I realize I’m in an global cuisine sort of mood right now. There is such a thing as too much sausage gravy. And every time I find a new restaurant full of things I’ve never heard of I get uncommonly excited.
Today my new best friend is Bawarchi Biryanis Indian Cuisine. I do not know how the peoples of India found Franklin, Tennessee, but I’m grateful they did. There are four authentic Indian restaurants within five blocks of each other. My new favorite boyfriend is Bawarchi and he’s courting me with Chicken 555.
I have no idea why it’s called Chicken 555 but it’s a crispy fried south Indian chicken recipe spiked with jalapenos and toasted cashews.
It’s changed my life in the best possible way. Just the perfect balance of heat and depth of spices. It was a two-trip-to-the-ladies-room affair to blow my nose.
My goal now is to try everything I’ve never had and the nice lady behind the counter suggested a chicken tikka dosa to tame the heat of the Chicken 555.
Yes, it is bigger than my head and I had to ask her how to attack it. No, not with a knife and fork. You tear the dosa bread and then dip it in one of three sauces — lentil, coconut or tomato. Plus King Daddy got some spicy fried fish.
KD and I thought we had over-ordered but at the end of the meal there was only an extremely small take-out container left. And there weren’t enough napkins to wipe the smiles off our faces.
Days like today remind me that the definition of Southern food is constantly changing. The presence of Bawarchi in a strip shopping center in Franklin, TN., means that Indian food is being added to the vernacular of what is Southern. If I take some of the spices from Chicken 555 and incorporate them into cornmeal fried catfish, that’s now fusion. It’s that way with all our precious immigrants and the food traditions they are bringing to Nashville.
I can tell you with certainty that it’s a long way from Nashville circa 1993 when we moved here to today. That road is paved with Korean tacos, Mexican tortas, Chinese scallion pancakes and Vietnamese Pho. It’s a really delicious road. Feel free to take a tour any day. Every day.