After eating Indian food in London I honestly didn’t think I would find a place where I could find some delicious, light Indian food here locally. (Except my second family’s house who are Bengali Americans) 🙂 I love Indian food, and one needs to understand the regionality of Indian food, it’s not just one thing that encompasses the cuisine as it is affected by whatever region it comes from or the people come from. This is true of most cuisines, a fact we tend to misunderstand and by understanding this we can then enjoy the many regions and/or states that make up each unique cuisine within India. What I really liked about Saffron Indian Grill in Tewksbury was the appearance of street food and various chutneys on the menu. Things like “Chaat’s or “Bhaji’s” and tamarind or coriander chutneys. These flavors come through for me in a way that I can’t really describe, by getting the four elements of salt, fat, sweet and acid it really takes cuisine to the next level.
My friends brought me here for my birthday, and before this, I hadn’t heard of Saffron, so I was excited to see what they offered, and considering that I saw various street food on the menu as well as other regional specialties I was excited. After perusing their menu, we decided to share several things so we could try a few different flavors. While this time we didn’t try the chaats or bhaji’s we did have some delicious food listed below and after experiencing the flavors of these dishes I literally cannot wait to visit Saffron again and try more of their regional cuisine.
- Naan (two different kinds)
- Goan Fish Curry
- Veggie Samosa
- Chicken Samosa
- Mango Lassi
- Chicken Korma
- Gulab Jamun
Indian food touches your soul before it touches your tastebuds. There’s heaven in every bite. – Preethi Grace Sugirtha
Let’s start by talking about the Naan. We ordered two different kinds, one that was chili and cheese-based and another that had meat in it. What is Naan? It is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in West, central and southeast Asian countries even going as far as the Caribbean. This Naan was the perfect accompaniment to our meal, soaking up the rich Korma and Goan fish curry flavors.
Absolutely delicious and fresh Naan
Speaking of Goan Fish Curry, you may be wondering what “Goan” means. Goan cuisine has its origin in Goa, which is an Indian state located on the west coast of India, along the shores of the Arabian sea. This cuisine is deemed incomplete without fish as seafood is one of the main staples of Goan cuisine. This cuisine is heavily influenced by Portuguese flavors. This dish was just a little spicy, with a rich flavor in its broth and the fish was perfectly cooked. I was really impressed by this fish dish, it was so delicate yet had many complex flavors. Quite enjoyable.
Goan Fish Curry | Firm whitefish sauteed with chilies, coconut milk, herbs & spices and a touch of lime
Next were some delicious samosas packed to the brim with a savory and spicy filling. Samosas are said to have originated in the Middle East where it goes by “sambosa” prior to the 10th century. It was then said to have been introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th and 14th centuries. I have had many iterations of this delicious appetizer, and these were right in line. Spicy, savory, and filled to the brim with veggies and meat. Both the veggie and chicken samosas were delicious.
Fried to perfection with accompanying chutneys
Inside of the chicken samosa
Beautiful baskets of fried goodness
Mango Lassi’s have been my favorite beverage since I first had one years ago, and every time I go somewhere that has them I try to check them out. It seems there is always a little bit of difference depending, some have rose water, or cardamom or something that changes it just a bit. At its core, it is a yogurt-based drink, creamy and with strong mango flavors. Lassi originated somewhere around 1000 BC in the Indian subcontinent and is better known as a salty beverage, whereas the mango flavors came much later and is most popular in America, Malaysia, and other areas. It is said to have ayurvedic properties and to have a calming effect on the stomach. The four of us ordered the Mango Lassi which was on the menu, and it was so enjoyable, refreshing and delicious.
Mango Lassi | Saffron Grill offers the sweet, salty and mango versions
Before we get to the dessert I want to talk a little bit about the other main component of our meal which was the Chicken Korma, Korma is a mild, raisin paste based sauce. It is one of my favorites and I could eat it for days. I have had it in a couple of other cuisines like Himalayan or Nepalese and absolutely fell in love with since day one. My favorite way to eat it is both with basmati rice and naan (carb loading all the way). Saffron Grill’s iteration of this was perfection. Smooth, mild yet still spicy, with a slightly sweet tinge that went so well with the strong savory components of the rest of our meal. Korma can be traced all the way back to the 16th century and is specifically a Mughlai dish. See what I am talking about? So many different influences in Indian cuisine, that it makes me want to seek out very specific cuisines within the Indian subcontinent to get a taste of as much as I can. How about you? How many different flavors have you experienced from the different states/and or regions of India?
Korma is all the way to the right, rich, creamy and delicious
Such a perfect meal.
We ended with a sweet note in Gulab Jamun which are these little delicious Indian sweets. They remind me of mini donuts, and while incredibly sweet, usually just having a couple is just the right amount to end your meal on a good note.
Gulab Jamun | Deep fried milk dumplings soaked in sugar and rose petal syrup flavored with cardamom
I truly enjoyed our meal at Saffron Grill, it took me back to some great memories I have of eating Indian food for the first time as a 19-year-old working with a local Bengali American family and falling in love with Bengali flavors and dishes. I will never forget those memories and as the years go on I just keep finding things to love about regional Indian food and I love learning the history of all these regions and what they offer as a whole to our senses. I hope you will join me on this adventure and go head to Saffron Grill for yourself and other Indian restaurants and really try to find the most unique flavors as I do.
Never forget to go on your own adventures and do your own research. I love sharing my experiences with you all and hope you will continue to read with open minds and hearts!
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Always learning something new,
Life as a Maven