It's really daunting staring into a menu where you barely recognize anything.
(Don't get me wrong, I love Indian food and I've had Halal food many a time, but I've never really ordered off of a menu at an Indian restaurant or a Halal restaurant before because I've either gotten it from a cart, or ate it at a buffet)
I wandered in to a Pakistani and Indian Cuisine restaurant the other day when I went to go buy dinner for Matt and I--it was completely on a whim. This place is literally 5 mins away from my house in Irvine and I never even knew it was there.
I walked in to this part Halal market part restaurant, that was no bigger than small apartment living room, and the aroma of coriander, clove, and other spices filled my senses. So I went with my gut and picked up a menu--here comes the daunting part:
Mutter Pilau, Aloo-Ki-Tikeeh, Rajmah, Paneer Aaloo, Karahi Gosht--what is all this stuff?
The owner came up to me and asked if it was my first time; she could probably tell from the confusion on my face.
I asked her to recommend a few thing for a two person meal.
She said I had to try their two most popular items; the Tikka Boti Wrap Roll (which I had my eye on already, the picture just looked so good! And let's face it, anything in 'burrito' form, I'll eat), and she also suggested the Biryani, a rice dish.
I wasn't really buying into the rice dish. But one customer who was waiting for her pick up of Biryani endorsed it with enthusiasm. So I said, "Alright, I'll get that too."
And I would not regret it.
(Saffron basmati rice and masala sauce with chicken and lots of herbs and spices. It had lots of flavors that are signature to Middle Eastern/ Indian food. It was incredibly aromatic and delicious)
Tikka Boti Wrap Roll with Paratha and Goat Meat
(The meat is marinated in lots of herbs and spices and cooked in a tandoori oven and then wrapped with riata chutney and onions--it was good! I had goat meat for the very first time the other day per suggestion of, well, my curiosity. What better place to have it than a Halal restaurant and what better form to have it in than a Pakistani 'burrito'.
On the other hand, remember when I said that I absolutely love na'an? Well, I've found something better--paratha.)
Paratha is a flat bread that's flaky and crisp on the outside and doughy towards the center--if you've ever had Chinese green onion pancake, it's reminiscent to that in texture. The goat was surprisingly not as game-y as I thought it would be, but I think having it once is enough for me.
Birdie update: They grow up so fast! Look at all those new feathers.