Review: Punjab Sweets

Thali with Bhindi, Chana, Mattar Paneer and a Gulab Jamun
Thali with Bhindi, Chana, Mattar Paneer and a Gulab Jamun

Iqbal and Gurmit Dha and their daughter Harpreet Giil have done something terrible, and I’ll never forgive them. Their vegetarian restaurant, Punjab Sweets, offers my favorite Indian snacks, entrees, and sweets. And it isn’t in walking distance of my house. I find this to be deeply cruel.

Seriously, I’m always on the lookout for the Indian snacks known as chaat. I love them all, but my favorite is the Pani Puri (also known as Golgoppa) that you see below. A plate of little crispy fried shells is served with a savory filling, and an intensely flavored dipping "water" with lots of tamarind, mint and spices. You poke a hole in the top of a shell, fill it up, dip it in the sauce and hurry it to your mouth before you douse your shirt. The versions I’m most familiar with include potatoes and chickpeas in the filling. Punjab Sweets does a wonderful, more minimalist version with just potatoes. Their sauce is the freshest I’ve ever tasted.

Pani Puri aka Golgoppa
Pani Puri aka Golgoppa

I wanted to try as many of the entrees as possible, so Harpreet suggested the thali you see in the first picture. I chose the bhindi (okra), matter paneer (fresh cheese cubes and peas), and the chana (chickpeas), which were served with basmati rice, homemade yogurt, homemade pickled carrots, and a gulab jamun for dessert.

These were not the dumbed-down curries that you find on lunch buffets throughout our fair city. Each looked alive and fresh, and had a distinct flavor. The curries at Punjab Sweets are not generally mild. Be prepared for a decent level of heat that complements the other tastes.

Then there is the matter of dessert. As you can see below, you are going to have a difficult decision on your hands. My recommendation is to ask for a mixed box of Harpreet’s favorites so you can try them all.

The sweets here are better than the best I had in Delhi, including the famous Haldiram. Many Indian sweets are based on flavored cream reduced to the consistency of fudge, and chickpea flour (besan). Flavorings include shredded carrots, pistachios and other nuts, rosewater, cardamom and other sweet spices. As with everything else at Punjabi Sweets, the desserts are a cut well above average, with smooth consistencies and well balanced flavors. I find them less tooth-achingly sugary than other shops, and that allows the caramelized brown-butter flavors to shine. A box would make a terrific hostess gift or an interesting platter at a party.

The Eponymous Sweets
The Eponymous Sweets

Can you tell I love this place? All of the food at Punjab Sweets is 100% vegetarian, so that is a major bonus. And everything is prepared with obvious love and care, using first-quality ingredients and no shortcuts. I highly recommend a visit.

Details:

Punjab Sweets
23617 104th Ave SE C
Kent, WA 98031
(253) 859-3236
Open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m

Print Friendly and PDF
Posted by Michael Natkin on Saturday, May 10th, 2008 in Restaurants, Seattle.

8 Responses to “Review: Punjab Sweets”

  1. May 12, 2008 at 11:03 pm #

    Wow these look delicious! No wonder you love the place!

    I have to admit I’ve got a soft spot for Indian sweets! :D

  2. May 13, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for sharing this place. I can not wait to get down there and taste everything. It is rare to find a place that makes all the Indian treats and chaat that I love.

  3. May 14, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    OH – YUM! I do love indian food like this. Especially mutter paneer and dosa. This place looks fabulous!

  4. May 14, 2008 at 1:42 pm #

    I had an Indian pastry at a restaurant once that looked like one of those. It was a pink square, I wrote about it here: link to chewonthatblog.com

    Oh yea, we’re also having a contest on our blog where you could win a package from Lou Malnati’s. Check it out!

  5. Sarah
    May 14, 2008 at 3:22 pm #

    I too recently went to Punjab Sweets and found it to be fantastic. I am glad to hear you also had a good experience.

  6. May 18, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    OMG… they are so yummy! Better than the ones I ate in my hometown :(

    In October each year, there’s a Taoist influenced celebration called ‘Festival of Nine Emperors’ where everything served or sold is vegetarian- which made mostly from gluten, wheat, rice, beans,etc with no garlic added! During this time, I love to buy vegetarian cakes made of sesame,green beans,peanuts,etc. The cakes or sweets are wrapped in yellow or white transparent papers (the color of the festival). Devotees would eat vegetarian food for 9 days followed by processions to the sea for cast of offerings until next year. In my hometown, we have many vegetarian restaurants serving from vegetarian pork char siu to noodles to desserts! The only fun time is during the festival mentioned because everywhere you will see road side stalls set up with yellow banners hanged to inform the public of the festival.
    You must visit this part of continent for the feast… :-)

  7. jamie
    June 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm #

    yeah, Punjab Sweets is amazing in my humble opinion – I wish they’d open one in Bellevue

  8. July 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    I used to live near Southall in London so I ate loads of yummy punjab sweets when I was there. I wish we could get them in Queensland.

Leave a Reply