Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
One of the things that fascinates me about international food is how it evolves in a new place. You know that they are not eating pizza with ham and pineapple in the small villages of rural Italy. General Tso Chicken is also nowhere to be found in China (unless Americans brought it there).
But what’s even more fascinating is how the same cuisines have evolved differently in other countries. The new Babu Ji showcases Indian food, the way it is served in Australia. Owners Jessi and Jennifer Singh have three Indian restaurants in Australia and have brought one of their concepts to the East Village.
Babu Ji is a lively, bright Indian restaurant with a funky, casual vibe yet is quite different from the divey Indian restaurants you usually find around the city. The menu too is a bit more creative than we are accustomed to. Sure, there are samosas, butter chicken, and chaat. But there’s also yogurt filled croquettes, a scrumptious curry with raw scallops, and kulfi ice cream pops.
Everything was quite good, if a little expensive (especially since nothing came with rice or naan). But that scallop curry dish was exceptional.
The huge raw scallops provided a soft entryway into the rich curry. Coconut milk added a little sweetness to the deep aromatics of mustard seed and turmeric. Full of creamy, buttery flavors but with a definite earthy spice, it was unlike anything I had ever tasted at an Indian restaurant.
I imagine this particular dish is one created and refined by the chefs at Babu Ji, but I think it hints at another culture’s take on one of our favorite international cuisines. Now I can’t wait to see how the Dutch or the French do Indian food!!
|175 Avenue B (at 11th Street),