YOUR GUIDE TO INDIAN FOOD & CHAAT BHAVAN
So often Indian food is misrepresented. An advid food connoisseur, I always cringe at the misrepresentation I see. There are many Indian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area that don’t hold to a standard of high-quality cuisine, and replace authenticity for weak substitutions such as cream, excessive grease and poor cooking methods.
Take cream for example, an ingredient that is generously applied in some restaurants– but sparingly used in real traditional Indian cuisine. In my experience, some restaurants that load their dishes with heavy cream and grease– are trying to hide the fact that the food they serve is old and no longer fresh (be careful of buffets)!
Why the shortcuts when cooking you ask? At it’s core, cooking Indian food is time consuming and lengthy. To prepare it the right way it simply takes time, patience and applying the right cooking methods — no short cuts! Many restaurants, out of impatience or negligence, do take short-cuts, and their neglect is obvious when you take the first bite! With that in mind, when I find an Indian restaurant that holds to a standard of high quality and authenticity, I make it a point to give them recognition!
Chaat Bhavan in Dublin is an example of a great Indian restaurant. Although it’s vegetarian, one bite of their entrees will leave your taste buds screaming for more — and trust me you won’t leave feeling hungry!
The most challenging part of dining at this restaurant can be the menu. Since many of the dishes are foreign to the American palete, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when deciding what to order. If your not familiar with Indian Cuisine but want to taste some delicious and authetic cuisine at Chaat Bhavan – I’ve put together a list of my favorite dishes to eliminate the “guess work.” Hopefully this will make your first visit stressfree and enjoyable.
WORDS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Paneer – Indian Cottage Cheese
Daal – Lentil
Dahi – Yogurt
Paneer is like an Indian Cottage cheese and can be prepared different ways. This dish was breaded, deep fried and then served with two chutneys (dipping sauce).
Freshly mixed vegetables that were battered, deep fried and served with chutney.
MAKKI KI ROTI & SAAG
A thin pan cooked yellow maize flour bread. This item tastes great with Saag, a staple in North Indian Villages of Punjab and cities in the North. Saag is a hand-blended mix of healthy mustard greens, spinach, collard greens and loads of butter. It is tempered and made with onions, garlic, ginger, and green chilies. A must try during the cold winters in India, these greens are seasoned and relished by many! This dish can literally take hours to make!
DAHI BATETA SEV POORI
Small deep fried roundels made semolina and wheat flour are stuffed with yoghurt, bean sprouts, tamarind, mint chutneys, pink rock salt, small diced potatoes, freshly cooked black channa (akin to fava beans) and topped with sev (fried little noodle like snack made with chick pea flour).
This dish is served cold and must be eaten right away or else it will turn soggy. Don’t cut this dish into little pieces. Best if consumed in one bite as it is an explosion of flavors in your mouth!
Deep fried and leavened, this bread (basic ingredients similar to Naan bread) must be consumed within an hour of preperation. But don’t worry about waste– it’s thin, flaky and just overall amazing — I doubt you’ll have much leftover! Goes best with spicy Garbanzo bean curry (Popularly known in the north as Choley Bhaturey). One of my favorite street foods in the North of India.
Baby potatoes made in a sauce of tomatoes, fennel seeds, cashew paste. Extensive preparation of a simple ingredient like potato but a staple dish in Kashmir. Aromatic flavors will hit your senses on your first bite.
Chholey (In Punjabi) or garbanzo curry. Garbanzos are cooked with a bouquet garni of aromatic spices and tea leaves to give it the dark color. Then mixed with an exciting blend of onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and jalapenos and tempered at the end with ghee (clarified butter). Goes great with Bhatura and Naan.
Popular in India and America, you can’t go wrong with warm, soft Indian bread. It tastes great when dipped in the Indian mint chutney the restaurant serves.
If you’re interested in learning about other Indian cuisine, or want to know where else you can find GOOD Indian restaurants in the Bay Area, feel free to give me a call. Are you looking to relocate or move within the San Francisco Bay Area? I’d love to help.