Thelewala Restaurant By Owner Shiva K. Natarajan

A breezy recipe from the brand-new Thelewala

The nizami roll may be the intended bread and butter of Greenwich Village's new Thelewala.

For us, though, the epicenter of this casual Indian restaurant's menu is the chicken tawa fry ($8), a straightforward dish made with a fusillade of spices.

Thelewala owner Shiva K. Natarajan modeled this addition to his chainlet of local restaurants after the plentiful street-food vendors in Calcutta. How appropriate then, that the chicken tawa fry is precisely the kind of brash, quick-fire dish born from an outdoor venue.

The tawa is a cross between a wok and a cast-iron skillet, so consider the dish a subcontinental stir-fry. Chicken tenders from the breast are first marinated with garlic and ginger, then sautéed with onions and red bell peppers and blasted with the sweet, citrus thump of coriander seeds and the dusty funk of cumin and fenugreek.

We were so taken with the tawa fry that we procured the recipe (click here to download). The dish is simple enough, but it is critical to toast and grind your own spices. We first cooked the tawa fry with preground spices, and the result was lackluster–like a handgun with a silencer attached.

Thelewala, 112 MacDougal St. (at Bleecker St.); 212-614-9200 or