In the heart of Petaling Jaya’s Section 19 area is a north Indian restaurant called Tasty Chapathi. If you think the name rings a bell, that’s probably because you’ve heard about – or been to – its namesake predecessor along Jalan Ipoh.
The original Tasty Chapathi was established over a decade ago and has since become a popular favourite for its delicious range of north Indian fare. Over time, the owners decided to spread their wings, which led to the opening of the PJ outlet six months ago.
“We realised we were ready to grow and expand. And then we decided PJ is a nice place – ours is a family restaurant concept and there are a lot of families living here,” says Jaskirat Kaur, one of the owners of Tasty Chapathi.
Jaskirat is a former engineer who joined the family business (Tasty Chapathi was started by her husband Jagdees Singh) nearly five years ago. She then put her engineering background to good use by mechanising a lot of the processes in the restaurant to ensure consistency. She also worked hard to get the chefs to tweak the recipes to make the food both healthy (she’s a bit of a health and fitness freak) and tasty.
Most of the chefs hail from the famed culinary city of Dehradun in India and while Jaskirat says there was initial resistance to the new methods being introduced, she made it a point to discuss things at length with her chefs.
“Our chefs always complain that they’ve worked everywhere but they’ve never seen owners so fussy about health, taste and consistency. For example, we don’t use oil to caramelise our onions – we invested in machines to caramelise with almost no oil. And a lot of our pastes for dishes like butter chicken, are made with seeds and almonds and cashew nuts in place of cream to make them healthier. So the food is healthy and tasty – that’s our main vision,” she says.
It is evident that producing quality food is one of Jaskirat’s top priorities, which is why nearly everything at Tasty Chapathi is made from scratch, from the yoghurt and paneer to the naans and even the desserts and chaats (Indian street food).
The chaats are particularly interesting, as they are only available at the Tasty Chapathi in PJ and Jaskirat and her husband travelled all the way to India to find a chef who specialises in chaats.
“I had to go to India and interview chefs because they are quite in demand in India, and when we found our chef and were happy with his food, we brought him here. He does the chaats and makes all the sauces from scratch,” says Jaskirat.
So make sure to check out the chaats, especially the Rajkachori (RM8.90) which is made up of fermented gram dal, mung dhal, beetroot and a mixture of three sauces – tamarind, mint and yoghurt (which is fermented for a shorter period to give it a sweeter taste). The overall explosion of flavours is nothing short of mind-blowing – a blast of freshness, sourness, crispiness and sweetness all in one go – a heady mixture that you’ll want to keep eating without pause. So be warned: lethal addiction is guaranteed.
If you’re after something with equally intoxicating qualities, definitely try the sizzling mutton (RM32). The dish arrives sizzling, as promised and features meat that is incredibly tender and malleable. The mutton (sourced from New Zealand) is coated in a rich, slightly smoky masala, made from a blend of “secret” spices, with eggplant and onions adding lusciousness and a natural sweetness to the mixture. It’s an unforgettable dish that will certainly leave a lasting impression.
Equally good is the vegetarian cousin of the sizzling mutton, the sizzling thava masala (RM20.90) which has cauliflower, paneer, brinjal, carrots and beans coated in a hot, fiery masala filled with aromatic spices.
Diners who are particularly ravenous should try the sangam platter (RM69) which is composed of generous servings of tandoori chicken, mutton kebab, chicken kebab, chicken tikka, prawn and fish tikka. The tandoori chicken is the star of this show, stealing the spotlight with juicy, tender chicken with a lovely char on the skin. The kebabs offer lots of flavour while the prawn and fish tikka are both ably executed (although the latter is slightly underseasoned).
The butter chicken (RM20.90) is particularly good for health nuts (pun intended), as the volume in the curry is amassed through blended nuts rather than cream, as is normally the case. As a result, the butter chicken is distinctly lighter, so you can eat more of it without feeling sick afterwards. On the downside, the dish is also less full-bodied and sumptuous than the original version, although this seems like a tiny thing to quibble about, when health is in question.
Next up, try the eatery’s palak paneer (RM19.90), which features house-made paneer (cottage cheese). The dish is delightful – smooth, soft cheese cubes glide effortlessly down the throat aided by the creamy pureed spinach that forms a rich moat around the cheese.
Indian food tends to taste even better when the assorted curries and gravies are mopped up with bread or rice, and Tasty Chapathi has a lot to offer in that department. The plain biryani (RM5.50 for a medium portion) boasts fragrant, fluffy grains of rice, while the tandoori chicken naan (RM8.50) features chicken stuffed into doughy soft naan bread, in what proves to be a very successful marriage of flavours.
Tasty Chapathi also has a sweet kitchen (also called a mithai kitchen), where freshly-made Indian desserts are churned out fresh. Although there’s plenty to choose from, make sure to indulge in the almond kulfi (RM8.90) which is made using buffalo milk.
“Normally in kulfi, they put in things like cornflour and bread to give it that desired texture. We use just buffalo milk because you can only get this thickness and creaminess with buffalo milk,” says Jaskirat. And she’s oh-so-right – this kulfi is a silken delight, soft and tender and not too sweet, unlike many iterations of kulfi, which border on saccharine.
Finally, wash down all that delicious food with a glass of Punjabi tea (RM4). Made with cow’s milk, this soothingly hot beverage is redolent of aromatic spices, and is the perfect ending to a perfect meal here.
Tasty Chapathi PJ
Unit C-13A-1 & c-15-01
3 Two Square
No 2, Jalan 19/1
46300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7611 9300
Open daily: 11am to 11pm