Anokha Cuisine of India (4015 Lauderdale Drive, 360-8686), which opened in July in the Short Pump area, is one of three restaurants owned by business partners Jaswinder Singh and Charanjeet Ghotra. It's the first in the Richmond area; the others, both named Milan Indian Cuisine, opened in Lynchburg in 2002 and in Charlottesville in 2003.
"This one is a different style than the other two," Singh says. "It's a little more modern-style, upscale." The word "anokha" means unique. Singh describes the food as primarily Northern Indian, which tends to be less spicy than Southern Indian, with some western influences. The restaurant's menu includes entrées such as crabmeat-and-asparagus dumplings in a coconut-mustard sauce.
Short Pump resident Shariff Mohammed, a software engineer who grew up in India, noticed when Anokha opened and has since become a regular customer. Mohammed, 25, told us he's tried almost every dish on the menu — his favorite is the chicken biryani — and "the quality and taste are awesome." He adds that the wine-bar ambiance also makes it "a nice place to hang out."
Khada Chicken Masala
(Shown served over sautéed vegetables with tikka masala sauce)
- 1.8 ounces (or 3 1/3 tablespoons) of cashew nuts or pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds of bone-in chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon of ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground fennel
- 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 fresh green chili, seeded and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste
Grind the cashews in a food processor until they have a coarse finish. Add all the remaining ingredients (exept the chicken) and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the chicken, then cover and marinate in a refrigerator for one to two hours or overnight. Before cooking, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with oil. Broil the chicken breast for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with chutney or raita, cucumber slices, and raw onion rings.