As I mentioned before, my dad is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. It wasn’t until he HAD to eat beans, rice and salsa to lower his cholesterol that he got a taste for my mom’s Mexican home cooking. Last Friday, mom and I discovered something wonderful. His horizons are expanding.
We were in Fort Wayne, IN doing some shopping and it got to be about supper time. Mom said she’d be happy with a Wendy’s Fish sandwich, but she would be very appy if we could go to the Indian restaurant which we were very close to. She assured him that he could find something “American” on the menu. I knew that this was not the case, but I kept my mouth shut.
When we arrived at the Taj Mahal our regular host, Leslie, came to our table and greeted us as he has for the past 7 years. He’s made a point to know our and our kids names and is very aware of what our usual order is by now. The atmosphere is quiet and comfortable with the penetrating odor of food prepared with many different curry styles.
Our absolute favorite dish from the menu is the Chicken Tikka Masala. It is chunks of white meat chicken prepared in a sauce of tomato, yogurt, heavy cream and curry to your liking. Mom and I knew right away that we would be ordering that with an order of Paner Kulcha (traditional Indian bread with fresh cheese inside). Really, the only reason Mom was even looking at the menu was to find a suitable meal for my dad.
“Where are their sandwiches?”, she asked. I just shook my head no as my dad sat there with a grimmace on his face. I sat back and thought, “OH Great!”. Somehow she found something that would be suitable. From the appetizer menu she told him to order the Chicken Pakora. Pretty much the Indian equivalent of chicken fingers coated in a tempura batter and fried to perfection. I tried to encourage him to try the Mulligatawny, since I know he likes soup, to no avail. He simply agreed to sample the bowl I ordered for DD1. They brought the soup and the chicken pakora first. He finished the little plate of chicken fingers and tasted the Mulligatawny without seeming overly impressed. He’s not a sauce man, other than hot sauce, so the mint chutney and berry sauce were merely decoration for his plate.
In quick fashion as usual our meals arrived. The Paner Kulcha fresh and steaming hot our of their traditional Indian oven. A mounding bowl of basmati rice prepared with cloves and a bit of saffron sat in the middle of the table for us to share, it’s essence filling the table with a wonderful perfume. Then came the chicken in it’s creamy bright orange sauce inviting us to devour it. Mom is very forward and just told Dad to put some on his plate.
He took a generous helping of rice and a small spoonful of the Chicken Tikka Masala along with a pice of the Paner Kulcha. He finished his sample of the chicken and to my surprise and delight he went back for more, and more, and more. At the end of the meal Mom asked him what he thought to which Dad replied, “The rice is rather plain, but the chicken is really delicious. I could use some more of that bread. It was really good.”
I thought I was going to bounce out of my seat I was so happy. As soon as we got home I told DH the good news. All he had to say was, “How can anyone not like that chicken!?!” Now we don’t have to tiptoe around the suggestion of going to the Taj Mahal when we are in Fort Wayne with my dad. It is very hard having to accomodate someone who is very picky and very satisfying when you see them open their horizons.
If you are ever in Fort Wayne I highly recommend visiting the Taj Mahal restaurant in Time Corners off Jefforson Road south of Jefferson Pointe mall.