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Royal Taj Indian Restaurant 7711 Beechmont Ave 231-0500
Sometimes people I know contemplate for an hour over what to get for dinner “what do you want” “I don’t care, what do you want” “I’m not sure how about pizza” “No I’m pizza-d out” “ Well how about chinese” “Too much MSG” “Well then you pick” “I just told you I don’t care” “Well you don’t want pizza or chinese so you do care” “ I don’t know there’s more than just pizza and chinese” “ I know so what do you want!” That conversation usually ends up with a fast drive to the drive thru (god forbid) or in my case some fast cooking before hunger pains set in and we go at each other like two wolves with one rabbit.
What’s strange is I never hear people say, “What do you want” “Oh I don’t know how about some Paneer Bhatura, a few Samosas and Shrimp Tandoori” Now that would shut me up.
Ordering Indian food can be overwhelming. Few other restaurants have such an expansive menu. For instance, Royal Taj has over 100 menu items. All those Aloos and Kormas can get complicated for most casual diners. I have a simple suggestion. Start with the bread!
Royal Taj’s menu has 18 different breads.
Nan is still the most popular. Soft and chewy, it’s perfect for dipping into whatever sauce is on the table and it’s even great by itself. What about Poori? It’s a fried bread that puffs up like a balloon, it’s flavor is sweet and almost dessert like. How about Roti? It’s a whole wheat bread or Partha a layered whole wheat bread? They all sound similar but there very different and very delicious. Nan comes in the most varieties; onion, garlic stuffed, chicken stuffed, lamb stuffed (Keema), potato stuffed (Aloo), cheese stuffed (Paneer), mint (Pudina), chilies and peppers (Hot & Spicy) it’s almost like ordering pizza.
The real trick is they way it’s cooked! Fresh made dough is slapped on the side of a huge clay oven. The oven is heated with a charcoal grill in the bottom. The bread takes on the flavors of the oven, grill and the toppings. It’s a beautiful thing. You really need to try them all and they’re all inexpensive ($2-$3 per order).
I can’t imagine making these at home and store bought Nan tastes, well like store bought pizza.
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