When Palak and Sannat Ahuja first heard feedback about their ‘chaaps’ from vegan, vegetarian and meat-eater guests alike at Ahimsa, India’s first Vegan Festival back in 2020, they knew they were on to something. Today, two delivery spaces (Khar West & Andheri West) and 1 dine-in (Malad) outlet later, they’re all set to open Sadak Chaap in Mumbai’s start-up hub, Powai.
With a growing interest in plant-based lifestyles stemming from ethical and/or health concerns, India is slowly gaining ground when it comes to the ‘meatless meat’ industry. For the Ahujas, the idea was to make vegan and vegetarian food more accessible to everyone, including meat-eaters who enjoy the taste of Indian food. This meant recreating street favourites with punchy flavours that wouldn’t make one miss the meat and still be palatable for vegetarians. “It is about striking the right balance and creating something that will appeal to both, non-vegetarians and those hardcore vegetarians who are aversed to even the smell of meat,” says Palak about the idea behind the brand.
The ‘chaap,’ originally a Mughlai recipe, found its way onto the streets of North India, with an accidental vegan version in the form of ‘soya chaap.’ This served as inspiration for the duo behind Sadak Chaap, who have gone on to create unique recipes, 90% of which are or can be made dairy-free. The menu at Sadak Chaap is a delight for vegetarians who are jaded with the regular paneer and aloo dishes and for newly converted vegetarians and vegans who don’t have to compromise on taste or look hard for Indian options. Even hardcore meat eaters can find something that will appeal to their taste buds. “We can’t wait for more people to join the mock meat revolution with Sadak Chaap and experience magical textures and flavours that are so familiar, yet so exciting,” says Sannat.
On the menu, sizzling plates from the tandoor include options like the chef’s special Haryali Chaap, Brraa Chaap marinated with khada masalas, Achari Chaap and Afghani Chaap – succulent soya chaap chunks marinated and grilled with black pepper and malai. Other standout tandoor dishes include a Special Pineapple Tikka and chaaps with a Chinese twist – Chilli Garlic Chaap and Schezwan Chaap. The menu also offers variations of other Indian favourites like Amritsari Chole Kulcha, the ‘Unchicken Makhanwala’ and Vegan Chaap Tikka Biryani. For late night and crispy cravings, the menu features rolls and frankies like the Vegan Chaap Malai Roll, Butter Unchicken Roll, Mushroom Tikka Frankie and delicious versions of mainstream favourites like Vegan Unchicken Fingers.
The 25-seater self-serve outlet in Powai is a casual, laidback space where people can meet over mock meat, unwind and really experience authentic flavours in their vegan and vegetarian avatars. The owners have also added a fun twist to the dine-in space by introducing street favourites like Gola Cart and Pan Shop to make the experience memorable and exciting. As for the city not having enough vegan options, especially when it comes to Indian food, Sadak Chaap is excited to fill this gap by starting this brand new Powai ‘chaapter.’
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