Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fun Playing with Traditional Family Style Indian Food

It was a mere two days after we returned from Destin that we attended a fabulous dining experience at Doug Katz's wonderful restaurant, fire food & drink. We had missed last year's dinner, when Chef Doug teamed up with local Indian cook Radhika Rajwade to create an authentic family-style meal of Indian cuisine, and we were determined that we would not miss this one! A Rose Wine Cocktail began the repast; sorry, I didn't get a photo of it.

Our Hosts: Chefs Doug Katz and Radhika Rajwade

As Chef Doug introduced his cohort, the servers began pouring a variety of three Indian beers, which would continue to flow throughout the meal.

Hari Chutney - Cilantro & Green Chile

Lal Chutney - Red Chile and Garlic

Our table needed repeated refills of these fiery condiments, as all 7 of us were spice lovers!

Achar - Spicy Indian Pickles.

No cucumber = I love these!

Imli Chutney - Tamarind

This was freshly made and offered a sweet counterpoint to the heat of the other condiments.

Dahi Papdi and Ragda Patty

On the left, a house-made flour crisp is topped with Lentils, Potato and Yogurt. To the right, a mashed potato cake topped with chick pea curry.

Chicken Chaat - Indian Chicken Salad


Tandoori Prawns - Tandor-Roasted Shrimp with Indian Spices

I had warned Chef Doug before the meal that, being just off the plane from Florida, he should not be insulted if I found any of the fish or seafood not palatable. This dish surprised me, because although the shrimp was certainly frozen, there were no chemically tastes or smells. It actually was quite good.

Lahori Fish Fry - Spiced Talapia

I cannot say the same for the talapia - the joys of fresh-from-the-water grouper were too close to my memory banks. Though the preparation was lovely, the fish was, well, Cleveland fish.

Mughlai Karu Murgh - Cashew Chicken Curry

This dish was one of my favorites of the evening. As boring as white meat chicken might be - in this dish, it sang in perfect harmony with nutty, spicy, creamy goodness.

Baingan Bharta - Roasted Eggplant

One of my favorite Indian dishes - not too greasy, not too heavy - perfect!

Blurry, Steamed Basmati Rice

Naan - Clay Oven Bread

Aloo Gobi - Cauliflower and Potato Curry

Another delicious and expertly executed dish.

Makhani Macchi - Butter Fish Curry

Alas and alak - I could not get enthusiastic about the fish - though I again loved the preparation. Oh well - more food was coming out to the table!

Kheema Biryani - Spiced Minced Goat, Rice, Saffron and Crispy Onions

This was also one of my favorites. Who knew that goat meat could taste so good! It really stands up to the spices.


This dip accompanied the Biryani. The yoghurt tasted homemade!

Saag Gosht - Braised Goat and Spinach

Loved this, too.

Badami Matar Paneer - Pea, Cheese and Almond Curry

This was my favorite dish of the night - I'd never had freshly made paneer before, and it was amazing. I was kind of sad that this was the last savory dish, because I did not have much room left to truly appreciate it! Though another round of naan was served with these courses, I was too full to taste any.

Mango Ice Cream with Nan Khatai (Cardamon-Pistachio Cookie)

I had a tough time eating any dessert - as tasty as it was, I was done.

Gajar Halwa - Warm Carrot, Cardamom and Saffron Pudding

I apologize for the lateness of this post - but by COB the day following this dinner, I came down with a nasty cold that got me way behind on a lot of things, including blogging.

If you learn that Radhika Rajwade is cooking somewhere - make a reservation - because we had tremendous fun playing with her artful, tasty food. And the rest of the staff at fire, together with Chef Katz, made this a great evening of fun and food.

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