I met my girl friends at Chennai Cafe this past Friday for one of our get togethers. I was really excited about having dinner at Chennai, because I knew that I already liked their food. The best thing about dinner was that Jiji was there. She is Indian-American which is fantastic, because I knew she would recommend dishes to us. I normally do not stray too far from chicken butter masala and chicken biriyani. This is why I like Indian buffets. You get to try a lot of different foods that you are unfamiliar with.
I hate that this picture is so blurry, but this is an order of Samosas. It’s a savory fried pastry that’s filled with mashed potatoes and I believe peas. It’s seasoned to within an inch of it’s life. It wasn’t super spicy, but the heat does build up. The two sauces on the side are a tamarind sauce and a mint sauce. I did not get to try the tamarind sauce, but the mint one went really well with the samosa.
Jiji recommended this appetizer called Chicken 65. These are cubed chicken marinated in spices and then deep fried. This is a dish that I probably would not have ordered on my own, I was really glad that I got to try it. The chicken was delicious. I only had a few pieces since there was so much food on the table, but I regret not wrapping some naan around this and eating it like a taco. Next time…
This appetizer is called Samosa Chaat. Jiji explained that “chaat” was when you mixed a bunch of ingredients together. The reason it’s called Samosa Chaat is because there’s one of those savory puffs buried underneath all of this yumminess.
From a distance this kind of looks like a taco salad or 7 layer dip, doesn’t it? You have this layer of chickpeas with tomatoes and onions. The sauces on top look to be the tamarind and mint sauces (I should have confirmed). Jiji called the white stuff “cream”, but I have no idea what the yellow stuff is. Reminds you of cheese doesn’t it? It’s not. Perhaps it’s little fried bits of something. If you know please comment below.
I think we are all pretty familiar with this. The naan at Chennai Cafe is some of the best that I’ve ever had. It’s so chewy and delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it.
This is called Saag Paneer. This is one of those dishes that I would never order, because menu descriptions just don’t do a good enough job of telling you how amazing this is. Saag is a leaf based dish which is made from spinach, mustard leaf, collard greens, basella or any other leafy ingredient. It wouldn’t be Indian food without spices, but this version has paneer (Indian cheese) in it. Even though I say it had spices it was not spicy. It was savory and creamy.
It’s hard to explain what this tastes like. It’s pretty mild compared to most Indian dishes so I think this one is great for Western palates. Out of everything that we ordered this one was the best. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish and loved eating it with naan. I totally recommend this.
Of course my entree was Butter Masala. I could not come to an Indian restaurant and order anything else. I normally order the chicken version, but this time I wanted to try something a little different. I ordered the Mutton Butter Masala. I’ve had mutton before so I knew I would like it. My parents aren’t a fan so this was my only chance to try mutton butter masala since I normally family style Indian food with mom and dad.
It was amazing! I think I like the mutton version more than I do the chicken. It was so good! The mutton was cut up into small bite size pieces and was not gamey at all. Linda, who does not like lamb and the like, tried it and said it was okay. Okay from her is a win!
Anyway, if you’re in the mood for Indian food I recommend Chennai Cafe and please try the Saag Paneer. I think it is something everyone would enjoy.
UPDATE: Jiji said that the white stuff on the Samosa Chaat is yogurt not cream. I remembered wrong. The topping that looks like cheese is actually crispy little noodles called, Sev.
Also, even though Wikipedia said that Saag can be made with mustard leaves and collard greens – “saag” means spinach so it’s just made with that! Darn you Wikipedia!