Savory curries from Nepal in Highwood
Nepali dumplings called “MoMo” served with a sizzling hot achaar, a hand-mixed Eastern-flavored and mustard-colored dip. | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
Curry Hut Restaurant
410 Sheridan Road, Highwood
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Monday - Friday; noon-2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Dinner: 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
In Chicago: 899 S.
Plymouth Court, Chicago
Updated: October 17, 2012 3:09PM
“That is my one identity and I wanted to introduce my culture,” said Nepal-born Bala Ghimire, owner of Curry Hut Restaurants in Highwood and Chicago.
Nine years ago, Ghimire opened his first Curry Hut in Highwood, fulfilling his vision of a restaurant reminiscent of the small shacks in his homeland where his mother and grandmother cooked fragrant curry dishes.
Techniques for authentic Nepalese cooking differ from Indian, Ghimire explains, in that they use less fat, cream and butter. Also, the Nepalese cook most foods — the chewy naan breads, vegetables, fish and meats — over charcoal inside a traditional, barrel-shaped clay oven, the tandoor.
Curry Hut’s cook Tito Tepox shows how he manipulates naan dough, then fairly throws it against the wall of the tandoor where it bubbles and bronzes in a matter of seconds. Made with garlic, onion, cheese or meats it is a feast by itself or becomes the perfect sponge to sop up the Hut’s dozens of aromatic, rich curry dishes.
“Curry means there is not one single curry. There are a hundred different dishes,” said Ghimire.
He explains that a curry is a mixture of spices, known as a masala, which can include any of many elements, including cumin, ginger, garlic, cardamom, coriander and turmeric.
The Hut’s hot curry dishes are served in copper pots, then kept warm by candlelight.
Greatly popular is the Chicken Makhani or “Butter Chicken,” so nicknamed for its soft, rich texture — not its fat content ($12.95). Shrimp Curry with seasonal, butterflied shrimp in luxurious gravy ($14.95), and the MoMo steamed dumplings with minced chicken and sizzling achaat sauce ($9.95) are also favorites.
Not to be missed is the Dal Makhani, a densely-flavorful dish of whole black lentils seasoned with ginger, tomatoes and a bouquet of herbs ($10.95) and the Lamb Sahi Korma, succulent pieces of lamb in an opulent cashew gravy heightened with cream and dried fruits ($13.95).
Cool your taste buds with a chilled Mango Lassi made of churned yogurt infused with mango puree ($3.95).
“I request all North Shore residents to not be afraid of Indian or Nepalese cuisine. Come experience it, you will love it,” said Ghimire.
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