Wintery Delights at Shakinah

Wintery Indian Delights at Shakinah

Our wise chefs come bearing gifts, and the Angel Shakinah has blessed us and our patrons with peace, love and joy. The Shakinah team is looking forward to warming you up this season with a hearty selection of comforting wintery dishes, within the perfect setting that is our restaurant in Ta’ Xbiex.

Indian cuisine, by its very nature, is a decadent and balmy spread of ingredients, making it an ideal choice during the colder months. In truth, the familiar flavours of Christmas are forever present in most Indian dishes, with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamon and star anise perennially punctuating this culinary landscape. Here are some of our recommendations for your next visit this winter:

Our Wintery Indian Meals

Chicken Soup

chicken soup - shakinah

Never underestimate the restorative powers of a good soup, and there are none quite as nourishing as our much-revered chicken soup. With an organically sourced chicken stock that is made inhouse, our soup gets its velvety warmth from a fusion of butter and cream, with cardamon, cloves and peppercorns delivering a crescendo of seasoning. And if you’re seeking a vegan alternative, our tomato sorba promises the holy grail of flavour and good health in our garlic, ginger and coriander blend.

Stuffed Mushrooms

stuffed mushrooms shakinah

At Shakinah, we take our seasonal vegetables very seriously, and mushrooms will always be a fresh staple in our menu. Our mighty meaty mushrooms stuffed with minced vegetables and onions are hearty with curry and hot with heat. Served as a sizzling platter, this dish will certainly give you a cosy start to your meal, and it makes for an excellent vegetarian option.

 

Palak Paneer

This Palak Paneer dish is a more off-the-beaten-track choice, but we’d very much like to raise its profile among our clientele, not just because it’s packed with gloriously nutritious spinach freshly sourced from local farmers, but also because paneer is an unsung hero in Indian cuisine. Paneer is a dense but mildly flavoured non-melting cottage cheese made from buffalo milk, and there is something immensely comforting about its delicate but beefy texture, as well as its creamy and slightly salty flavour. It is a pearly star from the East, and we encourage you to give it a go. You won’t be disappointed!

Beef Vindaloo

This devilishly hot option is a favourite among our regulars, and it’s a wonderful option to raise temperatures. We admit that our vindaloo is not for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly worth the invigorating kick it gives with every mouthful. Our succulent beef is marinated in vinegar, rendering moist and tender against its accompaniment of rich potato chunks. Wash down its aromatic sauce with our infamous mango lassi or our remedial raita.

Lamb Roghan Josh

Lamb Roghan Josh

The explosive flavour of our lamb roghan josh is festive and full of Eastern promise, with our authentic blend of Kashmiri spices. At Shakinah, we deliver not just food, but also a sensory experience, and the wafting aroma of our locally-sourced lamb studded with cinnamon, ginger and saffron is intended to whet your appetite and lift your spirits.

The Local

imqaret

We couldn’t possibly end our selection without a sweet finale. And what’s Christmas without a hint of tradition and nostalgia? Our take on Malta’s imqaret is festooned with chopped apricots, pistachios, cinnamon and a celebratory helping of vanilla bean ice cream, while the pillows of fried pastry are stuffed with a smooth emulsion of local dates, topped with a good drizzle of honey.

Our Top 5 Indian Dishes for this Month

The Best 5 Indian Dishes this Month

We know we shouldn’t have favourites, but at Shakinah, we do have a few star attractions that never fail to please. From our celebrated Chicken Tikka Masala to our sizzling Tandoori platter, Indian staples will always feature on our menu. Nonetheless, our mission is to make these dishes as memorable as they are irresistible, which is why we go the extra mile to make them authentically our own. From sourcing the finest ingredients to our team’s mise en place, we’re committed to honour as well as elevate classic Indian dishes.

Our Best Indian Dishes

Here are some of our personal recommendations for your next visit: 

Chicken Tikka Masala

chicken tikka masala

No Indian menu is complete without this much-loved dish. Although its origins have been widely disputed, many agree that it had first made an appearance in Great Britain in the 1970s through the South Asian community. However, food critic Rahul Verma believes it to be a relatively modern Punjabi dish, not more than 50 years old. There’s no fixed standard to its recipe, but a mild and creamy tomato sauce is the common denominator of this dish. Shakinah’s tikka masala is crimson to the core, with a sauce that envelopes tender pull-apart chunks of chicken marinated in yoghurt and masala spices. Although rather on the mild side, our version will guarantee you a light but fun kick at the back of the throat.

Onion Bhaji

onion baji

Everything tastes better in batter, but the flaky crusting that only an onion bhaji can offer takes battered food to a whole new level. Although it’s a popular starter in most Indian restaurants, it is in fact regarded as a street food snack across the Indian continent, and often prepared for celebrations and special events. Its distinct light fritter batter is made from gram flour, encasing strips of shredded onion which are then shaped into a ball. However, Shakinah offers a more deconstructed version of the onion bhaji. We serve it spiralised and spread out across an oblong plate, and since our batter is not overpowered by too many spices, the onion does most of the talking. And believe us, there is onion in this bhaji.

Chicken Korma

chicken korma

Possibly the most requested Indian dish in the Western world, the korma has had a long journey since its beginnings in the 16th century. It is typically defined by its very mild flavour and thick sauce; a curry for all seasons. Unfortunately, there are some who are quick to snub this dish due to its lack of performance on the Scoville scale. But let’s not forget that Indian cuisine isn’t just about heat. It’s also about umami, and our chicken korma defies the bland stereotype. Although there are plenty of variations of the korma, Shakinah goes for the quintessential presentation, but with a vengeance. With melt-in-the-mouth chunks of tender chicken, our blend presents a luscious nutty and buttery sunshine yellow sauce, muscled by whole cashew nuts, yoghurt and coconut cream. The chicken korma is certainly our dark horse.

Tandoori King Prawns

Tandoori King Prawns

Without a doubt, Shakinah’s version of this dish is a marriage of the sea and the heady aromas of tandoori. The tandoori clay oven dates back to 3000 B.C., and the traditional flavouring includes marinating the meat in yoghurt, a ginger and garlic paste, garam masala, red chilli powder, and coriander. The final distinct texture and flavour comes from the charring smokiness of the oven, and the spiciness from the chilli powder certainly packs a punch. We serve seven meaty king prawns on a bed of freshly chopped salad, and we recommend an accompaniment of raita for dipping and refreshment to go with it.

Cauliflower Pakora

Cauliflower Pakora

The simplest dishes are sometimes the best, and another one of our starters can attest to this. A sumptuous vegan option, our cauliflower pakora just entails three rudimentary steps. We boil our locally sourced cauliflower heads until they reach just the right amount of softness. We then coat it in gram flour and our very own blend of spice masala, then deep fry them until they achieve their golden coating. The simplicity is also in the flavour and in our presentation. Although the pakoras are relatively mild in flavour, save for the masala that delivers the final pop, we like to accompany the dish with a drizzle of our flavourful tomato sauce. Don’t skip it, or you’ll regret it!