Thursday, April 5, 2012

Breaker, Breaker...I'll have the Tandoori

The south is filled with many wonderful examples of the odd and the sublime. And for those of us who have suffered in silence pining for more ethnic cuisine here in West Tennessee, the odd and the sublime may have just landed off of Interstate 40 at exit 93.

For more than a decade, Jackson and surrounding areas have been without South Asian Indian cuisine. Many of us have had to drive to exotic foreign lands like Memphis and Nashville for our fill of curry and tamarind. But alas, our time has come. Hot, fresh and authentic Indian food is now a truck stop.

That's right. Behind the posters for Red Bull and cascading rows of Snickers and Mars Bars, the sound of Hindi is spoken through the crackling speaker of a television set. Colorful bowls of spicy pickles and chilies decorate the tables and through it all , the luring scent of cardamom and cumin tickle the senses.

'Taste of India' is Jackson's newest Indian cafe providing authentic dishes like curries, dosas and daals 24 hours a day. The menu is small but is filled with an assortment of savory Indian dishes. As a start, our party tried the paneer pakora. Paneer is a cheese made from cow's milk, lemon juice and vinegar. For the paneer pakora, the cheese is rolled in chickpea flour and then deep fried. We also tried the samosas. Samosas are baked or fried puff pastry filled with potatoes, onions, peas, lentils and seasonings. It is very good dipped into a tamarind based sauce called chutney.

We ordered a dish of butter chicken. Butter chicken also known as 'murgh makhani' is a dish of skinless chicken cooked with tomatoes, butter and garam masala spices. It can also be cooked in yogurt, garlic chili paste and cashew paste. It is a rich thick delicious stew of spices and savory bites.

Friends ordered the chicken curry which was a little spicy even thought they ordered the mild. However, they truly enjoyed it alongside a plate of mixed vegetables cooked in garlic, ginger, tomatoes and spices.

Taste of India also makes delicious homemade breads including 'roti' a bread made from wholemeal flour. It is an unleavened bread that is cooked on a traditional griddle called a 'tawa'. 

The meal was delicious and the service was great. The restaurant has plans of putting in a tandoor oven in the future which will add a number of grilled dishes to the menu. They have a small market which sells spices, lentils and Indian house ware products.

The chef that cooks for Taste of India is Punjabi. Punjabi cuisine is a food from the Punjab region of Northwestern Indian and eastern Pakistan. It is one of India's main culinary styles. Some of the dishes he creates are known as 'thalis' which are mixed platters of small dishes. It is truly a unique experience dining on food that has traveled from such distant lands in a cafe that services Kenworths, Peterbuilts and Mack Trucks. Very Unique...

Taste of India
I-40 Exit 93 
Jackson Tennessee

1 comment:

  1. We are punjabi and were just passing through on 40 when we saw the signs for the restaurant. We decided to stop and it although it seemed a little out of place at a truck stop.. the food was some of the best I've ever had. It beat some of so called top restaurants we've eating at in Tampa and Dallas. Chicken tikka masala was the best!