Is there an equivalent to chicken soup for the soul for our vegetarian friends? While Mai Colachi Indo/Pak cuisine in Sugar Land is certainly carnivore friendly, it prompted me to ask myself this question.
By my lights, the answer is Tadka Dal. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying a lentil soup, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. If you don’t have a high tolerance for spicy food, you might understandably have a hard time ordering Indian or Pakistani food. But lentils are mild and an easy way to assuage that fear.
Tadka Dal, typical of South Asian cooking, will often have garlic, coriander and cumin, but I didn’t find any of the flavors to be overpowering. The lentils are first boiled and then the rest of the ingredients are sauteed slowly with tomatoes. The result is a savory and smooth soup-like mixture that is delicious mixed with rice or used as a dip for naan, an Indian flatbread.
I went with my reliable favorite, garlic naan, and you can also choose between butter naan, Roghani naan (with sesame seeds) or Kalongi naan (with onion seeds). The garlic naan is more commonly served with Indian dishes, while Roghani or Kalongi are found in Pakistani and Afghan cuisine. Mai Colachi’s naan has a crispy crust, which I’m not usually a fan of, but it was soft enough that I still enjoyed it.
For first-timers, try out the Gola (beef) kebab ($9.95), Samosa Bites ($5.95) or Chicken Tikka Boti ($9.95). Kebabs are seasoned with herbs and chili flakes. Samosas are Indian dumplings stuffed with chicken or beef.
Mai Colachi isn’t cheap, but portions here are large enough for two or even to bring home for leftovers.
If you have room for dessert, Mughal Kheer, a traditional rice pudding ($4.95) or Colachi Fried Ice Cream ($5.95) both appear to be promising options.
Mai Colachi Indo/Pak Cuisine
Address: 15425 Southwest Fwy., Sugar Land
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday
Entrée prices: $9.95-$18.95
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: Vegetarian
Star of the show: Tadka Dal