The Stellar Indian Street Food at Badmaash Fairfax Is Steeped in Family History

The dahi poori is a must-try dish

If you happen to ask Nakul and Arjun Mahendro, the brotherly duo behind L.A.’s coolest Indian gastropub, about the best dishes on the menu at Badmaash, prepare for a dose of family history.

Whether it’s the lamb burger (inspired by kabobs sandwiched between buns at backyard barbecues growing up), their father’s Punjabi-style fried catfish bites, or their mother’s recipe for saag paneer, nearly every creation has a sentimental backstory. Powered by the culinary prowess of veteran chef Pawan Mahendro, Nakul and Arjun’s dad, the team’s second location, on Fairfax, continues to explore Indian staples from a personal point of view.

One favorite from a recent lunch: dahi poori, or what the menu describes as “crispy yogurt puffs.” Made from fried semolina crisps filled with stewed chickpeas, whipped yogurt, sweet tamarind, and mint chutney, it’s a spot-on example of chaat, an immensely popular category of street food that combines savory, sweet, sour, and spicy into one crunchy package.

Nakul recalls eating the snack during trips to India; these days, on a street-wear-laden strip of Fairfax, it provides an opening salvo for a curry- and tandoori-filled feast, just like the Mahendro family did it back in the day.

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