The Catonsville/Ellicott City area has become a bastion of Asian cuisine and we're all better for it. The new, elegantly decorated Sneha Indian Cuisine is a welcome addition to the scene. Recently, the Minx and I were invited to try out a selection of their menu items. Our host for the evening, general manager Ravi Kuriseti, hails from Andhra Pradesh in southern India where the cuisine is richly seasoned and often quite hot in the pepper sense, so we looked forward to seeing how different Sneha's spicy fare would be compared to other Indian restaurants we've tried.
Mr Kuriseti strives to make his dishes authentic and has secured for Sneha what he thinks are some of the best recipes from cooks all over India. Though he's from the south, the dishes at Sneha represent several of the various native cuisines of India. This includes many of the Punjabi dishes that come to mind when most Americans think of Indian food, such as items prepared in a tandoor oven.
Sneha doesn't have a liquor license, but if you don't want to BYOB, there are plenty of beverage options, from the yogurt drinks called lassi, to masala tea, to typical Indian soft drinks. The Minx is an avid reader of modern Indian literature, so was eager to try the drinks she had read about again and again - Thums Up and Limca. Thums Up is a cola that's a bit sharper in taste to something like Coke or Pepsi. Limca is a lemon/lime drink which seems to have that similar sharp quality. Not sure what's going on there, but it's definitely different from what we're used to in the U.S.
Pakoda, or pakora, when made with vegetables, tend to be like fritters. Chicken pakoda, however, are more like chicken nuggets: tender pieces of boneless chicken thigh that are lightly battered and fried. They're crispy, spicy, and juicy - definitely the best chicken pakoda (or pakora) we've ever had.
We also sampled three kinds of excellent naan--plain, garlic, and chili garlic--that were thinner and crisper than the pillowy stuff we were used to eating.
While many of the dishes we tried were familiar to us--the roganjosh, and the biryani, for example--they were far from typical. Much of the Indian food we'd eaten in the past was clearly geared toward the American palate, sweet and creamy. While there was no shortage of richness and cream at Sneha, the flavors were far more intense and there was a bit of heat in most of the dishes we sampled. It was an eye-opening experience and a meal that left me feeling quite contented.
Sneha Indian Cuisine
6600 Baltimore National Pike
Catonsville, MD 21228
Posted on Minxeats.com.