When eating meatless, I tend to prefer South Indian cuisines to Northern ones. Maybe it’s because I can’t resist the pull of tandoori chicken or rogan josh. But a stand in Taj Grocery in Chantilly has solved that problem for me. Chit Chaat Corner trades in plenty of dishes that are vegetarian by default, but for folks weaned on marinated poultry like me, they also switch out paneer for “chikkin.” The soy protein is presented in dishes like a tandoori-flavored kati roll and a butter chicken that appears both as a “Curry in a Hurry” and in Curritos, which are exactly what they sound like.
But first, I needed what’s in the name. Since Chit Chaat Corner is currently takeout-only, I didn’t think piecing together my own pani puri was a great option, though I’ve heard good things about their version. I use samosa chaat as a barometer because it tells me about both a restaurant’s samosas and its chutneys. Well, usually. Once I arrived back at my office to taste my lunch, I realized that my samosa chaat was missing the yogurt and sauces (I usually expect both tamarind and cilantro or mint) that should have been there. The chickpea topping may have been bare, but the samosas themselves were tangy, spicy marvels full of potatoes and peas. Next time, I’ll just be extra careful to check that I have chutney before I leave.
As I said, I can’t pass up a good tandoori chicken. On a Meatless Monday, spongy “chikkin” was a satisfying replacement in the soft wrap of the kati roll. Once again, it was missing cilantro chutney that might have given it a jolt of personality, but I was pleased with the freshness of the finely chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro inside.
Still, the highlight of the meal was the Rooh Afza milkshake. The famous syrup is dark pink, a hint when dealing with Indian cuisine that rose flavor will be blooming. This is true, but mixed with the floral are essences of coriander, orange, pineapple, mint and even carrot and spinach. Its flavor is as complex as all Indian dishes should be. And even on Meatless Monday, there’s nothing wrong with a little splurge. //14404 Chantilly Crossing Ln., Chantilly
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