Editor's note: Mariana Uzcategui is no longer associated with the Curry Sultan.
Foodies should forget the notion that Indian food is overly spiced and heavy in condiments, restaurateur Russell Ramaswamy said.
Indian food does not mean flavor overload, he said, and his Atascocita restaurant, Curry Sultan, sets out to dispel the myth.
“We can always adjust the spice level of each dish—mild, medium or hot,” Ramaswamy said. “It’s made to order.”
Ramaswamy, who hails from Madras, India, speaks five languages and has worked in Australia, India, Turkey, Mexico and Germany.
When he moved to Monterrey, Mexico, he started cooking Indian food out of his home kitchen in 2009.
Customer demand for his home-cooked meals exploded, so he turned his passion into a business and opened his first Curry Sultan restaurant in 2010 in Mexico.
He and his wife, Mariana Uzcategui, moved to Atascocita to raise their family, leaving the Monterrey restaurant in the hands of local managers. In their new hometown, they noticed the scarcity of restaurants that serve freshly prepared Indian meals and jumped at the chance to fill a niche.
In November 2015, Ramaswamy and Uzcategui opened Curry Sultan with a restaurant, banquet hall and grocery store on FM 1960 in Atascocita.
“Even my son, who is 12, wants to cook.” Ramaswamy said.
Curry Sultan’s lunch menu features authentic dishes like chicken tikka cooked in the traditional Indian tandoor oven. It is served with basmati rice. The chicken, shrimp or lamb vindaloo, which is Ramaswamy’s grandmother’s recipe, is made with poppy seeds and coconut milk.
He made a conscious decision to keep the kitchen small and the menu simple—six meat courses and eight vegetarian courses—with the goal of using fresh ingredients every day.
“We use tamarind and real dates for the beef samosa sauce,” Ramaswamy said. “Everything is fresh.”
Curry Sultan offers several authentic Indian dishes.[/caption]
The most popular dishes are chicken tikka, shrimp vindaloo and butter chicken, which is chicken in a creamy tomato-based sauce from India’s Punjab region, Curry Sultan cook Jesus Acevedo said.
Acevedo started as a waiter at the restaurant in 2016 but said he preferred to cook. He prepares the meals and the Indian flat bread called naan.
“Indian food is healthy; it’s good for you,” he said. “It’s also unique. My favorites are chicken tandoori and butter chicken.”
Ramaswamy envisions a healthy Indian-restaurant franchise, where the menu is small and all the ingredients are fresh. The Woodlands is a possible location for the expansion, Ramaswamy said.