Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sona and a Wedding

My friend Shiv Kumar, chef and owner of Sona Restaurant here in Winchester, just got back from a month in India where he got married. So Ann and I just had to go visit him to see the wedding photos and while we were there, have a spot of dinner. We are waiting for his wife Sunitha to get her visa to come to the States. No doubt it will be a big party when she gets here!

Channa Chat, What's not to Like?
When I eat Indian food, I most appreciate the non-meat dishes. There is something about Indian vegetarian cooking that makes me happy, probably because it is such a mainstream part of their culture and is never treated as second-class food. And no doubt also in part because it is based largely on dal (beans, legumes, and lentils) some of my very favorite comfort foods. Speaking of legumes, one of Ann's favorite (and mine too) starters is channa chat, a classic Indian street food, and she ordered it for us. I think what I like best about channa chat is the chat masala made with amchur (powdered mango) that gives the dish its sweet and sour component.

Heywards 5000, a Nice Change from Taj
Even though it belongs to the SABMiller portfolio, Haywards 5000 made an appearance on our table, and I was happy to see it. Our local Miller distributor seems to have some difficulties keeping it in the warehouse. At 7.5% though, knocking back a deuce of this can be a bit work. In any case, it's a good change up from Taj Mahal which tastes a bit cheap and vegetal at times.

Saag or Liquified Chile Powder?
After the channa chat, we didn't order dinner; Shiv ordered for us and he knows my predisposition for vegetarian fare, so out came a saag for me. You might note the brownish deviation from its usual deep green color; that's from all the chile powder they added to it trying to hurt me. It didn't work.

Murgh Makhani
For Ann, Shiv sent a dish of murgh makhani, chicken in tomato-cream sauce because he knows she likes it. I really can't do dishes with all that much cream, but I noticed that they held way back on it. Thanks guys!

Makhani Dal
And for me, no Indian dinner is complete without dal and some bread to scoop it up. So I really appreciated this dish of makhani dal along with the basket of regular naan (on the left) and spicy naan on the right in the photo below. Though, Shiv, if you're reading this, I really do like the much less expensive and more plebian dal tadka better. It's less rich and for me, more comforting; I like toor dal and moong dal slightly better than urad dal.

Double the Naan, Double the Pleasure!
After the dinner dishes were cleared away, we looked through the massive photo album from the wedding over beers. If you've never seen or heard tell of an Indian wedding, it puts anything in the western world to shame. It is quite the production! Looking very forward to meeting Sunitha when she is able to get here.

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