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tasty dish to try at Desi Biryani in Jackson Heights

JulesNYC Jan 7, 2007 11:34 PM

Last night we picked up take-out from Desi Biryani on 37th Avenue and were really impressed by the Mughlai paratha. We had the vegetable version and the chicken version - both are good, but it was the veggie version that we liked enough to go back for today!
Very light and fresh tasting - a little expensive at $7 per order, but a good treat.

  1. howler Jan 9, 2007 09:35 AM

    just to clarify - 'moghul' or 'mughal' is the indo-aryan term for of 'mongol' - the mughal dynasty in india was founded by a descendant of genghiz khan.

    1. m
      Mike V Jan 8, 2007 08:10 PM

      I just picked up the takeout menu. I don't see a Vegetarian Paratha just Muglai Paratha stuffed with ground beef, eggs and onions. I imagine you asked for it stuffed with vegetables.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Mike V
        JulesNYC Jan 8, 2007 08:27 PM

        My husband is Bengali, so he does most of the ordering in Bangla while I run across the street to Trade Fair and their new Total yogurt section (hallelujah!), but I digress - I didn't even see the mughlai paratha on the menu (one reason why I wanted to post it here for everyone). I think their meat version is made with chicken, but I really prefer the veggie. It reminds me of the best scallion pancakes I've had at Chinese restaurants.
        And yes - this place used to be called Grameen. My husband is also a big fan of their haleem, but I like Alauddin's haleem better.

        1. re: JulesNYC
          Jim Leff Jan 8, 2007 08:52 PM

          two steps forward, one back. Tradefair no longer carries the kefir drinks from PA...just the Tuscan mass market stuff.

          1. re: Jim Leff
            welle Jan 8, 2007 09:56 PM

            There is a small russian store around the corner from Trade Fair (I forget the street), and they carry Kefir (at least by Lifeway) and the sweet butter 'Karowka' from PA.

            To JulesNYC, I've always thought that Mughlai paratha was always made with meat. Hence is the name - Mughlai, or Mogul.

            1. re: welle
              JulesNYC Jan 9, 2007 12:03 PM

              That's kind of what I thought, but we just order them as
              "mughlai paratha, vegetables only" and it does the trick.
              As I recall, the mughlai paratha that we had at Mina's only had
              egg and chiles.

      2. jen kalb Jan 8, 2007 03:19 PM

        whats a muglai paratha? Is it some kind of a wrap or is it a filled paratha? Im not familiar with this.

        9 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb
          Jim Leff Jan 8, 2007 03:49 PM

          paratha stuffed with egg and meat. parameters are pretty broad. this is often the priciest, last-listed bread option on north indian menus. Pushes the boundaries between bread and entree.

          1. re: Jim Leff
            howler Jan 8, 2007 04:46 PM

            you'd probably enjoy it the most as an entree, perhaps dabbing some chutney or raita. what you guys have to somehow get your hands on is a mutton frankie.

            1. re: Jim Leff
              jen kalb Jan 8, 2007 07:35 PM

              when I say stuffed, I mean the stuffing is actually inside the paratha dough , rather than spread on it or rolled with it.
              Im thinking I may have had this before from Mina and that its stuffed.

              If its rolled with the paratha, how is it diff from a kati roll?

              1. re: jen kalb
                howler Jan 8, 2007 08:25 PM

                stuffing inside, egg outside - usually

                1. re: howler
                  Jim Leff Jan 8, 2007 08:51 PM

                  I've never seen egg outside (in JH, it's usually stuffed inside with the meat). But, as you know, there are regional variations even in diaspora!

                  1. re: Jim Leff
                    howler Jan 8, 2007 09:33 PM

                    ah, you mean the chopped boiled egg?

                    the 'outside egg' is when you stuff the paratha with kheema and then, while you're making the paratha on the grill you slather beaten eggs on the top, let it cook, flip and do the same again.

                    mutton frankie is a bombay invention where the guy slathers beaten egg over a plain paratha (one side only) and then rolls tenderly moist heavenly spiced mutton in. extra onions, chili and a proprietary masala bring you to heaven.

                    somewhere in between a kati roll and a lamb shwarma sandwich.

