This blog entry is written for my dear friend Prashantha Lachanna (Prish) and in review of the first and absolutely glorious Night of Decadence. 
My mother would always tell me, “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” What my mother didn’t tell me is that when you’re consuming a mouthful of goodness, the last thing on your mind, really, is talking. Eating suddenly becomes the main priority.
Well, I had a mouthful the other night. A mouthful of apple-bokchoy salad, crunchy vegetable salad, raita, beetroot porial, paneer sour curry, dal, aloo matar, white chicken biryani, mutton curry, and soji. And now that I’ve eaten all of this, I’m ready to write. 

Before I begin describing this feast, let me lay out the guidelines of my review system and tell you a little about my palette – that is, sense of taste – so you know where I’m coming from in terms of food. I will rate these dishes from 1 to 10 chef hats, 

  • 1 chef hat being really didn’t please my mouth at all and hope to never eat it again, 
  • 5 chef hats being it tasted nice but probably wouldn’t choose to eat it again, and 
  • 10 chef hats being absolutely divine experience for my taste buds and would pick this item on a menu any day. 

I am a spicy and flavorful girl when it comes to my food, and when I take a bite of something, I like substance and a rich aftertaste that reminds me why I’m going to take another bite. And now, for the feast…

Apple-Bokchoy Salad served with mature English cheddar and simple salt/pepper dressing

This was a leafy salad. The flavors made my taste buds dance a little. I’m actually not a big salad-eater; if I’m going to eat a leaf, I prefer it to be wrapped around a piece of meat or something with a substantial texture. I would have definitely gone for more apple slices and cheddar chunks in this salad, because for me that was where the satisfaction of the bite was. 

4 chef hats. 

Crunchy Vegetable Salad purple cabbage, carrot, turnip, and peanuts in an orange/lemon/mustard dressing

There are two things on this colorful menu that left my taste buds in raving pleasure and this is one of them. My dentils were crunching on health. There were absolutely no leaves in this salad – only bite after and bite of hardy vegetables dressed in a tangy sauce. I’m a big fan of mixed vegetable juices with splash of citrus, and this salad fit the ticket. I pick this one every time.

10 chef hats.

Raita a palate-cooling yogurt, mint, cucumber salad

This dish was absolutely delightful. The chef recommended eating it with rice; it also proved to be a subtly flavorful addition to the other salads and dishes served through out the evening. I also think it would taste divine on just the right kind of bread. Any eater of yogurt-based foods would appreciate this salad.  

8 chef hats.

Beetroot Porial beets, enhanced with the flavor of chana dhal & mustard seed 

I have never eaten more beets in my life. I was one of those children who 
disdained anything on the dinner table that resembled beets; I must not have a appreciated the way the color of the stuff seemed to look at me. As a result, my mouth AND my immune system had been deprived of this life-giving, nutrient-supplying substance. This was definitely one of those dishes that opened my eyes to a whole other world of taste. Childhood picky-ness overcome in one bite of this Beetroot Porial!

7 chef hats.

Paneer Sour Curry paneer made from yogurt cheese in a sour tamarind chutney

If you have found yourself googling food terms as you are reading this, feel no shame. That’s exactly what I did the first time I read this menu, as I am referencing all the same terminology used by the chef herself. This paneer is incredible. It’s substantial and full like a potato yet soft and flavorful like a piece of cheesecake in your mouth. What’s more, I happen to love both sour things and curry, two concepts which collided in my mouth when I took a bite of this sour curry. The flavor was brilliant. I’m ordering this one again. 

10 chef hats.

Dal a dense, fragrant lentil stew

I love lentil stew. The only thing this dish was missing was the nan; I prefer scooping up my lentils with bread over eating them with rice. Nevertheless, the flavor of this stew was awesome, and it nicely accompanied any trace of any other food or flavor that might have still been in your mouth, not too overpowering but containing just the right blend of spices to satisfy. The perfect partner to any dish. 

8 chef hats.

Aloo Matar an improvisation of the traditional peas and potato curry, enhanced with ginger and the fragrant flavor of fresh basil

Other party guests were rather raving about this dish. It was undoubtedly filling and flavorful. However, my taste buds had been ruined by the paneer.  Still an excellently tasting curry, especially as ginger is one of my favorite spices. 

6 chef hats.

White Chicken Biryani a dish created by the chef’s mother in which the biryani is cooked in whole spices like cloves, cinnamon and star anise

The beans and rice surrounding the chicken in this dish were alone to die for. It contained a uniquely rich and almost overpowering mix of spices that completely infused the meat with a subtle sweetness – a very special flavor and an extremely satisfying mouthful of meat.

7 chef hats.  

Mutton Curry mutton cooked in curry and potatoes

This dish was quite the eating adventure. Mutton has always been a challenging meat for me to eat, as I have never been a fan of navigating through bones, especially in fish. However, mutton curry hit the spot, and I absolutely enjoyed the texture and spices of this dish. This is another one I’m ordering again. 

8 chef hats.

Soji semolina spiced with cardamom, roasted almonds and raisins

I fell in love at dessert. That’s really all there is to it. This dense, white-colored cake was an absolutely divine finish to every flavor of this feast. The nutty sweetness whets your taste buds while the texture fills and subdues your mouth with a satisfyingly delicious bite. Suddenly, your dining experience is complete, yet you can still take another bite. This dessert is also the perfect companion to wine, as the cake’s dense texture obligingly absorbs and enhances other richer flavors quite well. Adding cream to your piece is a dining option as well, creating a more moist texture in your mouth. I preferred sans cream, myself. My taste buds are still raving about this one. 

10 chef hats. 

There you have it. My two favorites were the crunchy vegetable salad and the soji. The dinner party was fabulous, the dishes, the hosting, and the company. Everything created a fresh evening of fellowship over food. I hope you enjoyed this potentially mouth-watering and hunger-evoking review. 

Let us all continue to be thankful for two of Life’s greatest gifts: friendship and food.


One thought on “mouthful

  1. Hey friend. I got to talk about you and our awesomely awful experience with stats today. As much as I was pretty sidetracked at that time so far as the Lord goes, I look back very fondly at those times, watching documentaries, agonizing over statistics, cranking out newspapers, and sharing our hearts through our art. The best part is, it's not over. It's just transformed into something else. I miss your heart. Write soon.

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