Indian food is a rich tapestry of culinary threads woven together over thousands of years. A new Indian restaurant, The Copper Chimney offers sumptuous dishes influenced by Persia and Central Asia in creamy kormas and kebabs cooked in a clay tandoor oven. Owner Jasmine Oberoi chats with customers and presents the food beautifully with colorful garnishes. She grew up in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh in North India and learned to cook from her mother. She and her husband Gurvinder have lived in places as diverse as Bahrain, New Zealand and Orlando because of the needs of his software company. They recently relocated to Sunny Isles and couldn’t find an Indian eatery so Jasmine hired a Delhi-born chef and created an elegant space with a full bar and signature Kama Sutra martini. Lucknow flourished as a cultural and artistic capital in the late 18th century and is renowned for a refined cuisine, a legacy of the Nawab princes who governed it. Royal cooks perfected the technique of dum pukht (slow steaming). For a taste try parda gosht biryani made with spice-marinated lamb layered with rice. The lid of the pot is sealed shut with bread dough allowing the meat to steam in its juices and infusing the rice with the flavors of saffron, cinnamon, cloves and mint. There are also versions made with shrimp or vegetables. The tandoori platter brings char-grilled chunks of chicken including safed (in spiced yogurt-cashew paste), tulsi (with holy basil), and tikka (marinated in saffron laced yogurt), plus sausage-shaped ground chicken gilafi (meaning “pillow” and gilded in beaten egg), saffron salmon, and shrimp angaare (seared in blackened butter). It comes with crispy wonton cups filled with tangy chutneys, hot onion sauce and sweet green papaya relish. One of the best kormas is khazan-e-lazzat or “treasured delicacy”. Soft potato dumplings stuffed with a mixture of cheese and sun-dried tomatoes are simmered in delicately spiced cream and nut gravy. Or surrender to paneer lababdar (meaning “to love”) in creamy tomato sauce laced with fennel seeds. There’s also pepper lamb chops, buttery garlic naan and carrot pudding with raisins to complete the edible mosaic here.
The Copper Chimney is located at 18090 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles (behind the KFC in RK Plaza), 305-974-0075
Carrot Halwa (Pudding)
This is one of the simplest Indian sweets, although it does require constant stirring to keep the sweet mass from scorching. It has a coarse, lumpy texture. Serve warm or chilled garnished with chopped pistachios and a dollop of yogurt, if desired.
4 large carrots, coarsely grated
4 cups whole milk
1 cup of sugar
1 to 2 cardamom pods, split open and the small seeds crushed
Put the grated carrots and milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered to keep the milk from curdling for about 25 minutes, stirring often. Add the sugar and crushed cardamom. Cook for another 10 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and turns deep red in color. Remove from the heat and serve in bowls. Makes 6 to 8 servings, depending on size of the bowls.