(You guys, Aab India rocks. I was there twice last week. I cannot get enough. Please enjoy this review from my good friend Lakshmi, who I think we can consider an authority on the subject of Indian Food. Then proceed directly to Aab. You won't regret it!)
India is the most populous democracy in the world. Over 1 billion
people. Each region in India is unique in its own right; there are
28 recognized states in India, each possessing a unique identity of
its own. Most states have different languages and different cultural
practices. That means a lot of food.
And fortunately, Columbus is a city with a fairly large Indian
community. Large enough to have multiple Indian restaurants. Most of
the restaurants are in the suburbs, so it was a beautiful day when a
new restaurant opened within one mile of my apartment in Grandview.
AAB India is located on the main drag in Grandview. It is a North
Indian restaurant, specifically, food from the state of Punjab.
Punjab is a state in northwest India, and is definitely the most
universal cuisine in Indian restaurants because the food has a variety
of meat and vegetarian options and can be easily reproduced in mass
quantities. The food also has a lot of soul; the people in Punjab are
farmers, and the food is hearty so it will be filling through the work
day. In Indian cuisine, the spice is everything, and the spice
blend at the base of the food is called masala. Punjabi's food main
masala is ginger, garlic, and and onion. The masala will set the tone
for the flavor of the dish, and from here layers of vegetable, meat,
and cream will be added. Punjabi cuisine is also known for paneer.
Paneer is a milk cheese that is made by curdling heated milk with
lemon, or some other acid. Then, it can be cooked in a variety of
ways, typically savory. It's pretty much crack in a dish, however you
order it is delicious.
I am very fortunate to have friends that have diverse palates and
enjoy eating Indian food. I've been to AAB several times now, and
each meal that I've had has been spectacular. Friday night, a group
of my paneer-loving friends ventured out to Grandview to enjoy a nice
The restaurant was packed, and we had a cozy corner table for eight.
To start off the meal, we ordered some appetizers. Vegetable pakoras are a favorite of mine as my grandmother is the master pakora maker. Pakoras are essentially deep fried fritters; the
batter is made from gram flour (aka, chenna daal) and spices, and then
the vegetables are dunked into the batter and deep fried. There are a
variety of pakoras, including paneer, fish, and meats, but I like the
vegetable pakoras the best because I feel that spinch, onion, and
potatoes complement the gram flour batter the best.
The pakoras can be dipped in a variety of chutneys. Chutney is
essentially a condiment, a sauce that is normally coarse that is used
for dipping, or eating by the spoon fool. AAB serves three types of
chutney: tamarind chutney (sweet and sour), coriander chutney (mildly
hot), and onion chutney (spicy). I like to mix all three 'cause thats
the perfect bite to me. AAB's pakoras are great because the batter
isn't dense and clingy to the vegetables, I could eat about 40. We
also ordered aloo tiki, which is a potato cutlet, with spices and deep
fried. We didn't get a picture, unfortunately, because they were
engulfed at a quick pace.
On to the entrees. The main course. The big shazaam.
Last time we went to AAB, the table was a variation of two dishes.
This time, we made it to three.
Lamb saag: saag is another word for spinach, and spinach is used quite
Lamb korma: Korma is another saucy dish made from nuts, yogurt, the
masala base, and finished with cream. Korma is a dish traditional
from the Mughal dynasty of India, and incorporates cumin to the
seasoning. It has a nutty, spicy flavor, and is a great complement
to the various breads that can be ordered.
Lamb vindaloo: some say that vindaloo has no place in a north indianrestaurant. vindaloo hails from goa, goa is the smallest state in
india, and is in the southwestern corner of the country (right by my
home state of karnataka). vindaloo is originally derived from a
portuguese dish called "Carne de Vinha d' Alhos", the portuguese
settled goa. vindaloo is a vinegar-based dish with chilis, tomatoes,
meat, and potatoes. it's probably the most healthy of the entrees
that can be ordered at an indian restaurant since it is not cream
based. AAB adds potatoes to the vindaloo, which is a nice textural
contrast to the rice and the lamb. it can also be ordered with
chicken, fish, or vegetarian.
|Chicken Tikka Masala|
|Chicken tikka masala: chicken tikka masala is known to those in|
england (england has the largest indian population outside of india)
as "britain's true national dish," and that's a great thing because
tikka masala is absolutely delicious. a buttery, creamy, tomato-based
sauce, chicken tikka masala is a unique curry because the chicken is
marinated in yogurt, and then baked in the tandoor (a clay pot), then
mixed with the masala. i feel that chicken tikka masala is the most
favorite restaurant dish among non-traditional Indian food eaters
because the flavors are pretty universal and not overpowering. it's
pretty stinkin delicious.
a very high temperature. traditionally used for meats and breads,
tandoors are found in northern india.
Tandoori is used to describe the food cooked in a tandoor. and
tandoori chicken is probably the most popular dish to come out of a
tandoor. tandoori chicken is indian barbeque, essentially -- the
chicken is marinated for hours in yogurt and various spices (garam
masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, pepper, and paprika to make it red).
the tandoor makes the skin of the chicken nice and crispy, with these
delicious barbeque-like marks all over the meat. i love eating
tandoori chicken with wedges of lime squeezed on top, and alternating
bites of an onion. i know, onion, gross right? well, onion helps to
bring out the flavors of the marinade and is pretty tasty -- try it
CONCLUSION: AAB is amazing. you should really go, multiple times. in
fact, after this meal, I promptly went 4 days later. it is reasonably
priced, the service is impeccable, and the quality of food is
outstanding. although there isn't a lunch buffet on the weekend, it
is worth the trip to go for a great culinary experience.
*Editors Note*The formating is weird in this post. Blogger was acting up when I tried to post photos and I'm not going to fix it because I hate tedious tasks. It's my blog so shut it!!