Ganges: Holy river

Holy river

Photo: Ganges: delivering the spice

Let the flavours of resto Ganges sanctify your home

Some gourmands believe that the environment in which you nosh is as important as the food itself. Doesn’t linguine alla vongole taste better eaten from fine china in posh settings than slorped back from a chipped dollar-store bowl in front of the TV?

Well, maybe not.

I like a luxurious dining experience as much as anyone, but if the food is good, it’ll dance in your mouth no matter if it was placed there by cheap hand-me-down cutlery or sleek styled silverware. No need to deny yourself a restaurant’s gastronomical pleasures just because you don’t want to get out of your bathrobe. Why do you think nature gave us fingers but to dial a phone and order in? And a certain torpor of spirit shouldn’t relegate you to mediocre pizzas and soggy souvlakis.

If you want all the pleasures of fabulous food you haven’t prepared yourself and want to lounge about chez vous, the place for takeout or delivery is Ganges in NDG. Besides, where better to receive the sacrament of India’s holy river than in the comfort of your own home?

Takeout from Ganges is satisfying on so many levels. It’s one of the top Indian joints in town, and the portions seem bigger than at the restaurant. I’ve eaten more of their sublime tarka dahl in front of my friend’s TV set watching old Star Trek episodes than at the resto’s white clothed tables.

Ganges’ food is prepared fresh and the dishes taste distinct (unlike that sweeping generic "curry" goop that permeates lesser establishments) and have the flavour of whichever chili they use, rather than just being merely hot.

One recent takeout experience, combined with a rousing game of Taboo and the lesser-known word game Moot, was an unparalleled success. (One benefit of home eating: rousing competition and loud merriment among friends.)

The aforementioned dahl was a split pea stew redolent with cumin and dry roasted peppers, topped with fresh coriander. The vegetable sambar was tomato-rich and spicy, contrasting nicely with the fresh spinach and roasted potatoes of the dry curry, sag aloo bhaji. The Eastern Indian-style shorshe bata shrimp were a mustardy rarity in Montreal, while the chicken rejala was sour-hot and quick to be devoured by all.

Of the mattar paneer (peas ‘n’ cheese) one picky paneer eater happily declared it the best she’d had. (Often the cheese in other places has the consistency of tofu with even less flavour.) This cheese had been gently fried before being added to the peas, maintaining its firm texture, and it had hints of the sweet-pungent taste you find in Indian sweets.

We hadn’t ordered all my favourites, but I know if someone were to whisper "chicken jahl frezi" in my ear, I might tremble a bit at the thought of its spicy-hot charms. And the words "lamb pasanda" make me melt as sweetly as the fruity/creamy sauce rolls on the tongue.

6079-83 Sherbrooke W., 488-8850
Dinner for two, no tax, no tip: $20-30

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