Hippo Manchester
November 24, 2005

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Food: Go Indian for Thanksgiving

Indian. Not Native American. Indian.

By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner and feeling sluggish from L-tryptophan afterwards not your idea of a good time?  No problem.

Think Indian — no, not our American forebears who helped out those cuisine-challenged Pilgrims. The Indians saving the day this year are from the Asian subcontinent and come with curries, tandoori and that wonderful, wonderful naan. And on Thanksgiving, most area Indian restaurants will be serving dozen-course luncheon buffets that are a nice alternative to the heat-lamp turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing waiting in other restaurants.

Gursharan Gill, the owner of Gill’s Paradise Bar & Grill on Maple Street in Manchester, says that Thanksgiving is the perfect time for people unfamiliar with Indian food to try it.

Gill puts out a 15-course spread that includes chicken curry, chicken tandoori and chicken tiki massala.  Enjoy the buffet, only $9.99 per person, with a cold Kingfisher beer.

Open only two months, Gill brings more than 25 years of cooking and restaurant management to the Manchester food scene. He managed Joe’s American Bar & grill on Newbury Street for 25 years and before that was an award-winning head chef at Haveli in Cambrdige, Mass.

“Gill’s is truly upscale, fine Indian dining,” he says proudly.

The Indian food you get in New England is typically North Indian Mughlai and Punjabi cuisine. Every region of India has its own distinct flavor, delicacies and styles of cooking, but Northern is the most popular with Western palates.

Indian restaurants serve a 12-course or 14-course North Indian style lunch buffet daily, a great lunch choice for voracious eaters.

Buffets typically consists of Basmati rice, naans and parathas, which are Indian breads, several vegetarian dishes, Daal, a lentil soup, chicken curry, tandoori chicken with various dressings, salads and kheer, which is a rice pudding.

After you finish your meal make sure you have some of the traditional brightly colored Indian candy waiting in the bowl by the door.

Where to go

• Gill’s Paradise Bar & Grill, 245 Maple St., Manchester, 627-3054. Buffet runs 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. $9.99 per person. 

• India Palace, 575 South Willow St., Manchester, 641-8413; 493 Amherst St., Nashua, 546-0425. Buffet for both locations runs 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. $7.95 per person

• Mehmaan Restaurant, 295 DW Hwy, Nashua, 891-1616. Buffet runs 11:30 a.m. to  2:30 p.m. $7.95 per person.