June 1, 2018
We hope all is well with you and your loved ones. Business at Ajanta in May was much better than in April. We were busy during Graduation week and on Mother’s Day. We look forward to another busy month.
We have some exciting news to share with you all. Zagat recently published “Best Restaurants in Berkeley” list and Ajanta has been voted as #3 amongst other great restaurants. We are proud of this accomplishment and would like to thank all of you for supporting us through this journey.
New dishes introduced last month have done excellent thus far. Chicken Pistachio Korma was an instant hit. This dish has satisfied many of our customers to an extent some of them want it as a permanent item on the menu. Kerala Prawn Curry is doing quite well too. In addition, the return of Baadal Jaam has made a lot of our regular customers very happy. As usual, these dishes will be continued for the next few months.
Following are the new dishes being introduced for the month of June 2018:
Salmon Tikki: Salmon Cakes, Indian style, are made with chopped boneless wild salmon, potatoes, dill, breadcrumbs, and some spices. The spices include chile flakes, dried pomegranate seed powder, and ajwain. The cakes are fried and served with a mint-cilantro-yogurt sauce. A very delectable and addictive appetizer!
Tandoori Game Hen: This is the well-known classic tandoori chicken dish prepared with game hen instead of chicken. In my opinion (Lachu), the stronger, gamey taste of game hen makes this dish better than tandoori chicken. The game hen is skinned, defatted, and then marinated in a mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and spices, including mustard powder, paprika, and garam masala (a mixture of toasted ground cardamom, cinnamon and cloves). The marinade imparts the classic tandoori flavor to the game hen, while also making it very tender. The marinated game hens are roasted in a tandoor oven at a very high heat, resulting in moist and tender meat under a dry exterior.
Lamb Biriyani: This classic Moghlai dish, served on special occasions in India, is an elaborate dish requiring several steps. Boneless cubed lamb is partially cooked in a thick curry sauce made with onions, tomatoes, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and black pepper. Basmati rice is partially cooked with cinnamon and bay leaves. The rice and lamb are then placed in layers in a steam-tight container and baked for 45 minutes. The container keeps the steam inside, and the steam cooks the contents of the container. This kind of steam cooking, called “dumpukht” in India, results in a texture of rice that is unique to biriyani. The biriyani is served topped with caramelized onions, nuts, and raisins, providing a mélange of flavors and textures in each bite.
Vendaka Masala Pachdi: Okra is now in season and it is time to bring back this very popular dish from Tamil Nadu, something we do annually. Fresh okra is trimmed, sliced, sautéed and then briefly cooked in a sauce made with onions, tomatoes, yogurt, coconut milk, urid dal, curry leaves, and spices. The spices include mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, paprika, red chile and turmeric. The sauce is rich with a multitude of textures and flavors. The okra is cooked in such a way that it does not become slimy, which seems to be the main reason many people do not like okra. This dish is recommended to be eaten as hot as your palate will permit.
The following dishes will be discontinued to make room for the new dishes:
- Tandoori Asparagus
- Goat Masala
- Chicken Biriyani
- Mixed Vegetable Saagu
It is always a pleasure to see you at Ajanta.