Indian culture is totally food-centric. With such an extensive array of cuisines and sub-cultures, the food in India takes on a mammoth personality. There are 28 states in India and each is rich in its culture with its own unique music, dance, dress and of course food. With its food-centric history dating back to centuries, can you just imagine how many types of Indian dishes there may be? On a simpler scale, just think how many different ways there may be in India to prepare a staple item like, let’s say, potatoes! Mind boggling, isn’t it?
Most Indian restaurants in the US, however, tend to focus on the generic north Indian style of cuisine with some south Indian favorites like Masala Dosa and Idli thrown into the menu for a good measure. After dining at many such Indian restaurants all over the tri-state area, I started to develop a disappointing sense of “been there done that” ….until I came across Coromandel in South Norwalk.
The first thing that struck me is that, this is a South Indian restaurant with a menu that is packed with delicious dishes that I had not even heard of until now! My family and I have been huge Coromandel fans ever since!
Needless to say that last night I could not pass up the opportunity to attend a wine dinner hosted by Coromandel in collaboration with…yes! You guessed it. CT Bites!
For those of you who have never been to Coromandel in SONO, there is one name you need to know ….Gopi! “Just ask for Gopi” (as we say in our house). Gopi, the owner/manager of the restaurant, will be sure to take such good care of you that you would want to come back again and again to see him just as much as you would to eat the wonderful food.
Gopi, along with a very knowledgeable sommelier named Joel, did such an amazing job of pairing the 5-course meal. We started with Drums of Heaven and Beets Kachori for appetizers, paired with white wine named Gruner Veltliner.
For our second course we had a Coromandel favorite … Scallops Malai paired with Fume Blanc. The wine was a perfect complement to the succulent, juicy scallops and the heavenly, delicate, creamy sauce that went with it. The wine actually brought out the sweetness of the scallops in a magical way.
Third course was Chicken Bhuna…a deeply flavorful, kind of spicy chicken dish with drier gravy. It was paired with a Zinfandel. The sweetness of the Zinfandel went perfectly with the spicy kick of the chicken.
For our fourth course, we had Gopi’s favorite dish, Ghustaba - New Zealand Lamb Chops marinated in yogurt and other spices and aromatics. It was grilled to perfection, and we could not get enough of this stuff. Most of us could be caught discarding our cutlery and chomping on the meat with our bare hands… best way to make sure each morsel of meat makes it into your mouth, right? The flavors in this dish were more delicate than the chicken dish before and it was paired perfectly with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fifth and final course was dessert. As a very special treat, Gopi decided to serve us one of his childhood favorites from when he was growing up in the state of Kerela. The dish was called Pazham Pori. He told us that he has wonderful memories of this dessert and was disappointed to realize that in restaurant settings it is almost impossible to keep an item like this on the menu. It is fried ripe bananas with a wonderful crunchy exterior batter, served with light and sweet coconut ice cream. There is only one word to describe this dish… YUM!! And the decadent Moscato wine served with it was double YUM!
Bottoms up, people!