Photo and text by Jody Eddy
Maneet Chauhan, a judge on The Food Network show Chopped, plans to open Chauhan Ale & Masala House later this spring in the Gulch neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee.
The menu will be a melding of iconic Indian recipes and classic southern favorites like Tandoori 5 Chili Hot Chicken, Chauhan’s “Meat and Three” tiffin, tadka popcorn shrimp, and besan masala fried peanuts.
On tap will be Indian inspired beers brewed especially for the restaurant, including a masala ale, something that piqued my interest when I heard about it. Masala means spice in Hindi and can be any blend of spices; each household has their own masala blends that they incorporate into recipes.
Brewer Ryan Overdorff says, “The base of the beer is as English brown ale that has been infused with MDH garam masala [the most popular commercial blend in India] during the last part of the boil.”
Garam means “hot” in Hindi, so the result is decidedly Indian with a pronounced flavor profile of cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, and a hint of spicy pepper.
The amber ale will be on tap when the restaurant opens along with a wide array of other brews inspired by Chauhan’s Indian heritage. Overdorff said that one of the main things he learned while brewing the chef’s masala ale was, “that you only need a small amount of flavoring. Indian spices are intense and can go a long way.”