Behind the Scenes

Culinary Field Notes: Spicing It Up at Dhaba

This month’s our culinary team visited Curry Hill, a small enclave named for its many Indian restaurants and spice shops.

As Plated’s recipe editor and a member of the Culinary team, part of my job involves going on a monthly field trip that’s all about eating. (I know: Life is tough!) We go out and explore NYC’s wonderfully colorful food scene in order to bring back inspiration for the dishes you see on the menu every week. Things got a bit spicy on our latest jaunt to Curry Hill, a small enclave named for its many Indian restaurants and spice shops.

In India, dhabas are truck stops that serve bright, vibrant meals. On the Culinary team’s recent visit to Dhaba—a popular restaurant in the heart of Curry Hill—we found the food just as delightful and lively as the roadside establishments for which it was named. Its busy menu of more than 100 items includes a slew of North Indian dishes along with some British-style curries. From the crowd of giddy diners and smiling waiters to the aromatic buffet and multi-colored lights, this was our kind of lunch joint—and we could hardly wait for our food to arrive. And since this trip coincided with the approach of Thanksgiving, we made sure to order plenty—our nod to a holiday that’s all about sharing food around a table.


We started with kurkuri bhindi (pictured), a dish of spicy, crispy okra with a satisfying crunch that I thought about fondly long after the meal had ended. Then there was panipuri, a beloved street food of miniature fried bread cups filled with a blend of flavored water, tamarind paste, chickpeas, and spices. Baingan bharta—an irresistible vegetarian dish of minced eggplant combined with chili, onions, and a medley of spices—was one we unanimously loved for its rich depth of flavor. We’re already thinking of ways to adapt it for Plated, so definitely look for an inspired version on an upcoming menu.

Between mouthfuls of warm garlic naan bread, assortments of sweet and savory dipping sauces, and fragrant bowls of Indian classics, we thought of you—and look forward to putting our favorite flavors from this field trip into some of the dishes you choose from regularly. Happy Thanksgiving, from our kitchen to yours.


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