That caramelized chicken and the best Indian restaurant in New Zealand

Written By Lingkar Dunia on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 10:33 PM

Does that caramelized chicken stand up to repetition?

Absolutely.  As of this week (or so we found when we flew back from Hamilton), New World has a special on corn-fed, free-range chicken.  Ten dollars per beast.

So we bought one and cooked the upper half in a roast last night. (Remember there are just two of us.  Normally.)

Today, I faced the leftover bottom half -- two well-trimmed chookie legs.  I made the marinade, and oops! -- no soya sauce.  (What was I thinking?)  So I made the marinade without it, and when the lot (with only two legs) was in the oven pan, I added a good grind of sea salt.

I also added three extremely fresh, small courgettes, coarsely chopped.

It was served with the leftover kumara, potato, and pumpkin from the roast, chopped and very lightly fried in a little olive oil, with Italian herbs and another grind of sea-salt.

Divine.  This recipe takes a lot of adaptation.  I will be using it a lot from now on.

Okay, while we were in Hamilton, we discovered the best Indian restaurant in Hamilton.  Maybe in New Zealand.  Possibly, the world.

It is called the Royal Indian Restaurant, and maybe I should not be advertising it, because the restaurant itself keeps modestly quiet, being featured on almost no websites -- and yet it was full on a Sunday night, with a queue for their takeaway meals.

Considering it is in a small, low-key suburban shopping area (62 Cameron Road, Hamilton East, up by the university), it looked surprisingly upmarket.  Arches, red walls, a pleasant reception area.  And incredibly clean.  All of which was most encouraging.

We had two children in our party of six, and the waiter was very helpful.  First to arrive were the drinks (straws in soft drink cans, but the children were not complaining) and then came an amazing roll of crisp, very thin, baked bread, with dips that were not too hot and spicy.  Hugely enjoyed by the kids. 

Then came stuffed naan, nicely presented in big triangles.  Also quickly gobbled.  After that came the mains -- chicken tandoori, prawn marsala, utterly divine mango chicken (mine -- and I spooned up the sauce after the chicken was eaten, as I couldn't bear to leave any behind), and seafood noodles, which were full of prawns and fish and all that good stuff.  Wonderful flavors, very clean-tasting food.

Complimentary caramelized dumplings were rushed onto the table at the end, but we were really too full to appreciate the treat.

And the price?  I'm not going to tell you about it.  I don't want to queue all the way down Cameron Road the next time I go to Hamilton.

Is any of this going to be about books?  Well, I read the airline magazine with great interest on the way home, with particular attention to the foodie story.  (Remember I remarked that the Alix Bosco book, Slaughter Falls, had intriguing hints of a foodie writer?)

Has Martin Bosley ever lived in Ponsonby, pray?

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