Indian food business kicks off in Yellowknife this weekend

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A passionate project of a mother-daughter duo will begin serving food from the Bengal region of Southeast Asia to the Yellowknifers this weekend.

Saswati and Sayani Dirghangi open YK Bawarchi, which means “cook” in Urdu. They take orders until Thursday evening for a withdrawal between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and hope to open a delivery service eventually.

Her daughter Sayani collects orders via email and Facebook, which mother Saswati prepares at home.

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“My mom loves to feed people,” Sayani told Cabin Radio. “We did a lot of cooking. There are family friends who come to our house a lot – normally, when there were no restrictions – and she would cook just for them.

“People love my mom’s food because she cooks it in a simple way. Sometimes people are afraid that Indian food has a lot of spices, oil and ghee in it, but they try to cook it in such a way that it is something that we can consume on a daily basis.

“At the same time, she is trying to make it tasty, so we thought maybe people would like Indian food.”

Yellowknife hasn’t had a lot of Indian food options in recent years. The Saffron food truck was the only constant presence, while an Indian restaurant named The Ambassador opened in 2018, but closed three months later.

YK Bawarchi’s menu mainly features dishes from the Bengal region, although Sayani said it draws inspiration from various parts of India.

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Chicken and chickpea curries are available this weekend, as is puri, a type of fried dough. Upcoming dishes include Indian fish cakes, pakodas, and patisapta, a type of dessert.

Pakodas – also known as pakora – are a type of donut made from onion flour and chickpeas. Photo: Submitted

Once you can do it safely, Saswati and Sayani hope to start delivering their food to customers.

“We are very excited,” Sayani said. “We really want to know what the answer will be.

“A lot of people say to us, ‘Why don’t you open an Indian restaurant? I saw not only Indians wanting it, but everyone in Yellowknife. If it’s not very spicy and oily, people would be dying to have it.

“I hope everyone enjoys our food.”

Indian fish cakes. Photo: Submitted
Nonta Patisapta is an Indian dessert similar to a pancake. Photo: Submitted

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