Recipes are written in a language all their own, leading amateur cooks to confuse a pinch for a dash or forget that the chef's word for "water" is "salt." Trust a native speaker with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Indian cuisine at The Dhaba in Tempe.
Versed in Punjabi cuisine, The Dhaba's staff works together to procure an authentic menu and a casual dining area where eaters can fork through homestyle Indian dishes peppered with vegetables or pieces of lamb, chicken, goat, or fish. Taste buds can patiently recheck arrival times for spoons carrying bites of the Kashmiri chicken tikka masala, which the cooks marinate with spices and yogurt, bake inside a tandoor, and blanket with masala sauce and cream ($13). Much like a clown nose can fill in for a tennis ball during particularly tense matches, the Lahori malai kofta’s paneer dumplings serve as a vegetarian substitute for meatballs alongside potatoes and veggies ($13). Pieces of handmade naan ($2) and tandoori roti ($3) help guests to wax plates clean of the Dhaba lamb curry's boneless lamb cubes and blend of spices ($14).
Named after the friendly, casual eateries of India's Punjab province, The Dhaba explores the rich flavors of South Asia, including influences from Iran and Afghanistan. Guided by knowledgeable servers and a vast menu, guests embark upon tasting treks that highlight fresh, seasonal soups and snacks inspired by streetside food carts and rickshaws fashioned from giant samosas. Halal meats such as chicken, goat, and lamb marinate in flavorful curries before basking in tandoori clay ovens, and a hearty lineup of meat-free entrees lures vegetarians with spinach dumplings, paneer, and spiced chickpeas. Instead of hibernating in a rock-candy cave, sweet teeth flock toward Gajrela, a traditional fudge made with carrots, cashews, milk, and raisins.