Fearless Indian Cuisine: South Anchorage Cuisine Is Even Better for Mandala’s Arrival | Food drink

Dinner: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Of all the things that could be done to stave off this ongoing pandemic, opening a restaurant is unlikely to be at the top of the list. But that’s exactly what Sanjay Shrestha did when he opened Mandala Restaurant about a year ago in South Anchorage. And the city is only better, having previously lacked what is quickly becoming one of my favorite cuisines.

Mandala continues the local trend of offering a hybrid of Indian and Nepalese foods, although the former does the heavy lifting here. In fact, the only Nepalese dish I have been able to discern are momos – small plump dumplings filled with lamb, chicken or vegetables that are steamed and served with a dipping sauce. In other words, the perfect gateway app for the uninitiated, as the rest of the menu is arguably a little intimidating.

I decided to forgo the familiar this time and order something out of the blue. I settled for the pappadi cat and was rewarded with one of the most bizarre flavor combinations I’ve ever experienced in a long, long time. It could best be described as a confusing mix of chickpeas, onions, potatoes and fried dough sheets similar to wonton strips, all topped with a fruity tamarind chutney, chilled yogurt and spices such as asafoetida, which lent a nice pungent smell to the whole deal.

Frankly, I’ve never had anything like it. Bite after bite, I quickly developed a craving due to its complex texture and biting heat, to be tamed by the occasional dose of dairy. It was a wild concoction that I would be happy to revisit over and over again.

Pappa cat

And that was just the start. Sure, there’s the well-established chicken tikka masala or the butter chicken – which I both enjoyed here and highly recommend for beginners – but I’m all for adventurers and I was already on the roll. Naturally, I went with the achari chicken which has been described as a “spicy pickle curry”. It was actually pretty straightforward with nice acidity and a deep vegetable backbone. Most impressive was the fact that the chicken remained tender despite expectations. The only thing I was missing was some kind of spiciness, which could have taken the dish to a whole new level. But after looking at my receipt later, I noticed that every item we ordered was labeled “sweet.” We were never told otherwise – something I will be sure to rectify on my next visits.

The dal makhani was desirable in itself. Rich, earthy and creamy with sprinkled lentils, it was the perfect accompaniment to the large serving of perfectly chewy basmati rice. Think rice and beans with a South Asian twist.

Unfortunately, a disappointing facet of this meal was the cheese naan. While the bread itself was pleasantly crisp and could certainly stand on its own, the cheese was sparse and was nothing more than a thin, almost imperceptible layer.

I guess this is a win for my lactose intolerance.

There is so much more to this restaurant that appeals to me, from its huge selection of desserts to its tandoori meats, which seem to be served on a sizzling fajita platter. To come full circle, the dominant thought I had while dining at the Mandala is how lucky I am to live in a diverse community full of risk-takers ready to challenge societal disasters to shed light on their culture at home. through his food.

While it might not have the main appeal of some of its predecessors, Mandala has a lot to offer for those who heed the fearless eating call.

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