Here's where to find best In­dian cui­sine in the cap­i­tal

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - WITH VANSHIKA SINGH

In­dian cui­sine is well-known for be­ing strongly fla­vored and spicy.

What is less known is that In­dian cui­sine is ac­tu­ally made up of a va­ri­ety of dis­tinct re­gional cuisines, which all em­ploy dif­fer­ent recipes, in­gre­di­ents and spices.

For in­stance, the world-fa­mous In­dian dish, but­ter chicken, is orig­i­nally from Delhi. It is made by mar­i­nat­ing chicken meat in yogurt, spices and le­mon juice, and then cook­ing it in a tan­door, a tra­di­tional clay oven that is heated with char­coal and gives a smoky fla­vor. The chicken is then sim­mered in a but­tery curry sauce.

The dish is said to have been first made spon­ta­neously, when a chef de­cided to use up some left­over chicken by heat­ing it in a to­mato gravy, rich in but­ter and cream. The dish is now usu­ally con­sumed with but­ter naan, a flat­bread cooked in an oven or a tan­door with lots of but­ter, or rice.

Ro­gan Josh is an­other fa­mous In­dian dish, but this one has its roots far from Delhi, in the north­ern prov­ince of Kash­mir. The dish con­sists of lamb braised in a thick and deep-red col­ored pi­quant gravy, with gar­lic, gin­ger and aro­matic spices.

Tan­doori chicken, which orig­i­nated in the city of Peshawar, now in Pak­istan, is pop­u­lar all over In­dia and abroad too. The chicken meat is mar­i­nated in yogurt, gin­ger-gar­lic paste, honey and spices for sev­eral hours, and then cooked in a tan­door.

Malai kofta, a dish orig­i­nat­ing in the north of In­dia, is a good pick for veg­e­tar­i­ans. Malai means cream and kof­tas are usu­ally balls made of a mix­ture of veg­eta­bles like mashed pota­toes, car­rots, cab­bage, beans, peas and In­dian pa­neer cheese. Th­ese balls are sim­mered in a thick-tangy sauce and then the fla­vor is toned down with the ad­di­tion of lots of heavy cream. It can also be served to veg­e­tar­i­ans as a sub­sti­tute for meat­balls.

For dessert, try a gu­lab ja­mun, a sweet pop­u­lar all over In­dia which is pre­pared by heat­ing milk over a low flame for a long time un­til most of the wa­ter con­tent has evap­o­rated. The milk residue is kneaded into balls and then deep fried in a low heat. They are then drenched in

a sug­ary syrup fla­vored with green car­damom, rose­wa­ter, saf­fron, and kewra and can be served hot or cold.

All of that can be washed down with Masala chai, which is a pop­u­lar In­dian tea bev­er­age made by brew­ing black tea with a mix­ture of aro­matic In­dian spices and herbs.

The list of fa­mous In­dian dishes is much longer, and much more can be found on the menus of Kyiv’s In­dian restau­rants. The Kyiv Post checked out some of the Ukrainian cap­i­tal’s best In­dian eater­ies.

Hi­malaya

Estab­lished in 1997, Hi­malaya is the old­est In­dian restau­rant in Kyiv. It is dec­o­rated with sub­tle wooden carv­ings, giv­ing a clas­si­cal In­dian ap­pear­ance, along with paint­ings of tra­di­tional fa­mous In­dian sights on the walls. In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic and the dim light­ing make the restau­rant’s am­biance very sooth­ing.

Hi­malaya of­fers a va­ri­ety of au­then­tic In­dian food and is fa­mous for its samosas — a fried-tri­an­gu­lar pas­try made with a sa­vory fill­ing of spiced pota­toes and nuts. Pop­u­lar ap­pe­tiz­ers in­clude reshmi ke­bab, or bone­less chicken in cashew sauce, roasted in tan­door, as well as chicken tikka and pa­neer tikka — cubes of pa­neer mar­i­nated in gar­lic-gin­ger paste and In­dian spices, and then roasted in a tan­door.

Also on the menu is a de­li­cious mut­ton dopy­aaza — lamb with onion and cap­sicum in a spicy gravy, and ro­gan josh. Some pop­u­lar veg­e­tar­ian dishes in­clude sham sav­era, or balls of cheese stuffed with nuts and dried fruits in a thick gravy, and sha­hee pa­neer — pa­neer cheese served with to­mato-onion gravy. Hi­malaya also serves de­li­cious gu­lab ja­muns. There is no pork and beef on the menu. It is one of the most mod­er­ately priced In­dian restau­rants in Kyiv, and it also of­fers de­liv­ery.

