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Nov 26th
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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

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Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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