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Gujarti chowdown - Sultan restaurant July 11th (long)


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Gujarti chowdown - Sultan restaurant July 11th (long)

janet of reno | | Jul 12, 2004 01:46 PM

First of all: an apology to my fellow chowhounds. I had to leave in a rush last night and not sure if I said goodbye. Jerry was double-parked after getting the car out of the garage which closed at 9:30, and very anxious to get home. He drove like it too: Taylor St. to our front door in Reno in three hours flat. One stop in Auburn to refuel driver with coffee and car with gas. Gotta be a record.

Also, I feel badly because price came out higher than estimated. Part of the problem may be because of the complicated subterfuge we had gone through to keep the owners from knowing it was a chowdown event. As a result, we had several people making reservations and discussing menus. I got one menu at one price, and then sister Susan called for the second reservation and added items to the menu (at my instruction; I admit: I couldn't choose between the cabbage and the eggplant and the corn vadas and the potatoe fritters!). It never occured to either one of us that the added items would mean added cost. duuuhhh.... As further proof of my contrition, I am making a nice donation to chowhound "goodwill" today to cover any of you who might not have felt like adding more money to the chowhound cause after paying the bill......

Now on to the good news: Jerry and I both thought the food was excellent!! It was served in true Gujarti style: on the thali with servers coming around and offering more of the items that folks wanted (basically all you could eat, and we did eat a lot!). As I told someone at the table, the meal we had last night was identical with one we might have been served as important guests in a Gujarti home. A typical family meal would have been similar, just fewer dishes.

Here was the menu:

Corn vada (fritters)
Bataka (potatoe) fritters
puri (bread -- deep fried chapatis, basically)
mint and mango chutneys
mango pickle
cabbage sak (cabbage "curry" - curry is an anglocized word for a stew or vegetable presentation. "sak" or as its sometimes written "shak" is the Gujarti word).
eggplant-pea sak (see above)
pan-fried okra
dry potatoe sak
Chunna (black garbanzo beans)
yellow dahl
kadhi (yogurt sauce for rice and dahl)
basmati rice
fruit custard desert

I particularly liked the cabbage; this is one of my favorite Gujarti dishes. The cabbage is stir fried with tumeric, black mustard seeds, and a few other spices. Someone described it as "Gujarti slaw" It almost is, but the cabbage is cooked (although it is still a little crunchy...). The eggplant-peas were also delicious, and I don't even like eggplant. Okra was excellent as well: I am always amazed at how Gujarti cooks manage to cook okra without making it slimy.

The food was appropriately spiced. Gujarti food is not usually "picante" as much as it is spiced with a variety of aromatic spices (coriander, cumin, tumeric, ginger, cloves, etc). Some cooks make it more "picante" than others...this was about a medium level.

Jerry and I both look forward to future Sunday visits to Sultan for Gujarti food. Its the next best thing to visiting one of my sister-in-laws! I'm looking forward to hearing all of your reactions....