LA Chowhound get together in Little India
LBQT and I scouted Little India for promising establishments and this looked very good indeed. Please email me preferable dates between Oct 8 and Oct 12 if interested in meeting up.
18621 Pioneer Blvd
Artesia, CA 90701
So far those responding have expressed a preference for the 12th. I had been hoping to do dinner so we can all linger and get to know each other a little better and those interested could mosey over to the sweets shops and maybe the spice grocery , so keep that in mind.
This is all still plastic, so keep sending your input!
Some juicy tidbits:
"...Shan, a Pakistani [Halal] restaurant with a terrific-and well-stocked lunch buffet, plus a dinner menu chock-full of mutton and lamb specialties. Two of the best are Bihari kabab , an excellent barbecued lamb marinated in papaya juice and red chili, and mughaz masala , curried lamb brains."
The consensus seems to be for dinner on Oct 12th. I will call the restaurant a half an hour before we expect to arrive to warn them to set aside tables for us, so we can keep adding people until the very last minute!
I found out that Shan specializes in Hyderabadi cuisine:
Hyderabad's 400-year-old culinary history, like its culture, is unmatched by any other state in India. In fact Hyderabad was known for the spectacular way its aristocracy entertained. Of all the Muslim cuisine, Hyderabadi is the only cuisine of the sub-continent that can boast of a major vegetarian element. This has much to do with the local influences. Considering that the elite of the erstwhile Hyderabad state came from the north of India and was almost entirely Muslim, this is a little surprising. The nation's vegetarians, of course, stand to gain by it.
Some of the salient features of Hyderabadi food are the key flavours of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. The key spice is chilli, which is used in abundance and is the reason for the sobriquet "Dynamite Food". Other culinary delights include 'Gosht', which is kid or baby goat, and is more or less, synonymous with Hyderabadi food. 'Murgh', which is chicken, is the second favourite. When it comes to gosht, Hyderabadis prize the meat of the male goat.
Hyderabadi cuisine is rich and aromatic, the taste more distinct, with a liberal use of exotic spices and ghee and the fresh fruit normally used is replaced by dried fruits. Lamb is the most widely used meat in the non-vegetarian dishes.
One of India's finest foods, the 'Biryani' (flavoured rice with meat or vegetables) is closely associated with Hyderabadi cuisine. It is so popular that it takes a special mention in the world of cuisines.
The Mughlai Delicacies
Hyderabadi Cuisine owes its origins to the Mughlai style of cooking of the Asaf Jahi period. By carefully mellowing and nurturing the typical Mughlai flavours with a blend of spices, the cuisine of Hyderabad was born.
For those who want a taste of the royal menu, there is a variety of 'Biryanis' (a rice and meat preparation, seasoned with spices and flavourings); 'Kababs' (meat pieces or minced meat cooked in many different styles such as 'Boti Jhammi', 'Kalmi', 'Shikampur', 'Sheek', 'Lagan-ke-Kababs', 'Dum-ke-kababs'); 'Kormas' (either meat or vegetables cooked in a rich creamy gravy) and 'Lukhmi' (pastry).
During the month of Ramzan, one gets to taste 'Haleem' (a pounded wheat and meat preparation). For those who prefer more homely food, there is Khichri (a rice a lentil preparation); 'Keema Methi' (minced meat with fenugreek); 'Nahari' (stew of tongue and lamb trotters); 'Rumali Rotis' (bread as thin as a handkerchief) and 'Chakna' (a spicy dish of meat). During the festival day of Id-ul-Fitr, it is traditional to serve 'Sheer Korma', the delicious 'Kheer', made with 'Sevian', dried fruits and dates.
For vegetarians there is 'Bagara Baingan' (a rich spicy preparation of brinjals); Mirch-ka-salan (chillies in a creamy gravy); 'Tomato Qoot' (aromatic puree of tomato with flavourings); and 'Shahi Dahi Vadas' (lentil dumplings in Youghurt sauce).
For dessert, on can have a pick from 'Double-ka-Meetha' (a bread and cashewnut pudding); 'Qubani-ka-Meetha' (stewed apricot dessert); 'Ande-ka-Piyosi' (made with eggs, almonds and purified butter); 'Badam-ki-Jhab' (marzipan) and 'Dil-e-Firdaus' (a rich, milk-based sweet).
Many small hotels and restaurants around the Charminar area offer authentic Hyderabadi dishes.
Mangoes, 'Anabshahi' grapes, custard apples are among the delicious fruits varieties and finally the elaborately prepared 'Paan' can be enjoyed after a hearty feast.
Hyderabad is also famous within India for its spicy pickles (achar). These are an acquired taste even for non-indians who like subcontinental food, but are very, very much a part of an Indian meal. To give you a sense of how prevalent; on domestic flights in India that require meal service, one often gets two little containers with the main meal--one for yoghurt, one for achar.
The most common sorts of achar you will see are mango (usually a little green), and lime but anything is game. IF this place is hyderabadi home-style you may want to keep an eye out for these.
Attached is a link to a meal I had in a hyderabadi place in chicago.
but I'm in chicago,
as far as spiciness, that will depend upon the restaurant and I haven't been. The spicier, the more authentic as far as most hyderabadi is concerned, IMO.
The pickles will probably not be to the taste of those who don't like spice (not so much for heat but for very asertive pungency and spicing kinda like kimchee), probably should also stay away from the dish mentioned in gold's article of whole chilis.
Too bad you can't find an excuse to travel to LA to join us, we'll miss you.
Maybe our wimp (the fiercest self-described "wimp" I ever met, btw) could fill up on sweets and snacks from all of the shops in the area. When LBQT and I scouted there was a dosa shop that was too cool. We wandered in wide-eyed staring at a gigantic crepe wrapped around potatoes sitting in front of the tiniest little girl--it looked like she was about to eat the Alaskan Pipeline!
All the people we encountered were SO nice and friendly, the dosa people even offered us a bite right from their plate. Clearly they were eager to share their culture and food with enthusiastic tourists.
WOW! I know there's a dirty joke in there somewhere!
Re: the post on the SF board about "southern" Indian cuisine; I was truly confused when I looked up Hyderabad on a map and found it just south of Pakistan, but kept hearing it referred to as south India. Thanks for confirming that it is a misnomer.