Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
788 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Studying the foods of India is fascinating; there is always something new to learn. To appreciate the food at Badshah, one has to be familiar with the taste, methods and ingredient differences between Northern and Southern Indian cuisines because both types of dishes are offered.
Much of what we eat in Indian restaurants is Northern India food. Northern food is mainly characterized by its spices, frequent use of dairy, the tandoor oven and wheat-based staples; naan breads, rotis and samosas are primary examples. Many of the curries, such as aloo ghobi (potatoes and cauliflower) have their roots in Northern cooking. Amchoor (dried mango powder) is used as a souring agent in Northern curries and many Northern dishes are flavored with Fenugreek. Although Northern fare uses meat, chicken and fish, the cuisine is based on a fairly vegetarian culture.
Southern fare caters to the primary religion, Hinduism, by being almost entirely vegetarian. Southern dishes are based around rice, lentils and stews. Dishes such as dosas -- lentil and rice crêpes, saaru/rasam (tomato, tamarind, and lentil soup) and daal Makhani are Southern-inspired. Southern cuisine incorporates spices and milk as well, but what distinguishes Southern cuisine from Northern is the preference for grain as a staple and the use of tamarind for its characteristic sour flavor.
Raita is a traditional Indian side dish used on all Indian kitchens made with yoghurt, but in different ways from region to region.
Badshah (meaning Village King), is a modern Indian restaurant on the West Side of Manhattan that offers interesting dishes that some are a fusion of Indian and Southern Asia cuisines, as well as a Chef’s Tasting Menu of four different appetizers and five selections of curries, served with naan, rice and sauces; that I highly recommend.
The Badshah kitchen is led by Charles Mani who served as culinary trainer at Sheraton Hotel in Chennai and as a chef on Norwegian Cruise Line. Charles also sports the jaunty handlebar mustache that is the logo of the restaurant.
From the “Starters” section and also in the Chef’s Menu, Gol Goppa is a popular snack in India. Here it’s a crunchy semolina ball surrounded by microgreens and filled with a light minty yoghurt and ginger liquid. Delectable!
Another interesting starter is the Badshah Cauliflower. Lacquered with a Chinese tomato chili sauce, slivered ginger and sliced green scallions, black onion seeds and sesame seeds, it is savory, sweet and delicious.
The boneless Tandoori Chicken is smoky, sweet and sour. A small dish that packs lots of flavour.
Then, a tray of 5 curries and sauced dishes with a Basmati rice-bowl and naan bread was delivered and it was devoured in no time. Most notable was the Coconut Curry with prawns, the Grandma’s Goat Curry and the Punjabi Kadhi. For sure, my grandma never made a goat dish that was so scrumptious.
Also interesting was a cocktail made with Mango Lassi, a yoghurt and fruit nectar drink with a light touch of rum. Surprisingly good.
If you are interested in Indian cuisine, this is definitely a restaurant to explore.
© January 2018 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.