"It's good for you," the counterwoman said, surprising no one. Atop a display case bright with pastel-colored, cardamom-dusted, and foil-flecked Indian confections, a deep tray of panjeeri ($6, at $12 per pound) was the drabbest thing in sight. However, unlike many oddball foods that claim to supply men with a certain vigor, this Punjabi dish is regarded as a nutritional supplement for new mothers. Whole-wheat flour, sometimes with semolina, is fried in sugar and ghee; so too are various nuts, on occasion dried fruits, and a variety of seeds and seasonings. Ginger, for one, jumped out at me.
After sampling my stash, two other guys from our lunchtime group — who already had boxes of brightly caparisoned sweets in hand — stepped back in Maharaja for some panjeeri of their own. One fellow later emailed to tell me that he loved it over yogurt in the morning; my panjeeri didn't last even that long.
Previously: The countertop presented several variations on the Indian sweets called ladoo (Lah-doo, lately $7 to $8 per pound), each the size and roughly the shape of a golf ball, but with more heft. Boondi ladoo, made from chickpeas, were golden, nubbly, and a little greasy; I preferred the firmer, finer-grained besan ladoo (shown below), made from gram, or unhulled pulses — a rubric that comprises various beans and peas, as well as lentils and even lupins. Stand and deliver!
73-10 37th Ave. (73rd-74th Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens