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Temple of turmeric



 Some cuisines are so heavily entrenched with cultural customs that the two become intertwined and, eventually, synonymous.

Indian food is very much that. Even within India, there are significant regional differences in cuisine and culture.

Gopuram Taste of India is an expansive sampling of northern and southern Indian cuisine.

Found especially in southern India, gopurams are ornate towers usually situated near a temple entrance. In OKC, Gopuram is a temple of sorts — a temple of saffron-, curry- and masala-scented dishes.

it’s been around since 1994, the chefs have had time to meticulously
cultivate their menu to suit and challenge the tastes of those who’ve
never tried Indian food, to those fans who wish they could hop on the
first plane to India and delight in an authentic meal.

a traditional experience, it’s important to have the naan ($1.50), a
flat bread made with flour and yeast. It typically has air pockets and
glistens with butter or oil on top for a little flavor. Try it with the
raita ($3), a yogurt sauce with cucumbers. Keep it on your table,
because it’s a nice break if something gets too spicy.

you’ve never delighted in a samosa ($2.95) or pakora ($3.95), both are
tasty starts to any feast. The samosa, frequently served as delectable
snacks from street vendors in India, are triangular fried pastries
packed with veggies and sometimes meat. Gopuram’s version is filled with
mildly spicy potatoes, peas and served with a mint and tamarind
chutney. Pakora is a deepfried spinach fritter, also served with the
chutney sauce.

Gopuram prides itself on offering food for all religious and ethnic groups, regardless of dietary restrictions. So, if you’re sticking with
veggies, that doesn’t mean you have to opt out of taste. The masala dosa
($7.95) is an excellent example. It’s a crêpe made from rice and
lentils, then stuffed with turmericspiced potatoes and onions. It’s more
than enough to share and comes with raita and chutney, as well as a few
other traditional dipping sauces ranging in level of spice.

Another filling and
meat-free dish is the vegetable biryani ($9.95), a fragrant basmati base
with marinated veggies, served with raita and rice.

you’ve no objection to meat, don’t leave without trying the lamb
vindaloo ($12.95), a southern dish that tends to be on the spicy side
and accented with cumin, clove and coriander.

chicken tikka masala ($10.95) is carefully marinated in the creambased,
spicy tomato sauce, making the boneless chunks of chicken incredibly
tender and full of flavor. All dishes are served with rice, and the
tomato sauce is quite tasty with naan.

to save room for dessert, because you’d be remiss if you didn’t relish
the refreshing mango custard ($3) or the gulab jamun ($3). The custard
is a nice contrast to the spiciness that you’ll likely feel after
eating. The indulgent gulab jamun — dough balls swimming in sweet,
cardamom-infused rose water — is an interesting flavor and texture
that’s really hard to resist.

you absolutely can’t decide what to order — you don’t have to! Try a
smattering of everything with the lunch or dinner buffet ($8.25-
$10.95). It’s always fresh and varied, and an incredible way to get an
adequate sampling of every dish that looks appealing.

Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.

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