other, less-appealing feature of the chicken- and mutton-dominated Saoji cuisine is the use of copious amounts of oil (we had to drain an inch-thick layer of florid oil from the gravies we tried). The mutton saoji (Rs200) and desi chicken saoji (Rs200), both infused with the juices of the meat, were far more flavourful than the Patodi saoji (Rs150), a dish made up of stodgy clumps of shallow-fried besan, and the paneer saoji (Rs170), even though they were all lavished with the same masalas. To get through a Saoji meal, you’ll need to keep a bottle of water or a pot of sugar handy. We reached for both after tongue-singeing mouthfuls of Nagpurian Saoji’s mutton biryani (Rs210), which wasn’t too oily but had enough spice to give us the sniffles. For sweet relief, get their soft gulab jamuns (Rs80) or the creamy blocks of malai kulfi (Rs80).
Prices are inclusive of taxes. This review was conducted anonymously.