Laden with Ambala goodies, we set off to the Lahore Kebab House (081-905 0930) in Kingsbury. This is the only branch of the legendary 'East London' Lahore Kebab House (071-481 9737). Inside, the atmosphere, reverberating as it always does with the quawwalis of Nusrat Fatahullah Khan, is not unlike a roadside cafe in the Punjab. We fight to get a seat, eventually secure the attention of the harassed waiters, and make our order. Seekh kebabs and tandoori roti for everyone, followed by karrai chicken and karrai karela. Karrai is a small wok used for cooking the food. Karela (bittergourd) must be the ugliest and most neglected vegetable in the world. It requires considerable skill to cook and the Lahore chefs have an absolute monopoly. And to drink: sweet lassi for the parents and passion fruit for the kids.
Back at our Colindale abode, we compete with each other in devouring the Ambala sweets. In the aftermath, the elders nurse their stomachs while the children go to bed.
Ziauddin Sardar is the author of Muhammad for Beginners (Icon Books, pounds 7.99) and presenter of 'Islamic Conversations', Sat 12.30pm, Channel 4.
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