Desi food lovers, rejoice!
- Tasneem serves lip-smacking Indian fare tailored to Nepali palates—full of exotic spices, and not too fiery.
- Bite Right
May 21, 2015-
Perhaps you are familiar with Tasneem’s Indian Cuisine–a neat Indian takeout that Tasneem Shahani started some 11 years ago. Even if you were unaware of it, you are in for a scrumptious surprise, now that Shahani has opened up her own dine-in restaurant, aptly called the ‘Tasneem’s Kings Kitchen.’
Tasneem’s food philosophy
Shahani’s cuisines are generically Indian, but her culinary roots belong to the Bhori Muslim community of western India—best known for their skills in trading and cooking. According to Bhori dining norms, all the members of a family are to feast together from a single large metal dish, a food-ritual that reflects the famous adage: “A Bhori family that eats together, stays together.” Before you proceed to dig in, a server will offer you a traditional utensil for you to wash your hands. But that’s not the only authentic Bhori touch at Tasneem’s.
Even the ambience upstairs, you’ll notice, mimics a typical Bhori dining area with unique chairs that require you to loosen your shoes and be seated cross-legged around the low-table rather cosily. The patterns of the furniture and on the walls are rather interesting and unlike the pale or overly artsy ones elsewhere.
What we had
The Chicken Cream Tikka, or Kandi Tikka, has the familiar tandoor-infused taste, but it is tender and less chewy inside than the usual fare, and balanced with a crispy exterior. The secret, according to Shahani, is in the way it is prepared.The skewered boneless chicken is beaten to near-pulp and then coated with a mix of traditional herbs and semolina before being simmered slowly.
The Butter Chicken here showcases a rare combination of full-bodied spices and rich cream ; it’s a concoction of textures and tastes unique to Shahani. This chicken dish is a divine companion for rice, naan or pulao, and its notes linger in your mind long after you have polished it off.
Mutton Bhuna Keema
The mutton is minced to perfection in this dish: it’s neither so fine that the meat bits feel like paste, nor so big that their size prevents them from absorbing the character of the gravy. The mince meat is mixed with green peas, coriander and herbs, so that the meaty goodness comes through, without carrying along with it the gamey flavour that many people are put off by. The oiliness may be slightly overwhelming, though: “That’s because we use sunflower oil, which is low in saturated fats and cholesterols,” says Shahani.
Chicken Tikka Biryani
Tasneem stumbled upon her Tikka Biryani, she says, while she was experimenting with variations of the traditional dish. The rice is fluffy and the tikka pieces are charred just right, with the gravy creating great marbled layers.
Shahani has made an effort to incorporate her lifelong expertise and passion for cooking and serving, which she says is the main reason that her patrons have stayed loyal to her cooking all these years. “I also love talking to my customers. My conversations have taught me a lot about what people in Kathmandu prefer and have helped me alter my cuisines according to their (health and taste) requirements,” says Shahani.
And if all that wasn’t enough to convince you of Tasneem’s culinary merits, they are serving larger takeaway orders, in kilos, for the very first time in Kathmandu. This is not a temporary offer and taking advantage of it makes complete sense as you will be paying less, and having more fun, than if you were to opt for individual plates. For more details on prices, contact the restaurant.
Tasneem’s King’s Kitchen
Beside Fire Brigade station, Pulchowk
For takeouts & reservations: 9801282727
Published: 22-05-2015 03:01