Behind the Scenes: Sevai Tomato Kurma at Benares
Benares is still rather new to the New York Indian food scene, but it's getting plenty of attention for the niche it fills. Chef Peter Beck—coming off of over six years as the executive cook at Tamarind—is focusing on vegetarian dishes from the North Indian city of Benares (also called Varanasi) as well as seafood dishes from Southern India.
The Sevai Tomato Kurma is a fantastic example of South Indian cuisine, and it's an uncommon one in New York Indian restaurants. Originating from the Malabar Coast, this seafood dish doesn't rice or bread; it's served on a bed of pan fried sevai, or thin rice noodles. At first glance, you would never think to call this noodle dish Indian, but these delicate curry-spiced noodles are actually common on the Southern coast. The "kurma" curry itself uses coconut milk, not cream, as coconut is common in South Indian cuisine. It's an altogether delicious way to experience a facet of Indian cooking that you've likely never seen before.