Prices: samosa — Hr 72, chicken tikka — Hr 148, mut­ton dopy­aza — Hr 162, gu­lab ja­mun — Hr 72, masala chai — Hr 48

80 Ve­lyka Va­sylkivska St. 11 a.m.— 11 p. m.

Su­tra

Su­tra is a pricier In­dian restau­rant with lav­ish de­sign. The restau­rant is called Su­tra be­cause its walls are lav­ishly carved with sculp­tures de­pict­ing the art of love ac­cord­ing to the an­cient In­dian book “Kama Su­tra.” Some walls also fea­ture mar­ble and carved In­dian gods, and he­roes of an­cient books and le­gends.

Each wall is like an ex­hibit in a mu­seum of In­dian cul­ture. One of them, called the Wall of the Ful­fill­ment of Dreams, has small opaque glass doors, lit from be­hind, each of which has a statue of an In­dian god hid­den be­hind them. The god be­hind the door a client chooses to open is sup­posed to tell their for­tune.

This place of­fers de­li­cious but­ter chicken, ro­gan josh, malai kofta and lamb spinach — mut­ton cooked with fresh spinach, fresh chilies, onion sauce and cream. Seafood is also on the menu. Gu­lab ja­mun and ga­jar halwa, or a car­rot-based sweet pud­ding, are Su­tra’s most pop­u­lar In­dian desserts. Home de­liv­ery is also avail­able.

Prices: Malai kofta — Hr 275, lamb spinach — Hr 395, but­ter chicken — Hr 250, gu­lab ja­mun — Hr 200, ga­jar halwa — Hr 200

3 Pro­viantska St. 5 p.m.— 11 p.m.

New Bombay Palace

Estab­lished in 2001, this restau­rant fea­tures lux­u­ri­ous hand­crafted fur­ni­ture brought from In­dia. They also of­fer the out­door seat­ing for guests.

The restau­rant of­fers ex­otic In­dian food pre­pared by In­dian chefs. Some of the most pop­u­lar dishes are dal makhani — black lentils cooked with toma­toes and cream, chicken tikka masala — roasted chicken in to­mato gravy with In­dian spices, and but­ter chicken.

New Bombay Palace of­fers pork­based dishes, as well as some seafood and Chi­nese dishes. Mut­ton seekh ke­bab, or minced mut­ton cooked on skew­ers with In­dian spices, is also on the menu. The restau­rant is also known for its mixed tikka plat­ter, which is an as­sort­ment of tan­doori chicken, pork and fish. They also of­fer de­li­cious gu­lab ja­muns. The restau­rant is a bit pricey and does not of­fer beef. Home de­liv­ery is avail­able.

Prices: But­ter chicken — Hr 239, ro­gan josh — Hr 239, mixed tikka plat­ter — Hr 499, dal makhani — Hr 209, gu­lab ja­mun (two pieces) — Hr 150

33A Druzhby Nar­o­div Blvd. 12 p.m.— 11 p.m.

Sar­avsari Café

This newly opened café, with a chef orig­i­nally from In­dia, is a vi­brant place as colour­ful as a Sari, the tra­di­tional In­dian at­tire for women. The place has a very re­laxed at­mos­phere and friendly ser­vice. The restau­rant is also not ex­pen­sive and pet-friendly.

Sar­avsari serves a va­ri­ety of In­dian dishes, such as veg­etable or chicken samosas, veg­e­tar­ian and chicken kathi rolls, ei­ther with pa­neer or with chicken and veg­eta­bles, chicken tikka, sha­hee pa­neer, but­ter chicken, and more. They also of­fer gu­lab ja­mun and kulfi — In­dian ice-cream with nuts. A va­ri­ety of bev­er­ages like beer, wine, lemon­ade, co­conut drinks, and the tra­di­tional yo­gurt­based drink Lassi are also served. A take­away op­tion is avail­able.

Prices: Veg­etable or chicken samosa — Hr 77, veg kathi roll — Hr 77, pa­neer/chicken biryani — Hr 107, but­ter chicken — Hr 107, ga­jar halwa — Hr 57, masala tea — Hr 47

4B Si­chovykh Strilt­siv St. 1 p. m. — 11 p.m.

A waiter serves tra­di­tional In­dian dishes at New Bombay Palace restau­rant in Kyiv on June 21. (Kostyan­tyn Ch­er­nichkin)

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