by Ronny Green
When my brother discovered I had yet to try lamb chops, his response was, “how you gonna be a writer, but you afraid to go on adventure?” When I finally mustered up the courage to try them, I sent him a picture informing him the adventure has begun.
That was a few culinary escapades ago, and today, my adventures in gastronomy have led me to Royal India Bistro for some authentic Indian cuisine. I will admit I was both anxious and excited to try Indian food for the first time. After reading over the menu, and only recognizing a handful of ingredients, I felt even more uncertain about this excursion.
Nothing like a little liquid courage to prepare me to dive taste buds first into the Avocado Jhal Muri, a heaping mound of puffed rice, avocado, sprouts, onions, tomato, mint and sweet sauce. If I had to compare this to something you guys are more familiar with I’d say it resembled a pico de gallo with waaaaay more robust flavors. Take a spoon full, spread it on the plain naan, and thank me later.
Follow that up with the Royal Lamb Rack, served on a sizzling platter, these lamb chops are marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, and other spices. Sitting next to that sizzling platter is another sizzling platter of garlic shrimp. These king-sized shrimp are marinated in ginger, garlic, freshly pounded spices and cooked in a clay oven. This was an extremely tasty surf and turf tag team situation that introduced my tasted buds to some new welcomed spice combinations like nothing I have tried before.
After gazing over the menu I had my eye on the traditional butter chicken and it did not disappoint. I can’t forget the garlic naan: leavened bread with garlic that was perfect for mopping up the tomato cream sauce.
After another round of cold Indian beers, we are treated to another lamb entrée, Kashmiri Rogan Josh: classic lamb curry from the valleys of Jammu and Kashmir with spices and sauce served with rice. If I had to give a comparison for those looking to try Royal India Bistro for the first time, this dish is something like a black pot rice and gravy with tender lamb instead of deer.
Lastly, some of the most flavorful chicken I have ever tasted. Hyderabadi Murgh Dum Biryani: aged basmati rice cooked dum style with chicken spices and saffron. This dish was escorted to the table and cut open by the server allowing the steam and aromatics of chili powder, coriander, ginger, garlic, and turmeric to permeate the air.
Mango Panna Cotta: a mango flavored light and silky-smooth cream custard was the perfect hot and cold dessert to wrap up our dinner.
Chef Sager is proud to bring his unique authentic Indian recipes and cooking techniques to central Louisiana. The clay oven he is using isn’t just any rum-dum clay oven, it’s a tandoori oven. This cylindrical clay oven and its vertical cooking process is what produces the perfect leavened breads, succulent lamb chops, and flavor packed chicken we were treated to this evening.
It’s safe to say this is an adventure I look forward to taking again soon.