Black, Pink, And Yellow Chum-Chum, Oh, My!

Pabla India Grill - Indian Cuisine (4 Stars)

Chris and Ryan left on separate two-week vacations, which left me bored, lonely, and completely up to my own devices. In general, that means I want to eat something and I had been dying for some good Indian food. In searching for a place to eat, I realized I had ordered in from three different Indian restaurants via, so I set out in search of one that I knew existed somewhere amidst the throng of store fronts in the Tukwila/Southcenter area.

Thankfully, it wasn't long before I stumbled upon Pa
bla India Grill. Despite having a few locations in the Seattle metropolitan area (including a fully vegetarian and Kosher restaurant in Renton), their family business actually began over 60 years ago in India.

I parked, got out of the car, and walked up to the windows to see if they had a menu posted. Somehow I completely missed the gigantic, across-the-bottom-of-every-window, sign that says, "Buffet Served 7 Days a Week". Had I know that before entering, I would have been more successful in avoiding the ridiculous need to feed that tempts my very soul each time I see vats of delicious smelling food taunting me from steaming serving hotel serving trays. WHEW!

Although buffets do not lend themselves to good picture taking, mostly due to the fact that you pile your plate high wi
th a dozen offerings each time you pass through the service tables (and because I'm really just not gifted in the picture-taking department), they do provide the fantastic opportunity to try a ton of dishes in whatever quantity your heart desires, and spend next to nothing in the process. The buffet here is under $10 and more than worth the "Hamilton".

Starting at the top right of the photo and moving clockwise, here are the 11 dishes I tried:

Pabla Shahi Paneer. The paneer was tender, but firm, and so delicious. It was found swimming in peppers, onions, and tomatoes and I could not get enough of this vegetarian offering.

Mixed Vegetable Curry. Carrots, peas, and other vegetables were simmered with a delicious sauce and plenty of spices.

Garlic Nan. They do offer non-garlic nan, but really...what's the point? The nan was fresh, flaky and crispy, and charred just enough to really bring out the flavor of the bread.

4. Saag Paneer. Okay, I admit: I'm addicted to paneer! Anytime I see those white triangles or cubes bobbing in a savory sauce, I can't help but order it. Besides, with that much spinach and broccoli along with spices bringing a medium-heat, it's impossible to go wrong.

5. Pulao Rice. The saffron flavored rice is cooked with peas and various spices. It was moist, well-cooked, warm, and earthy.

Chicken Masala. The white meat chicken was tender and the spices and I didn't leave a drop of sauce on the plate (sauce really is the absolute best thing about Indian food!).

7. Vegetable Pakora. The mixed vegetables are deep-fried "fritters" and include potatoes, cauliflower, and eggplant. The breading was perhaps a bit too thick as the vegetable pieces were small and overwhelmed by the batter. You can definitely taste each of the separate vegetables, though the finish was oily.

Punjabi Vindaloo (I think). The potatoes and tomatoes are cooked with vinegar and spices leaving the potatoes extremely tender.

9. Tandoori Chicken. Unfortunately, this is mostly dark meat and served on the bone, but I did scoop up the onions and they were quite good. Tender, but still a bit firm, the bright red tandoori onions were smoky and delicious.

10. Well, you've got me here. Normally I visit the restaurant's website if my memory becomes fuzzy, but in this case they've only listed their vegetarian dishes and haven't updated to include Tukwila's menu. It was Chicken Something Or Other. It was not as tender as the Chicken Tikki Masala, but the sauce was more buttery and creamy.

Vegetable Samosa. The flaky, crispy dough is packed full of well-spiced potatoes and peas. I dare you to eat just one! These are possibly the best samosas I've had and are well worth the taste.

Overall the spices were a smidge beyond "mild" with the Pabla Shahi Paneer and the Mixed Vegetable Curry actually being more spicy than I had expected for a regular buff
et. I really enjoyed the buffet and completely forgot to check out the entire second table of cold foods (desserts, yogurts, sauces, fruit, and salads).

On my way out of the restaurant, I passed by a display case stuffed with vibrant, beautiful sweets. I had only experienced Indian sweets once and that was a few years ago when a team member had been home to India and brought us
back some homemade goodies. I had no idea what the names of the sweets were, so I just pointed to everything on the top shelf and asked for one of each. The owner wrote down the names on the back of my Grand Opening Coupon that I could use on my next visit.

Starting on the left of the take-home dessert box:

Rasgula, or Indian Milk Balls, is a dessert made by adding lemon juice to boiling milk to separate the whey and solids (a.k.a. making "paneer"). The solids are then drained and mixed with cardamom, then later boiled in sugar syrup. These are quite tasty, only lightly sweet, but a good bit more firm than a donut hole because of the cheese base.

2. The other three sweets are various forms of
Chum-Chum and are named for their color: black, yellow, and pink. They use the same initial process as the Rasgula above (create paneer), but also have a filling of cream, powdered sugar, and Khoya (think less moist ricotta cheese). The black has the most distinct flavor which was sweet and mild (a bit like a dense, plain donut), while the yellow and pink both tasted of banana to me. All three use the same filling and are sprinkled with nuts.

Bottom line: For accessible, delicious, inexpensive Indian food, I'd certainly suggest Pabla as the place to go, especially if you're at all hesitant about trying Indian cuisine.

Pabla India Grill on Urbanspoon


Ann said...

Ahh.. I love the way you narrate them.. pics are so tempting specially the sweets. Chum Chum.. I'm craving for them now!

Jared K. Wengert said...


I revisited this restaurant for dinner with my best friend recently. We tried Kheer this time instead of the Chum-Chums and it was excellent. The review should be up later this week. :)

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