With Mithai meaning Indian sweets, Koly – the lady behind new takeaway business, Oxford Mithai Express – had originally planned on creating sweets. However, friends of Koly’s encouraged her to also include home-cooked curries and savoury snacks. After trying out a takeaway from Oxford Mithai Express recently, I’m glad they did!
Whilst we have many South Asian takeaways available in Oxford, Bangladeshi options are a bit scarcer. So it’s great to see a bit of newness come on to the scene. Especially one that’s able to cut through that noise with a home-cooked, personal touch and narrative to it.
Mithai’s style is home-cooked Bangladeshi…
… mixed with South Indian traditions and Koly’s own blend of secret spices. All she was able to disclose to me was that it contains a certain amount of coriander, curry and cumin powder and garam masala! However, she did say it’s a must-have for all her savoury dishes and snacks.
Koly’s husband arrived at my house to kindly deliver the goods from their home in North Oxford. Keeping nice and warm in an insulated bag, I was quick to unpack and dish up the food. As it’s a fair drive to Kidlington, whilst all dishes were warm, I did give it all a quick reheat.
Between two people, we had:
Chicken Pakora to start, Coconut Prawn curry, No Onion Mutton Bhuna, 1 large rice, Tarka Daal and the Matar Paneer. And to finish – Motichur Laddu and Kunafa.
The Chicken Pakora (£6 for 6) was delicious. Tender in the middle and crispy when I bit into the flour and spiced coat mixture. Truth be told, we ate these hastily while mains heated up, leaving us only one each with the curries! We were off to a good start…
The Sweet and Spicy Coconut Prawn curry (£9) would’ve been a strong favourite, combining two of my favourite ingredients, but the coconut wasn’t as strong as I’d have liked. Saying that, no corners were cut with king prawns – big, fresh and juicy, just how we like ‘em! This one’s a more traditional dish from Bangladesh, which Koly grew up eating, and with fond memories from her childhood.
The Tarka Daal (£5) consisted of three types of lentils – red, yellow split and mung. The lentils are all cooked together with caramelised garlic and dry red chilli. Rich in colour, flavour and texture, this Tarka Daal is a must side dish for all the obvious reasons; the main one being its comforting qualities on a cold wintery night.
The Mutton Bhuna (£8) was absolutely delightful… On the bone, cooked in a tomato-based curry sauce, with a fusion of authentic Bangladeshi and Indian spices. Generally, I’m a huge fan of goat, and this mutton dish felt like a lot of love had gone into it. Especially that special, flavourful blend of secret spices, which I’m desperate to get my hands on!
I was delighted to receive the Matar Paneer (£5) as an additional surprise – green peas cooked lightly with roasted paneer, coconut milk and mixed spices. A lovely creamy accompaniment to the main dishes, and a must if you love paneer like I do.
All dishes were pretty mild if you don’t like spice; but as a lover of spice myself, I’d have enjoyed a little more.
Now on to dessert, the very reason behind Oxford Mithai Express…
I’d never tried Laddu and Kunafa before. The former is a common Indian sweet and loved for years. Sometimes chopped nuts are added, so Koly kindly made two versions with and two versions without. Made from gram flour, sugar syrup and Kola’s homemade mawa or khoya (this is a popular mixture used to make many different desserts – milk, milk powder and ghee), they had an almost marzipan taste to them with a melt in the mouth texture. They weren’t too sweet or sickly, making them the perfect little spherical treats to tuck into after a heavy meal.
The latter, Kunafa, is made from a rich homemade custard, with vermicelli and lots of nuts. It really was the type of indulgent pudding you want to dive into headfirst with a giant spoon. Especially on a cold, winters night in the midst of a depressing pandemic! Again, not too sweet but if you’re a custard lover, then this one’s most definitely for you.
In short, I’d totally order this again.
If you’re sick of all of the takeaway places over the first two lockdowns, I suggest you give Oxford Mithai Express a whirl. Their warm, loving, home-cooked dishes really are like a hug from the inside; and flavoursome enough to jazz up what will be a dull few weeks.
Koly offers delivery and collection, requiring at least a day’s notice in advance of when you’d like to eat. You can also just order sweet boxes if you’d rather. However, as she’s now home-schooling, Koly is currently only taking orders for Saturdays.
When deliberating on how much to order, this was the perfect amount for two people. We can certainly chow down a fair amount of food, but best to have too much than not enough! They’re super accommodating too, so if you’ve any dietary requirements let them know beforehand and they’ll cater to your needs.
We dined as guests of Oxford Mithai Express, all views remain our own.