Practising ophthalmologist Dr Arun Jairath studied medicine in the UK, where he dined at eateries that served delectable Indian meals. However, he found no similar eateries in South Africa, and with that, The Raj was born. For more than 20 years, The Raj has brought the intense and zesty flavours of North India, to Gauteng. The restaurant has branches throughout Johannesburg, and opened a branch at Waterfall Corner, in Midrand.
The authentic Indian cuisine is whipped up using an assortment of culinary styles from the Southern Asian land, such as tikka masala, vindaloo, korma and bhoona. The chefs heading up the kitchen all originate from India and are armed with the knowledge and skills that have been passed down through seven generations of passionate cooks. The secret to their dishes’ sharp and gratifying taste, is without a doubt, spices- all of which are imported from India.
The starters seasoned with these spices include the Murgh Malai Tikka, comprising chicken breasts soaked in yoghurt, cream and cashew nut sauce, before being grilled in the tandoori oven. Another starter grilled in this oven is the Paneer Tikka- homespun Indian cheese covered in a tomato, pepper and onion chutney. Also included in the array of starters is the popular snack of Samoosas, which may be stuffed with a mixture of cheese and corn, lamb or chicken.
For your main meal, tuck into the much-loved Indian classic of Butter Chicken, made by marinating chicken pieces and cooking them in butter and creamy tomato gravy. For a more piquant take on poultry, try the Chicken Vindaloo, a Goanese curry prepared with potatoes, and a blend of red chillies, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and cumin. If you’re craving meat, swap the chicken for lamb to enjoy the Lamb Vindaloo.
The seafood options, especially those containing prawns, are simply divine. When preparing the Prawn Bhoona, prawns are flavoured with garlic, ginger and sundried coriander, then sautéed in yoghurt and tomato gravy. Vegetarians are in for a treat with dishes such as Dahl Makhni being featured on the menu. It is created by cooking black lentils on a slow fire, with herbs and sun-dried spices, and rounded off with a dose of fresh cream and butter.
After satisfying your palate with tangy fare, spoil your sweet tooth by indulging in the decadent desserts, many of which are milk-based, and garnished with fruit and nuts. Kulfi, putting an Eastern spin on ice cream, is made by flawlessly condensing milk and scented with saffron, whereas Gajar Halwa is a carrot pudding sprinkled with nutmeg and cardamom.
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