#21: Channa Masala at Raj's Rasoi

Feb 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm
The channa masala at Raj's Rasoi - Ian Froeb
Ian Froeb
The channa masala at Raj's Rasoi
Raj's Rasoi, a small, homely restaurant at one end of a small, homely Maryland Heights strip mall, serves only vegetarian dishes. (On Wednesdays it goes even further, offering only vegan dishes on its lunch buffet.) Even an avowed carnivore such as myself doesn't mind because in the grand tradition of Indian cuisine Raj's Rasoi prepares delicious vegetarian meals.

Of these, my favorite is the channa masala.

Chickpeas are the "meat" of this dish, yet their flavor is secondary to the sauce. This is tomato-based, though it is so rich with spices that the tomato is less the defining note than the bass line. There are warming notes of clove and cardamom, brighter notes of onion and ginger and a gradual heat that lingers in the back of your mouth.

Raj's Rasoi has channa masala on its à la carte menu, but it often appears as part of its lunch buffet, which is a terrific value at $6.50 (Tuesday through Thursday) or $6.99 (Friday through Sunday) a person.

Raj's Rasoi
2286 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.


#22: The blueberry scone at La Dolce Via
#23: Gang kua ped yang at Addie's Thai House
#24: Bánh xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
#25: Mojarra dorada at Garduño's Mexican Food
#26: "It" at Mammer Jammer
#27: Two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns at the Courtesy Diner
#28: Seafood at Farmhaus
#29: The "Edgar Allan Poe" at Dewey's Pizza
#30: The "Heart Stopping BLT" and a chocolate malt at Crown Candy Kitchen

#31: Smoked half-chicken at PM BBQ
#32: The smoked chicken pizza at Onesto Pizza & Trattoria
#33: The baby-back ribs (or the burger) at the Piccadilly at Manhattan
#34: Albóndigas caseras con patatas at the Guido's Pizzeria & Tapas
#35: The "Sweet Burger" at SweetArt
#36: Buffalo fries at Blueberry Hill
#37: Tom yum gai at Pearl Café
#38: Cassoulet (and Sweetbreads) at Franco
#39: The "Papasan Roll" at Miso on Meramec
#40: Lasagna at Mama Josephine's