A fusion of Chinese cuisine and Indian spice
At Chinese Mirch, whose name includes the Hindi word for chili, even the Coke is spicy. Masala Coke ($4) seems more science experiment than drink, soda poured over a cloud of ice and Indian spices including black pepper and cumin until the concoction froths and foams like a volcano. If you’re not used to carbonated beverages that taste like curry, the experience is preferable to the flavor. But this drink is a harbinger of what is to come. Most dishes rank at least a one on the three-point spice scale and may ignite a fire in your belly.
Chinese Mirch serves food that blends the cuisine of Chinese emigres with Indian spices and herbs. It has been popular in India for centuries. The original Chinese Mirch, now a franchise, came to Manhattan in 2004, the first Indian-Chinese restaurant in the borough. At the Framingham restaurant, which opened in November, the owners transformed a former mattress store along a busy stretch of Route 9 into a gleaming red and black dining room. Each meal begins with the arrival of a plate of three condiments, including green chili slices in vinegar. Servers may ask if you want the spice in your order toned down.
Crispy okra ($9) is an unexpected treat, deep-fried wedges of salty and crunchy pods, dusted with Indian paprika and other spices and served in a paper cone like fries. The chilies in chicken lollipop ($9) rev up the heat quotient in these innocuous-looking but tasty fried wings, where the meat is pushed down the bone to resemble the candy that gives them their name. Steamed vegetarian momos ($5), are artfully prepared dumplings filled with still-crisp minced carrots and potatoes, dotted with bits of ginger.
Vegetable ball Manchurian ($12.50), fritters made of carrots, green beans, and corn, resemble malai kofta, Indian paneer and vegetable balls. These are much more delicate, and served in a sauce of onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Singapore rice noodles with baby shrimp ($12) are easy to eat, mildly spicy and yellow with curry. The dishes that are true fusion are better than the more traditional Chinese dishes such as sweet and sour chicken ($12.50) with pineapple, which is mostly just sweet. The restaurant serves no beef or pork, in keeping with Hindu and Muslim practices.
A weekday lunch special — appetizer, entree, and dessert for $9.99 — ends with a sweet little mango shooter, layers of mango mousse, sponge cake, and whipped cream in a shot glass. It’s neither Chinese nor Indian, but we hear no complaints.
Kathleen Burge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.