Madam - it's not take out, it's a parcelI may well be addicted to dahl makhani.

And probably to tarka dahl too.

In fact it’s probably safe to say I am. There’s a fabulous Punjabi dhaba round the corner from me that delivers the stuff and my god it’s good.

And as with all Indian food, if it’s good today – it’s going to be even better tomorrow, once all the spices have soaked in and infused everything. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So, I always over order and take some home with me.

This means asking to have the remnants of your meal wrapped up and taken out as a ‘parcel’. That’s the magic word – parcel. Without that you’re just left indicating the food foolishly saying ‘to go?’ and getting blank looks.

But armed with the magic word ‘parcel’ it is whisked away and parceled up for you. Often in a Baroque arrangement of containers, masking tape and bags in the hope of avoiding spillage. This grand aim usually fails – spillage is best attained with lids that fit after all. And we seem to rather fail on that basic element in India.

When I used to go out to work – rather than work from the sofa as now – my fridge was happily full of the most delicious left overs from lunch maturing to the perfect curry flavour. Now as I’m mostly in of a lunchtime, I’m either eating home made stuff (made by the fair, but rather average, hand of my maid) or drinking smoothies.

So if I want decent dahl for lunch I have to have it delivered. There are many frustrating things about India – but lack of change is one of them. However my favourite dhaba, not only has great food, speedy delivery.. but get this, they also always bring the correct change with them.

This is very exciting. And they’re aware this is rather special.

When they hand the food over and annouce your food is 425 rupees (yes I order a lot of dhal in one go) – and you flourish a 500 rupee note at them. They do not do what many delivery people do here – the do not flinch and then look blank and say ‘no change, Madam’. As though stood in your bare feet at the door of your home you could magically produce more change from the very air around you.

No, this fine establishment, sends out upstanding men who when faced with producing 75 rupees of change – have the money to hand.

Oh yes.

They produce it much as a magician might get the unexpected rabbit from a hat. A small graceful movement, a winning smile. And there it is: change. Correct change. Without haggling.

It’s really rather something.

No wonder I order from them often. And always over tip.

I’m just too excited about both good food and actual change not to.


If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not check out these very tenuously related posts:

Too many fruits, Madam
Green almonds
India, we need to talk

And of course, do let me know your thoughts and comments below. Do you have a dahl addiction? If so do let me know…