5 May 2012

Stavanger Stops: Mogul India

When I was a young girl (well, young-er), I was a complete Indian food junkie, though you wouldn't have guessed it from the contents of this blog. Actually, when I say ''Indian food'', I really mean just ''curry''. It was the best thing I knew, and was served every Thursday at school, and every second Tuesday at home (at my request!). During a family vacation in Singapore, I insisted on stopping by 'Little India' – ''because they make curry there'' – but quickly found out that their curry was widely different from what I was used to. For one, it was very spicy. And then, the sauce was thin, not thick. This wasn't the curry I was used to. Still, brave as I was, I shrugged off this new-found disappointment, and continued eating my regular curry as I had always done.

Then we moved to Norway. It was an incredible culture shock to find out that Norwegian school do not serve curry chicken for lunch. Actually they don't serve warm dinners at all, but that's beyond the point. And because we moved to a tiny village, there was no Indian restaurant in sight either. I was devastated. About a year after we moved, my father decided to cheer me up by taking me to an Indian restaurant he'd heard about in a nearby city. Visions of thick, tasty curries laced with saffron and served with yellow rice instantly popped up in my mind. My stomach rumbled and my mouth watered: I was ready for some curry. It was going to be like the good old days.

Eh, not so much. The dinner was absolutely dreadful. The curry hardly tasted anything at all, let alone the myriad of spices I knew I was supposed to taste. In an attempt to fit the Norwegian palate, the restaurant had successfully managed to make the rice more spicy than the dinner itself.  It was such a major disappointment. Then, a few months ago, a friend of mine mentioned her favourite restaurant; a culinary getaway tucked above a smoked-filled bar by the Stavanger harbour.

Mogul India lacks the sort of pretentiousness you often find in restaurants. Instead, they offer magnificent food, generous portions and generous flavours; all for reasonable prices. They have the best nan bread I have ever eaten; a butter and garlic slice of heaven roasted in a tandoor (there's a coriander and red onion version too!). Their Pardah Gosht Dumdar – tender lamb fused with spices and cooked overnight – is superb, as is their Bengali Macchi Curry; a delightful fish stew spiced with mustard seeds and flavoured with coconut milk. For the vegetarian, there's the potato and pea samosa; magnificent, tasty and divine. So too with their aloo ki tikki; potato patties flavoured with coriander and served with some seriously succulent mint and coriander chutney. As a final tease, check out their apple and onion seed salad, which has julienned green apples spiced with onion seeds. Amazing. 

To top it all off, the service is excellent. Not only are the friendly owners happy to explain, in detail, exactly what you're eating, but also which regions of India the dishes originate from. The menu features dishes from all over the Indian subcontinent, to give customers a taste of the immense variety that the Indian cuisine has to offer. And for those who are on alternative diets, fear not. The first time I stopped by, I was still experimenting with Lent, and the cook subsequently made special-suited vegan food, just for me.

Now that's how I like to my restaurants :)

Tandoori Chicken

The restaurant owners very kindly gave me their tandoori chicken recipe to share with you today. Although I've written the recipe down as it was given to me, I made a few changes at home when I made the tandoori chicken. I replaced the dried fenugreek leaves, which I can't seem to find anywhere, with fengureek seeds, and I added an extra teaspoon of chilli to make it more spicy. I also replaced the ginger paste with shredded fresh ginger.

1.5 kg (3 ½ lb.) whole chicken
4 tbsp. natural yoghurt
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. garlic paste
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
½ tsp. cinnamon powder

Mint & Coriander Chutney
50 g. (4 oz.) coriander leaves
100 g. mint leaves, roughly chopped
3 small green chillis, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ - 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar

1.Prick the chicken all over and make a few slits about 2 cm (¾ inch) long on the skin.

2.First Marination: Add half quantity of ginger & garlic paste, salt, chilli powder and lemon juice together and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for eight hours or overnight. Second Marination: Mix all the remaining ingredients into a smooth paste and rub the marinade generously all over the chicken skin. Leave it aside for one hour.

3.The chicken it traditionally roasted in a Tandoor ( charcoal heated clay oven), but it's usually easier to use your oven. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the chicken in a roasting tin and cover with foil. Roast in the centre of the oven for 1½ hours. Halfway through cooking, baste with little butter. Remove chicken from the oven and leave in a warm place to rest for 20 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, for the coriander chutney, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the mixture become a coarse paste. Add 4-5 tablespoons of cold water to ease blending. Alternatively, use a pestle and mortar.


The Restaurant...

Mogul India 
Verksgate 9
4013 Stavanger

(0047) 5189 1817 | www.mogulindiarestaurant.com/ | www.facebook.com/MogulIndia

3 comment (s):

Needful Things said...

I'm salivating looking at this post.
I'm intrigued to know how the fenugreek seeds turned out in this curry? They're not a replacement for the leaf in any way - the leaves add a wonderful aroma and je ne said quoi to the curry but the seeds ... Am not a huge fan of fenugreek seeds and always find they add a certain bitterness to food. Interested to know if you had that experience?

Needful Things said...

My comment disappeared. Well here goes again.. What I wrote was:

Your photos are making me salivate.
Am intrigued to know how the fenugreek seeds turned out in this recipe? The seeds are not a substitute for the leaves at all. The latter adds a certain aroma - a je ne dais quoi to curries etc but the seeds .... Now Im not a huge fan and find they add a lot of bitterness to foods. What was your experience?

Marion said...

@ Needful Things

To be honest I made this such a long time ago, I can't remember whether or not I tasted the fenugreek seeds... Plan to make it again now that I'm back home :-)

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