For a taste of homestyle Northern Indian cuisine, look no further than Maaji’s Street Kitchen in St. Ann, Missouri. The traditional Indian takeout counter debuted last October and features entrées, roll-ups, sides, drinks and desserts made with organic ingredients.
The concept comes from chef-owner Heena Chopra, a native of New Delhi, India, who is on a mission to introduce people to the vibrant flavors of her hometown. After coming to the United States 18 years ago, Chopra has worked numerous serving jobs at area chain restaurants, where she enjoyed sharing her cooking with co-workers between long shifts. With Maaji’s Street Kitchen, she realizes her dream of serving the dishes she grew up with to a larger audience.
“It is so amazing when someone walks in for the first time,” Chopra says. “It’s a big responsibility to introduce people to a part of you and to give them a whole new world of spices. I just hope that everybody who walks in here will be able to find a dish that will become one of their favorites.”
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For Chopra, whose kids call “Maaji,” which translates to “mother,” opening the carryout location is just the first step of her professional culinary journey. The kitchen there will serve as a commissary for a food truck that will tentatively roll out this summer – a goal she has had for many years. Until then, diners can find Chopra’s menu five days a week at the Water Center Plaza in North County.
Heena Chopra serves traditional Indian recipes.
“This is traditional Indian cuisine. Most of it is made from organic ingredients, a lot of the dishes are vegan and we also have a good selection of gluten-free dishes,” she says. “I wanted to make it the way I eat with my family, so the quality of the ingredients matters.”
From the menu, choose from staples such as baked samosas and a dal masala rice bowl with lentils, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers and chutney. For meat eaters, Chopra offers an aromatic Indian chicken curry made with ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala. Many dishes are also available in combination platters, as well as in roll-ups on parantha, an Indian flatbread.
Maaji’s Street Kitchen also offers a variety of beverages and desserts. Choose from drinks including mango or strawberry lassi and sweets such as gulab jamun – fried dough balls soaked in fragrant syrup.
Maaji’s Street Kitchen is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 6:30pm.
Maaji’s Street Kitchen, 3324 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Ann, Missouri, 314.395.7173, maajisstreetkitchen.com