Tandoori flavors at the Taste of India

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Tandoori Chicken

I HAD always planned to try out the Taste of India ever since it moved to a new location in Garapan last year, but the plan remained a plan, until last Saturday when I was out looking for a place to have lunch with a friend.

As I entered the restaurant I held my breath, preparing for the familiar smell of curry to greet my nostrils, but there was none. There was no lunch buffet and only a couple of tables were occupied.We headed straight to a corner table for two next to the glass wall and we were greeted by restaurant manager Aji Thomas Mandumpala who handed us menus. My companion immediately decided to try Gobi 65 — deep fried cauliflower coated with spiced batter and served with catsup for dipping.I browsed through the Tandoori Treasures section and decided I wanted the tandoori chicken, one of the must-try dishes at the Taste of India. Aji recommended a rich thick sauce in which I could dip my bread but I decided to have my chicken on a sizzling platter instead.
The chicken was marinated overnight in mughlai masala and yogurt and then grilled over charcoal in a tandoor oven. Our order arrived very soon, the half chicken sliced into four for $8.95, and served with vegetables sizzling on a platter that attracted the attention of the other diners.The smell was heavenly and it required patience to wait for it to cool down a bit before I could dig into it.IMG_4396I also wanted to order the Naan from the Indian bread menu but Thomas said it would take a long time to prepare in the oven but other breads were readily available: Paratha, Chappathi, Bhattura and Poori.I ordered one Chappathi, an Indian flatbread which was cut into quarters on a plate.
Dining at the Taste of India won’t be complete without the Indian Masala tea which you can order hot or cold. The pouring ceremony was a sight to behold. It required a lot of skill and I held my breath as Aji held the teapot high above and skillfully poured the tea straight into a cup.
The other Tandoori Treasures are chicken tikka, tandoori shrimp, fish tikka, and chicken kabab — all within the $10.95 to $12.95 range.
Start off with garden fresh green salad or, if you like it hot, order the Masala Papad, a typical Indian crispy fried appetizer with crushed pepper corn on top. For soup, try the mulluguthani, a Indian soup based on lentils and seasoned with cumin, turmeric, garlic and garnished with fresh coriander leaves. There’s also the tomato-based, slightly spiced Indian soup.
Other appetizers are Chicken 65 — deep fried chicken cubes marinated in spiced Indian sauce; Samosa or pyramid shaped stuffed with chicken, beef or vegetables; and Pakoras, deep fried chicken or vegetable dip in seasoned chickpeas
For curry lovers, there’s butter chicken masala, chicken makhani, kadai chicken, chicken do pyaza and chicken spinach.
There’s also beef, lamb, pork, fish and shrimp specialties.
The Taste of India offers vegetarians a selection of dishes below the $10 price range: channa masala or chick pease with north Indian masala, vegetables chettinadu or fresh vegetables sautéed with onion masala and tamarind pulp, aloogobi or potato and cauliflower blended with light Indian masala
Try the beef or chicken biriyani, long grain rice and spiced lamb or chicken prepared in south Indian style — a full meal by itself.
Cap your meal with Lassi: “a mind-blowing yogurt-based Indian drink available in flavors of mango, sweet, salty or plain.”
Kids’ menu is also IMG_4353available at the Taste of India. Try the cheese naan, chicken nuggets, veggie noodles and egg fried rice for less than $5.
At the Taste of India, you also get to listen to Indian music or watch a movie on the LCD screens mounted on the walls.IMG_4416
The Taste of India can seat up to 60 persons and is open for lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $8.95 per person and ala carte dinner Monday to Friday. The Tandoori Night dinner buffet is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays for $10.95 and ala carte on Sundays. The restaurant accepts reservations for private parties such as birthdays, weddings and other occasions. Credit cards are accepted.
For inquiries or reservation, visit the Taste of India in Garapan across from Jonny’s Bar or call 233-8448.
First published at the Marianas Variety HERE
– See more at: http://www.mvariety.com/special-features/out-to-eat/58873-tandoori-flavors-at-the-taste-of-india

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