Usually, when eating a specific dish for this blog, I order one thing only. Sushi only, or chicken coconut and curry with a side of rice. But since the next dish was from a buffet, I couldn’t really help but eat a lot of different foods. (Sorry, not sorry.) Since much of the dishes I’ve researched so far are of Japanese or Chinese origin, I decided that a much-needed change is mandatory in order to gain a full analysis in my research. So, when I asked a couple of friends where I could go to try out more dishes, they suggested P.F. Chang’s and Rangoli’s. P.F. Rangoli’s was an Indian restaurant. The friends who ordered it were Indian and said that we could definitely help me out with my research. So, off we went.
Rangoli’s is a restaurant in Anne Arundel, Maryland, in front of The Hotel. Yes, the hotel was called The Hotel. Rangoli’s is a buffet-style restaurant during lunch, but according to my friend Mihir, it becomes a regular restaurant for dinner. Since we went during lunch, I couldn’t help but start filling my plate with all the unfamiliar dishes. I ended up getting basmati rice, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, and panipuri. I also tried a bit of the samosa but my spicy tolerance is pretty low, so I wasn’t able to finish it.
So for those who are unfamiliar with the Indian cuisine, let me break my plate down for you:
- Basmati rice – the white rice. It’s longer and thinner than regular jasmine rice, but it taste just about the same.
- Butter chicken – also known as Murgh Makhani consists of a light butter sauce, curry, and chicken. A recipe from eCurry.com uses ginger, garlic, green chili pepper, butter, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, methi/fenugreek seeds, tomato puree, red chili powder/cayenne pepper/paprika, almonds, garam masala, kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, sugar or honey, and heavy cream. It had a curry taste to it with a side of the buttery, creamy flavor. The butter chicken from Rangoli’s did not seem to contain as much ingredients. I didn’t see much leaves or seeds or even almonds. The recipe from eCurry seemed to include ingredients not commonly found in America. Therefore, a reason for the lack of ingredients at Rangoli’s could be the availability of supplies.
- Tandoori chicken – the red, barbeque-type of chicken in the top, middle of the plate. It tasted like sweet barbeque chicken. The tandoori chicken may have been the most familiar to me because I have seen it as seasoning mixes or packaged foods in grocery stores.
- Panipuri – the round-shaped hollow crispy shell filled with a potato-based filling and spicy water. The pani puri was presented as three different dishes that you needed to put together. The crispy shell starts out as completely whole and you need to poke a hole into it. Afterwards, you can fill it with the potato filling (consisting of potatoes, onion, and seasoning) and then the spicy water. Veg Recipes of India uses green chutney to create the spicy water, which is why the water was green.
- Naan – the flat bread. At Rangoli’s, it had a hint of butter in it. According to Mihir, you can eat the naan with the sauce of whatever dish you are eating it with.
- Cholay – the curried chickpeas (below the panipuri and naan). At Rangoli’s, the cholay was served with the samosas, potato-filled pastries, but according to a couple of my Indian friends, it is not usually served with samosas. But, served together, it is called samosa chaat. “They just mixed two things together. Samosa is a separate food item that in what we ate contained potato and green peas. Underneath was the cholay part. Combine both cholay and samosa, you get somosa chaat,” my friend, Sai, mentioned. If I were to have gotten the samosa chat together, it would have looked like this:
Towards the end of our meal, I asked Mihir and Sai how authentic Rangoli’s is, or how this meal would compare to the meals their parents might cook at home. Mihir and Sai said that Rangoli’s was pretty spot on and that they would expect these kind of dishes at home. The biggest difference is the spicyness level. Mihir mentioned that Indian food without the spice is a bit bland, in his opinion. But overall, the Americanized version of Indian food tends to be a lot less spicy in order to cater the market many of the Indian restaurants were serving.