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Enjoy flavorful cuisine at Aroma Indian Kitchen

Knoxville News Sentinel

I surely do love me some Indian food. So when I heard a new restaurant specializing in that cuisine was opening in Knoxville, I got giddy. I waited until they had been open a couple of weeks before I gave it a try. Last week was when The Grub Spouse and I finally set out for Aroma Indian Kitchen, which is on Cedar Bluff Road near Kingston Pike.

Upon our entering, an employee showed us to a spacious booth that, for us, was sufficiently far away from other patrons. The dining area itself didn’t seem to be marked off for social distancing, but the staff did wear masks. We placed our beverage order and were served a complimentary basket of papadum — thin, crisp flatbread — which was accompanied by a variety of flavorful dipping sauces.

The menu starts with a number of non-vegetarian and vegetarian appetizers, including samosas (stuffed pastries), pakoras (fritters) and kebabs, to mention a few. We also spotted several different soups. Instead, we kicked the meal off with a selection from the Mumbai Street Food part of the menu, the banarasi chaat ($7) — grilled potato patties served over flavored yogurt and pureed kale.

One page of the menu is devoted to vegetarian entrees, many of which are variations on paneer (cottage cheese), lentils and vegetables such as chickpeas, okra and cauliflower. Chef’s Specialty Entrees include butter chicken, masala dosa and kalimiri dahi chicken. Another section features biryani dishes made with chicken, lamb and goat or prepared vegetarian.

The Spouse ordered from the tandoori selections, a dish called chicken malai kabab ($14). It’s prepared with cashew paste and spices and cooked in a traditional tandoori oven.

I focused on the part of the menu where you get to pick your protein (vegetables, paneer, chicken, lamb, goat, shrimp or fish) then pick your sauce style (vindaloo, curry, masala, korma, palak or kadhai). I got daring and decided to try goat ($15) for the first time. After all, how often does one get the opportunity to order goat? Our server said it was similar to lamb in flavor. I paired my goat with korma sauce, which I love and which our server said would be an excellent choice. Entrees come with rice, but we also added an order of garlic naan for $3.

Our chaat was served first. It was awesome. The two potato patties had been deep fried, and they were served atop a bed of chickpeas and a creamy swirl of yogurt and pureed kale. The savory spices and sweetness of the yogurt were a fantastic combo.

The entrees took a little longer than average to wind