Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jul 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Foodie File: Maharaja

fdfile indianChef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

Last December, a new Indian restaurant opened in the spot once held by Royal Taj. While it occupies the same building, it is a very different restaurant, immediately striking in its elegant ambience. It’s filled with gorgeous pieces of Indian art and paintings, and a soothing soundtrack of traditional Indian music. Each plate at the table setting even has the restaurant’s logo emblazoned on it. “Presentation is everything,” head chef Didar Singh told us regarding the building’s updated look.

GT: You have an extensive menu of mostly northern Indian dishes. In particular, you offer quite a few vegan dishes.

Didar Singh: Yes. The more people that like vegan food, the more I like to do vegan food in my kitchen. A few are aloo gobhi mattar, channa masala, and jeera aloo—which is a little spicy, and has onion and tomato flavors. Our naan is vegan, too. We are trying to promote more vegan food.

One of your most popular vegan items is the appetizer, vegetable pakora. What is that?

That’s mixed vegetables like spinach, potato, cauliflower, onions. We use chickpea flour as our batter and it’s fried. It has a crispy texture. It’s a little bit fluffy around the vegetables. It’s like an explosion of flavors. You have to try it.

One of your curries is the jaz frazie. Tell me about that. 

It’s medium spicy, with an onion and tomato gravy sauce, with carrots, bell peppers, potatoes and peas mixed in a with whatever you want, chicken or lamb. It’s not a runny sauce, or very thick, it’s in-between. It’s got a bit of spice, but when you eat it, you don’t feel it. It just blends right in.

A lot of people skip dessert at Indian restaurants, but you carry ras malai. Why should people try it?

It’s a cottage cheese patty which has a cardamom, almond flavor to it. It’s not rice pudding, but it’s a sauce similar to the rice pudding [kheer]. The ras malai takes four hours to make. The patty is boiled. It’s a long process. It’s very soft and spongy. The name ras means “sweet,” but it’s not too sweet, although sweet is its only taste, nothing else.


270 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz. 427-2666. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover