Hello my lovelies! I know that it’s been so long since I updated the blog. Well as of February 2013 I have been here in Australia, and let me tell you, the culinary journey has been amazing! While Adelaide might not as be as fancy as Sydney or Melbourne, the food culture certainly is amazing. I’ve been thinking about whether I should continue blogging from Australia…. and I thought WHY NOT? Seeing as I’m going to be in this country for a while, why should I not share all the delicious tales? True enough, my Australia-food posts won’t be awfully helpful for those living in Sri Lanka, but maybe it’ll be of some use to the Australians. Either way, I decided that I shall keep the blog going with all it’s Sri Lankan flair and what not. The only difference is that I’m not going to mention prices of the dishes unless someone requires it in the comment section. Most of my blog visitors are Sri Lankan, so it isn’t of much relevance anyone.
So the first place I ate out was a little Indian restaurant named M’S Chowki’s. While I have always enjoyed South Indian cuisine as we find in Sri Lanka (the Dosa/Thosai, Vade and so on), I’ve never really experienced authentic North Indian cuisine in Sri Lankan. Oh sure, I’ve had the odd Butter Chicken or two, but Sri Lanka prefers the South Indian counterpart.
So the Indian restaurant in question is M’S Chowki’s. It’s located on the Main North Road in Blair Athol and is a great place for a good fix on Indian food. Here’s the map for anyone who’s interested. It might be a little out of the way to some people, but I promise you, it’s totally worth it.
So first up on this tongue tingling adventure: The Vada Pav. A lot of my wonderful readers might be wondering, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT (click here for more). Well, imagine a tiny Indian burger, only, except of a meat pattie, there is a delicious deep fried potato cake that oozes flavour and spice. Deep fried potato? Oh, yes, they had me at the words “Deep fried potato”. Goodness!
So this is the culprit in question. Sorry about the not too amazing quality of the picture! The thing to remember about Vada Pav is that they are so darn delicious and it’s completely easy to eat several of them. The downside to that is that they are very filling, despite their size, and you end up not being able to eat much during the rest of the meal. I really honestly do not recommend eating more than two if you want space in your tummy to fill up on the rest of the Indian goodies. The wonderful thing about this particular Vada Pav, is that the spices are wonderfully balanced and delicately spiced, and nothing overpowers each other. Deep fried potato in a bun? These Indians know what they’re doing!
From the Vada Pav, we moved on to another wonderful thing invented by the Indians. Paneer, and tikka. Put them together and you get… Paneer Tikka! for those of you who don’t know, Paneer is Indian cheese. Paneer is like cottage cheese, except it isn’t as tart and neither is it crumbly, and it’s a great great snack of unhealthy proportions.
The Paneer hot plate at M’S Chowki’s is a sight to behold. It’s arrives at your table smoking and sizzling music to your ears. It’s served with a small mint-yoghurt chutney. The paneer squares are served in a fresh bed of shredded cabbage, onion, cucumber, tomatoes and coriander leaves. It’s zippy and zingy and it’s wonderful when combined with the paneer. Having said that, I don’t think I can really complain much. I’m a sucker wherever anything cheese related is concerned. Mmm. Cheese.
So next we have the curries. This one is one I’ve never tried before. It’s known as Chicken Chettinad, and I have come to love it ever since the first time I tried it. Surprisingly enough, this dish comes from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, South India. However, it’s one of the few South Indian dishes that does not use coconut milk, and instead uses grated coconut to thicken the curry. If anyone is interested the recipe, just click here. Oh, and here’s some sexy looking roti.
Oh, now, really, this has GOT to be the second best way to chicken. I say second best ONLY because the number one spot goes to Sri Lankan Chicken Curry, which as everyone knows, is simply the best way to each chicken (sorry India, I stay true to my roots!). The Chicken Chettinad was so scrumptious. If I didn’t have manners, I would’ve eaten the whole bowl by myself. No, really. The meat was falling off the bone and it was unbelievably tender. But more than anything the spicing was delicate, balanced and wonderful. The spice wasn’t overpowering. The hit of chili and garlic were perfect and it just just melted away in my mouth. It really did.
And now for the third and fourth dishes, as pictured below. The goat curry and the Tarka Dhal!
Firstly, about the dhal. Now as Sri Lankans, we love our dhal (පරිප්පු ඉස් මොස්ට් එක්සලන්ට්!) and there’s nothing that will replace our Amma/Athamma’s parippu cury from our hearts. However, I do have to give credit where credit is due, and this Tarka Dhal is delicious. It’s made using a type of lentil known as Channa, it’s a yellow split pea grain, and the dish does not use any coconut milk like the Sri Lanka n Dhal Curry does. I’ve been told that some people thicken their Tarka/Tadka dhal with cream, and I’ve also been told that doing that is bad practice (who knew cream could be a bad thing?). Anyway, it tastes quite different to the dhal that I’ve been used to back home, and I’m not complaining. It’s always nice to taste something nice and clean. Coupled with the goat curry, the balance was brilliant.
Now about the goat curry. There isn’t much for me to say about it, except that is was mutton, and it tasted good. The meat was really soft, and it was actually quite spicy. It was always very rich, thickened with cream, and coupled with the sweet, creaminess of the dhal, the combination worked brilliantly.
And now, to the favourite of the night, and my absolute favourite Indian dish of all time. I could write poetry about this dish.
Known as Palak Paneer or even Saag Paneer, the dish is basically little squares of paneer cheese bathed in a pureed spinach sauce. In certain restaurants, this dish is made using mustard leaves. However, at M’S Chowki’s it’s done using spinach.
Now as big a foodie as I am, I wasn’t too fond of spinach until I tasted this majestic dish. I’m a meat lover, but if I had to eat Palak Paneer for the rest of my life, I’d happily do so. It doesn’t sound like much, pureed spinach and cheese, but my goodness, it’s earth shatteringly good! The puree is smooth, subtle in it’s spicings of fennel and cumin, and it’s very creamy. The little cubes of paneer lie hiding in the puree curry sauce like little nuggets of gold, waiting to be bitten into. I loved this dish so much that I took a Tupperware bowl of it home with me and ate it like I was eating pudding for the following day’s lunch. Yes, it was THAT good that I wanted to eat it by itself. Call me crazy… but spinach, cheese squares in a creamy sauce? I LOVE YOU INDIAN CUISINE. As aware as I was of Indian food when I was back in Sri Lanka, Australia has really opened my eyes to how truly limitless to how the possibilities are. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to be a wonderful time in this country.
If anyone is in Adelaide and they want a good Indian food fix, this is the place to go. And needless to say, M’S Chowki’s has become a favourite of mine, seeing as we go there often, and for delivering amazing meals every single time, M’S Chowki’s get’s a good solid 7.5/10!
Till next time humans! xx