                    1. re: howler
                      Helen F Jan 8, 2007 10:51 PM

                      I caught a glipse something eggy-looking at the next table at dinner last night at Jackson Diner. It looked like a cross between an omelette and a pancake, with some veggie-looking ingredients cooked into it. It was more than a foot in diameter, and around the thickness of a paratha. I got distracted by the conversation at our table and didn't see our neighbors dole it out, and I forgot to keep staring at it or at least ask a waiter what it was. Does anyone have an idea what I spied?

                      1. re: howler
                        missmasala Jan 8, 2007 10:58 PM

                        okay, now you are making me hungry. i've had those in bombay and they're great! I know you are in london, howler, but anyone know a place in the outer boroughs to get one?

                        1. re: missmasala
                          howler Jan 9, 2007 09:31 AM

                          never seen them outside bombay, sadly.

            2. The Engineer Jan 8, 2007 02:05 PM

              Jules NYC, I've sen your posts around and I respect your judgement... would you say this is worth a trip from NJ for a lover of Indian food? Also, is it take-out only or sit down too?

              2 Replies
              1. re: The Engineer
                JulesNYC Jan 8, 2007 08:21 PM

                Probably not worth a trip from New Jersey (especially if you have to wait in bridge or tunnel traffic!) - more like worth the trip from Long Island City...
                You can sit down there and I would do so to eat the paratha at its most crispy! BUT I want to emphasize that this is really a one-off for this place to me. For a whole meal, I would go to Spicy Mina, Maharaja (not the steam table) or Jackson Diner (I like the JD buffet).
                Would love to get recs for Indian / Bangladeshi in NJ - maybe you could post on the NJ board?

                1. re: JulesNYC
                  The Engineer Jan 9, 2007 05:13 PM

                  Worth the trip from LIC huh? My job sometimes brings me to Sunnyside yard (THAT kind of engineer) so maybe I'll check this joint out next time I'm close. I've made that special trip from NJ to Minas with disastrous results- musta been an "off" day, and Jackson Diner too... although I got hooked on JD way back when I was in Williamsburg and they were in the old spot.

                  Anyway thanks for the info, and here's a link:


              2. d
                david sprague Jan 8, 2007 01:57 PM

                i'll have to try the mughlai. since this place is literally at the end of my block, i default to it, and am usually left wanting (esp the chicken dishes). i do love me some mughlai, though, so maybe this evening's home cooking will have to wait a day

                1. j
                  JulesNYC Jan 8, 2007 10:51 AM

                  no - it's on 37th Avenue between 75th and 76th, next to Dunkin Donuts.
                  I've had the mughlai at Mina's and I think Desi Biryani's version is so much better (although I think Mina is better at everything else!)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JulesNYC
                    Jim Leff Jan 8, 2007 02:47 PM

                    Oh, ok, I know the place. It was previously Nepali, and switched fairly recently (waittress is from the hidden Bangladeshi place on 73rd street). I embarrassed myself there just after they made the switch. Middle aged indian couple was peering in, trying to decide whether to try it. I was walking along sidewalk,and explained that it was Nepali. They said "Oh! Interesting!" and went in. A few secs later, I spied them leaving hastily, figuring they should never trust gringos' word on South Asian cuisine. I went in and saw that it was all different. Oh well.

                    The problem with this place is the same as at all the other Bangladeshi restaurants in the area (which means just about all the restaurants in the area). They do a steam table without steam, where stuff sits all day at room temperature, and they nuke to rewarm. For various reasons, I don't feel this is the best way to do things. The chef is indeed better than average, though. Though certainly not worth a trip from Jersey.

                    If you don't like a rendition of something at Spicy Mina, go back and try same dish again - you'll get something totally different. This is why there's such mixed reports on the place. When chefs vary their versions so wildly, they tend to piss off everyone eventually. That's why restaurants have evolved over the years to stress predictability.

                    1. re: Jim Leff
                      Brian S Jan 8, 2007 04:35 PM

                      From the address, I think this place used to be Grameen, which did cook each dish to order, which did have great food, and which went out of business a few weeks after I found them. I wonder if the same chefs remain.

                      Sripraphai used to vary wildly sometimes, like Mina's does, ten years ago, depending on who was cooking. But it was always really good... just very different from the time before.

                  2. Jim Leff Jan 8, 2007 03:26 AM

                    Is that the indian/chinese on 37th between 71 and 72?

                    Mughlai Paratha is one of my favorite orders, btw, at Spicy Mina, though she makes it completely differently (like everything else) every time.

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