Masala Bay Grill bringing their Indian flare to The Spice & Tea Exchange

On Thursday, Oct. 17, the OBX’s only Indian restaurant is bringing its talent to The Spice & Tea Exchange of Duck for one of its Chef’s Series Dinner. Masala Bay’s chefs Sunij Rajthala and Indra Bahadur Karki and well-known manager, Niresh Khadgi, will create a four-course meal paired with wines of the chef’s choosing for 16 guests in our space in Scarborough Lane.

At The Spice & Tea Exchange, our mission is to help you find your way to flavor. Throughout the year, we do that through our custom hand-mixed spice blends, infused salts and sugars, and loose-leaf teas.

In the off-season, though, we invite folks in once a month to watch as local chefs prepare a meal using our seasonings at our simple stainless-steel counter, right in the center of the shop. During business hours, that stainless steel counter is used as our spice blending station.

In the evenings, at these events, it’s a platform for Bad Bean Chef Matt Payne’s Banana Cheesecake with Chicharrones and Hemp Seed Granola. Or for Chef Greg Sniegowski of Beachside Bistro to make fresh pasta, from scratch. Or the time Chef Meghann Pauls from Mike Diana’s Grill Room used it to smoke salmon with nothing but a pot and a wire rack.

Last month, we kicked off our 2019-2020 Chef’s Series Dinners with Chef Joey Russo of Russo’s Bistro & Bar. We’re all still talking about the salmon he cured with our Northwest Salmon Spice Blend and the Black Truffle Garlic Filet Mignon served with a big, fat wedge of Gorgonzola on top.

Sitting just a few feet away from these chefs as they prepare creative dishes you won’t see on their menu is an enthralling experience, and the chefs seem to enjoy the action just as much as the audience.

When Masala Bay’s chefs return this year for their second Chef’s Series Dinner, we’re looking forward to learning the secrets behind their rich, earthy curries and sauces.

Last year, Masala Bay's Sunij made a wonderfully deep, complex Chicken Curry with cumin, garam masala, and a touch of heat, and explained Sag Paneer to us — a traditional Indian dish made with spinach and cheese.

Chefs Sunij and Indra, and restaurant manager Niresh are from Nepal, which borders India and where the cuisine shares many of the same flavors and spices as traditional Indian food.

At Masala Bay Grill, the food is Northern Indian at its best, with the chefs taking advantage of the freshest produce available and making every sauce and piece of naan from scratch.

Conversations with Niresh, leading up to this Oct. 17 dinner, have us hoping for some Indian street food-inspired dishes in addition to their classics.

If you’ve never been to Masala Bay Grill, you might not be familiar with the overwhelming kindness of Niresh and his chefs and crew. The restaurant’s beautiful view and soul-warming food aside, the people are just wonderful — sort of soft-spoken and gentle, and always wearing a smile.

When you come as a guest to the Chef’s Series Dinners, a good appetite is the only requirement. We encourage you to interact with the chefs and ask questions and, if you’re inspired to recreate any of the chef’s dishes at home, we offer a 15% shopping discount that night.

Our goal is still to help you find your way to flavor but I always find, from my eavesdropping/dishwashing perch in the back, folks also find their way to a relaxing evening, a few laughs with good company, and truly fantastic food.

Megan Scott is co-owner of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Duck, 1171 Duck Road in the Scarborough Lane Shoppes. Check out her food blog, ServingTonight.com.

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