Rani Nanjappa made quick work of refining Rice N Roti’s menu when she took over as owner in 2011.
“The menu was already there, and we introduced some new items, and I changed a lot of the recipes,” Nanjappa said. “[It’s] the same old dishes, but I tweaked and made [them] … tastier.”
Nanjappa said she balanced out the spices for the various biryani dishes she serves at her restaurant. The mixed-rice dish chicken dum biryani, for example, was a touch too sour for Nanjappa’s preference, she said.
Nanjappa aims to provide authentic Indian dishes while combining the cuisines from both north and south India.
“That is the focus; it is more like home-cooked,” said Nick Punyamurthy, Nanjappa’s friend and business partner. “It is less greasy, and a lot of Indians are even vegetarians, so there are plenty of vegetarian [options].”
Nanjappa said the goat dishes are some of her bestselling menu items, as goat meat can be more difficult to source than other meats. Goat is commonly used in Indian dishes, she said.
“People say [at] some other restaurants that it’s not cooked properly,” Nanjappa said. “Here, it’s tender … [and] it’s easy to take off the bone.”
But Punyamurthy said not all customers are accustomed to the spiciness of Indian dishes.
“There are some Indians, depending on the region, that want it even spicier,” he said. “She will even custom make each dish, so … she can make it hotter or spicier than what is offered generally.”
For customers with a lower spice tolerance, Nanjappa recommends they try the chicken tikka masala.
“You can’t go wrong with that,” Nanjappa said.
The restaurant also caters to vegetarian diets with meatless dishes such as thali. The dish comes with vegetable biryani, three vegetable curries and samples from other menu options at Rice N Roti.
Providing quality food and service has always been one of Nanjappa’s passions, Punyamurthy said.
It “makes my day” when people enjoy the food, Nanjappa added.
Common Indian dishes can vary greatly by region. Indian cuisine is often divided by the northern and southern regions of the country.
Northern dishes include dairy-rich ingredients, saffron and nuts. Common dishes include paneer, biryani, samosas and the frequent use of naan bread.
Though varying from state to state, south Indian cuisine generally uses rice, lentils and spices in its dishes. Common meals include stews, soups and dry curries. Dosa is also a popular dish, which is made from rice batter and is comparable to a thin pancake.