For centuries, the diverse cultures of Asia have been borrowing culinary traditions from their neighbors, transcending borders to swap cooking techniques and seasonings. At China Spice, chefs that hail from locales such as China, Nepal, and Tibet illustrate these time-honored pastimes on plates, harmoniously uniting the spices and styles of Indian, Sichuan, Thai, and Nepalese cuisines. Flecks of coriander and turmeric—hallmarks of Indian and Thai kitchens—might pepper dishes doused in classic Chinese soy sauce. Provincial Hakka specialties, such as chili chicken, neighbor dishes from cosmopolitan Shanghai. Ample rice and noodle dishes, vegetarian fare, and seafood populate tables next to long banquettes, which unfurl amid low lighting and deep earth tones.
Illuminated by the twinkle of hanging chandeliers, servers deliver plates of sizzling Indian dishes from Chaska Restaurant's kitchen. Inside, tandoori clay ovens are ablaze with traditional breads and spice-steeped meats, which pour forth steam like a robot trying to pass a poetry exam. Come lunchtime, a buffet snakes across the elegant dining room, filled with platters of palak paneer, lamb marinated in yogurt sauce, and samosas stuffed with potatoes and chickpeas.:m]]
Aromatic spices perfume the air at Khaja Haleem & Grill as diners sit down to platters of freshly prepared, authentic North Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Hefty portions of biryanis and tandoor-cooked meats and veggies feature marinated chicken, minced mutton, or goat. Vegetarians find their wheelhouse in the selection of six veggie entrees, including fried okra and spicy soup. Seven styles of naan come stuffed with garlic, jalapeños, cheese, or smaller pieces of naan.
At a click of its easy-to-use website, Food Temptation ships the raw elements of South Asian cuisine directly to the homes and offices of fine-food fanciers in northern New Jersey and Manhattan. These include more than a dozen varieties of flour, as well as chutneys, ghee, and spices in every color of the visible spectrum, except for the hideous color known only as polka-plaid. Gorgeous produce abounds, from curry leaves ($.79 per piece) to fresh, juicy guava ($3.99/lb.) to extra-life-granting 1-Up mushrooms (market price). Food Temptation also sells nearly 100 varieties of microwaveable Indian meals, such as the spicy, protein-packed chana masala ($2.49).
Crowned with succulent gyro meat, jalapenos, and tons of cheese, the supreme gyro pizza showcases Famous Gyro & Pizza's namesakes in one delectable package. Of course, plenty of other toppings can crown pies, from bleu cheese and housemade buffalo sauce to thinly sliced Philly steak. Cooks can also stuff said steak into the big famous gyro cheesesteak, an 18-inch pita also filled with gyro meat, peppers, and French fries. But not everything here plays off the pizza and gyro theme. The eclectic menu encompasses everything from Italian specialties like mussels marinara to Mediterranean classics, such as curry chicken kebabs and roasted half-chickens.
The chefs at Kulcha Corner fire up a traditional clay oven, in which specialty Kulcha, or Indian-style flatbreads—concocted from flour, salt, yogurt, and milk—bake until golden brown. Servers ferry trays of tandoori kebabs and hot vegetarian curries to tables, where diners can revel in the entrees’ spiciness. The oblong eatery invites patrons to relax at tables for four and gaze toward an HDTV positioned near the back of the venue. Glossily stained wainscoting underscores sconces that emit vectors of romantic yellow light, and a deep-red back wall reminds guests of what would happen if a lipstick truck crashed into a wall.
Village Indian Cuisine’s traditional Indian cuisine stuffs a menu with simmering curries, fresh-baked naan, and meaty tandoori dishes. Diners start feasts off right with appetizers including lamb sholay—tender meat grilled with vinegar and salt seasoning. Naan bread accompanies entrees to the table, helpful for scooping up morsels in a plain, butter, or garlic flatbread embrace. Succulent meat dishes include lamb vindaloo, with chunks of slow-simmered boneless lamb and potatoes in spicy onion curry sauce and tandoori half chicken, marinated in spices and roasted in a traditional clay oven. Indian culinary traditions are rife with delectable vegetarian options, as well, such as aloo gobi palak—potatoes, cauliflower, and spinach in savory herbs and spices. Adventurous diners can explore the Village Special Biryani, a mix of basmati rice, lamb, goat, eggs, shrimp, and labyrinthine flavor palates. To add Indian authenticity to liquid meal elements, opt for an imported Indian beer or sample the wines from the full bar.