Munchies with Max: Paradise Found
Issue   |   Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:38
Photos by Max Gilbert ’13
Paneer Masala is cheese served in a spicy sauce, here accompanied by garlic naan.

Indian food is one of the best cuisines in the world. Everything from the meats to the vegetables to the fluffy, irresistible naan is spicy, flavorful and wonderful. My sister and father have less exotic palates than my mother and myself, so Indian food reminds me of my mom. We always go to the same Indian restaurant at home and, very unlike my adventurous appetite, get the same thing.

I started off the meal by sharing an order of Samosas, fried potatofilled turnovers. Almost like a giant fried wonton, the Samosas have a crispy, golden brown outside and a flavorful, smooth potato filling. They are served with the traditional trio of Indian condiments that I affectionately call green stuff, red stuff and brown stuff. I have no idea what is in them, I have no idea what they are called or how to pronounce them, but all of them are great. The green is cool and refreshing, the red chunky and hot and the brown sweet and sour. Really, any of them in any combination is good on anything, and Paradise of India does these three standard sauces very well.

For my meal, I was delighted to see Paneer Masala: cubed homemade paneer cheese sautéed in garlic, ginger and tomatoes with a creamy, spicy sauce. This dish is called something different at the Indian restaurant I always go to at home, but it was unmistakably the same thing. I also ordered some garlic naan, which was to be my last bread-fix before eight leavened-free days of Passover. The paneer was creamy and bursting with spicy, authentic Indian goodness. The naan was a buttery pillowy roasted garlic-infused carb bonanza that tastes almost like a cross between pita andgarlic bread.

Half the fun of an Indian meal is the eating style. I love to tear off a piece of the naan and spoon the dreamy sauces over it. Or, you could use some of the luxuriously sweet and fragrant basmati rice to mix in with the dish. There’s also always the option of spicing up the food some more with any of the aforementioned condiments. Mix it up, share and have a great time with your food!

I tasted a friend’s Lamb Vindaloo, and I was much less pleased with it than the rest of my meal. The sauce was just average and the lamb was fatty. Although the meat may not have been so great, at least I now know where I can get my favorite Indian dish in Amherst. The only drawback is that the food is not cheap, but the concession is that it’s very filling. Come hungry, bring at least a twenty and try something new!