The chefs at Swagath Indian Restaurant assemble a menu of meatless Indian specialties cooked with healthy ingredients and robust, exotic flavors. Reaching for organic and seasonal items whenever possible, chefs roll up crepe-like dosas made from a variety of grains and top them with anything from chutney to curry to onions sliced as thin as sitar strings. Thicker South Indian pancakes, or uthappam, come studded with cheese, chilies, or veggies, and rice dishes arrive seasoned with tamarind, raw coconut, or fresh homemade yogurt. More than a dozen entrees showcase stars of the crisper draw, such as cauliflower, eggplant, okra, or peas, and a trio of garlic- and onion-free dishes cater kindly to kissing-booth employees.
Each region in India boasts its own staple dishes. At Banjara Indian Cuisine, the chefs mix spices from each region to create a subtle blend of India?s flavors. The resulting dishes include vegetarian dumplings simmered in cinnamon and nutmeg, and lamb cooked with ginger and curry leaves. And just like many households in India, Banjara has a traditional clay oven that reaches extremely high temperatures to seal in the flavor of naan and chicken marinated in spiced yogurt. The chefs can also supersize orders when catering gatherings celebrating weddings, birthdays, and growth spurts.
In India's capital of New Delhi, there sits a small chunk of space called Delhi 6, where the region's food lovers congregate for the abundance of authentic Indian cuisine. So, when Seema Sharma and her husband, Ajay Kasana, made good on their dream and opened a restaurant in Frederick County, naming it Delhi6 was a no-brainer. "I grew up all my childhood eating that food," Sharma once told the Town Courier, "it's engrained in my mind."
Inside Delhi6, amber-colored walls mix with dark hardwood floors to create a warm, rich contrast. Through glass windows, visitors can peer into the kitchen, where chefs are busy grinding the restaurant's spices and cooking up daily-baked Indian breads. On the walls, Sharma made sure to feature decorative reminders of Delhi6's roots, including more than 8,000 Indian bangle bracelets, which hang as a nod to the vendors who line New Delhi streets doling out artisan goods.
Kumar Iyer has spent years in the hospitality industry, managing restaurants aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and working the floor at local restaurants. He learned how to take care of people during these experiences, but more importantly, he codified what he thought made a great restaurant. When the time was right, he brought all of those ideas to his own culinary venture, Rangoli. From the laying of the bricks to the creation of the menu, Kumar made sure every element matched his lofty expectations.
Today, Kumar and his team serve up an eclectic array of Indian cuisine gathered from all over the continent. They prepare an exhaustive selection of curries, including a Konkani recipe called chicken xacuti, which uses flavors such as poppy seeds, fennel, and a tart fruit known as kokum in its creamy sauce. They also roast meat in traditional tandoori clay ovens, the blazing-hot vessels known for imparting their searing heat to lamb kebabs, whole chickens, and slightly smaller, more adorable clay ovens.
When creating their expansive menu of what the Washingtonian lauds as a "representative selection of the finer cookery of India," recently merged with Harvest of India, SupperClub of India's chefs infuse each dish of northern Indian cuisine with their own personal styles. Meat-laden dishes include jumbo prawns marinated with mint before being grilled over charcoal and chicken cooked in a blend of almonds and cream. Along with their solid lineup of entrees, eggplant smothered in spicy tomato onion masala and other vegetable-based dishes are among items that inspired the Washingtonian to name SupperClub of India the "perfect restaurant" for vegetarians. Meals unfold in a dining room where Indian music underscores the sound of skilled diners chewing in syncopation.
A charcoal clay oven roars to life every morning in Silk’s kitchen in preparation for a day full of roasting meats and vegetables and baking fresh breads including roti and naan. The authentic tandoor prepares a menu rich in traditional flavors derived from spices imported from all over India. A dash of pure saffron, wild black cardamom, and cinnamon enhances platters of long-grain basmati rice, a standard side dish that enhances lamb, seafood, chicken, and vegetarian dishes alike. Waiters shuttle chosen plates out to a regal dining room full of carved, throne-like dining chairs, gilded statues of deities, and napkins fancifully folded into fork-size saris.