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Tangra Masala report

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Tangra Masala report

Eric Eto | Apr 16, 2002 01:46 PM

I'm starting to get the hang of this Indian-Chinese thing, and really enjoying it. One thing that seems to stand out to me about this particular fusion is that it seems more organic than other ethnic fusions that I've encountered. As opposed to something like Cuban-Chinese, or French-Cambodian, where you're more apt to see the ethnic cuisines as separate parts of the menu, I'm surprised by how "fused" the cuisine is with the indian-chinese thing. I don't know the origin of the cuisine itself, if it began with chinese immigrants in india or if it began as a border cuisine (it seems that prior discussions have made a case for either), but regardless, the end product is good food. While my indian friends seem to have a sentimental place for something called chili chicken, it seems that the chili chicken here (and at Chopsticks, the other chinese-indian takeout joint up the street) serve this dish like a highly spiced and fresh chili laden General Tzo's chicken in a brownish gravy. While their chili chicken is good, it seems that the version of this chicken dish they long for is more similar to the dishes cooked "tangra masala" style, which is in an even spicier, bright red sauce. This seemed to please my friends nicely. My recent discovery is anything cooked "manchurian" style. I've tried beef and goat cooked this way. Again, the fusion between indian and chinese styles seem evident in this dish. The ginger in the sauce is powerful, and the bits of cilantro cooked into the sauce injects a bright flavor and the additional spices meld it all together. This sauce seems to be made for goat as it hides a lot of the gaminess without masking its flavor. Besides the dishes i've already mentioned, I really enjoyed the fish in chili sauce, the chicken pakora appetizers (really nice hot sauce to accompany this), and tangra masala fish. The person doing the frying here is quite skilled at turning out nicely crisp, and non-greasy morsels. If you have room for desserts, it might be a good idea to cool off with one of their ice creams. I believe what I had was called Kulfi, which was made from rosewater.

Besides the good food, the people who run Tangra Masala are very friendly and welcoming. They also have one of the cleanest bathrooms i've ever seen in a restaurant and this cool soap dispensing machine.

Tangra Masala is located in Elmhurst, Queens near the southwest corner of Queens Blvd and Grand Ave. (R/V/G train to Grand Ave/Newtown).

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