Going Beyond Curry: Indian Dishes For The More Adventurous Palate
If you go to an Indian restaurant, like Deccan Spice, you probably order your favorite curry, and not even glimpse the menu. Sure, that is okay, because humans are creatures of habit, but you could be missing out on something really amazing that would expand your palate and blow your mind. The following Indian dishes are only for the more adventurous of eaters, and not for the faint of heart or stomach.
Chaprah is a chutney. Okay, so nothing new there. Hold on; before you pass on the chaprah as an adventurous dish, read the ingredient list. The primary ingredient is...fire ant eggs! Unborn baby fire ants, the kind that bite and sting with intense pain, are the source of heat in this popular Indian chutney. Some versions also incorporate actual fire ant adults, giving it an intense heat along with the slightly creepy sensation of crunchy, legged things in your mouth. Do not worry; they are dead, but they will still surprise you in other ways. That said, you might want to try just a little on the tip of your tongue before you smother a veggie burger with it.
Talk to any older generation about WWII things, and they will probably have a joke or two about "saltpeter." It purportedly suppresses sexual urges, but it would have to be consumed in large doses to get any sort of effect. That said, it is a surprising ingredient in this particular Indian dish. The food grade saltpeter is added to a pot of boiling water along with lots of peeled garlic. This mixture is boiled three times until it becomes a garlic mash. It is often served with pita chips as a snack or appetizer.
Shark meat is one thing, but fetal shark meat is quite another. Fishermen in India spend hours scavenging reefs, looking for shark pods or fresh-born baby sharks. It fetches quite the price in authentic Indian restaurants because of the difficulty in acquiring the young sharks' meat. It is boiled until tender, and served in a bowl with spicy sauces or curry, and maybe some oysters in the shell for accent pieces. Only the most successful Indian restaurants in the biggest American cities are able to make ambok tik. So, if you are desperate to try this dish, you may have to do some research and some travel to another major city just to get some ambok tik.