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The Spice is Right

Staying true to flavors from the region they came from, Tandoori Guys’ imaginative cooking emphasizes clean textures, complex flavor pairings and an array of delicious traditional Indian food.

Article
Donna Leahey
Photos
Valerie Grant
Posted
December 29, 2017

When Patchaiappan Murugavel was a young boy in India, his grandma made a special soup for him whenever he got sick. It was filled with fresh, healthful aromatic spices, flavor, and love. That same soup, made with the same care and attention, is available at Tandoori Guys Authentic Indian Buffet in Broken Arrow.

Before you even step inside Tandoori Guys, you’re steeped in traditional Indian culture. You pass over a rangoli, a lovely bit of artwork traditionally drawn outside of homes using rice flour, other types of flour or chalk, and colored powders. They are thought to bring good fortune. Inside, the restaurant is filled with the scent of traditional Indian spices like cumin, fennel, chili powder, ginger, cardamom, and more. Next to the doorway into the dining room is a quote about accepting change. “Whatever happened, happened for the good; whatever is happening, is happening for the good; whatever will happen, will also happen for the good only,” it says in part.

Neat rows of tables along the walls and the center guide you to your goal: the buffet. The smell of the spices, the colorful display, and the copious choices beckon you to grab a plate and dig in.

Murugavel trained in hotel management in India. After a 10-year career in restaurants and hotels there, he came to Tulsa, where he spent five more years in the restaurant business. He opened Tandoori Guys with his co-owners Raja Ramalingam and Takhir Ismailov in July. “Business has been good,” Murugavel says. “People seem to really love it.”

Dosa with Chutney and Sambar (Photo: Valerie Grant)
Dosa with Chutney and Sambar (Photo: Valerie Grant)

The traditional, healthy home-cooked style at Tandoori Guys is based on the cuisine of southeast India. “Just like here, there are different styles in India, mostly the spices. In Pondicherry [India], where I’m from, it’s more garlic. It’s the same spices as other regions but more or less chili, more or less cumin in a dish.” Every spice has a reason to be in each dish and every sauce is different.

Tandoori Guys takes its name from the tandoor, a traditional type of clay oven, heated with a charcoal or wood fire that can reach temperatures of up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything from naan bread to chicken tikka can be cooked inside one of these tandoors, making the food tender and taking on the flavor of the smoke.

Tandoori Guys’ food is never frozen, and cooked fresh daily in the traditional style, with the traditional spices. “My grandma told me spices like garlic, pepper, and turmeric are medicine. Turmeric is a super food,” says Murugavel.

The soup that Murugavel’s grandma would make for him is rasam, and packs more flavor than you’d ever expect out of a bowl. The broth is rich and flavored with all the important spices of Indian cuisine: garlic, pepper, red chili, asafoetida. Be sure to pick up a cup as you start down the line. The specific food items change every day, but you can almost always find biryani chicken, which is a savory dish of rice, spices, and chicken.

Indian Coffee (Photo: Valerie Grant)
Indian Coffee (Photo: Valerie Grant)

The chicken tikka masala is Tandoori Guys' signature dish, and it deserves that title. The rich, creamy orange sauce surrounds tender chunks of chicken. The flavor hits all the right notes, with a medley of those classic aromatic Indian spices that have been tempting you since you walked in.

If you find gobi on the buffet line, be sure to grab some. The bright red chunks are a spicy, deep-fried cauliflower. They’re lightly crispy with just a little heat to sizzle your taste buds.

Be sure to ask about traditional drinks like mango lassi, rose milk, madras coffee, or masala chai tea. “The chai tea is not like what you’d find at Starbucks. It’s made with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon stick with tea powder and milk,” Murugavel explains.

The buffet also comes with dosa, which is like a crisp and savory crepe. Dosa is made from a fermented batter of rice and black lentil and cooked on the grill. The dosa is beautiful in preparation and a wonderful accompaniment to your meal.

The buffet changes daily, and may include chettinad chicken, tandoori chicken, beef kofta korma, naan, channa masala, saag paneer, spicy mixed vegetable manchurian, gulab jumun, tomato chutney, coconut chutney, and mint chutney.

By its nature, Indian cuisine is vegetarian and vegan friendly, but the buffet goes vegan every Thursday evening. Wednesday evening is seafood night, with a special emphasis on seafood dishes. Friday through the weekend, the buffet emphasizes popular Indian street food like samosas, panipuri, and other popular snacks.

Tandoori Guys would love to cater for you, or host your next event. There is a private dining room that can seat 25-30 people. 

LOCATOR
Tandoori Guys
2039 W. Houston St. | Broken Arrow
918-893-2450
tandooriguysba.com
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

March 2019 Cover