Variety is the spice of life. So how do you like yours? Mild, medium or spicy?

Here in Bakersfield we are fortunate to have various ethnic restaurants to keep our food options plentiful. I would suggest trying New Taj Palace Indian Restaurant as a healthy resolution. They have been in their location for a little over a year and their food is made fresh daily with low-fat, low-calorie ingredients and no MSGs.

Owner Pal Singh has been in the restaurant business for more than 27 years and his restaurant is a reflection of the pride he has in his food and his culture. On the outside, the plaza it’s located in has gone through a recent face-lift and on the inside, it’s clean with white table linen service. Indian music plays in the background and the staff is very attentive and friendly. They can answer any questions you may have when ordering.

Taj Tandoori Chicken (Half $9.95, Whole $16.95):

What makes this a must-try is how it’s cooked. New Taj prepares this dish in its famous tandoor, a clay cylindrical oven that can get up to 800 degrees. The char and flavor on this chicken is great. It’s marinated in a yogurt sauce with fresh Indian spices and served up with crisp onion and green pepper slices. The lemon wedges bring a tanginess to the somewhat sweet hint on the chicken. Like I said earlier, Indian food is healthy. I can appreciate a restaurant that offers savory-tasting food without greasy, oily leftovers on your plate.

Side Dishes (Aloo Gobi, $9.95; Rice Pilau, $4.95; Garlic Naan Bread, $2.50):

These dishes could be meals in themselves. The aloo gobi is a potato-and-cauliflower pairing with herbs and spices. It has a curry influence with a bit of heat, but not overpowering on the flavor. If you like your food spicy, remember to tell your server.

The rice pilau is made with basmati rice and saffron spice with green peas for texture. Again, a great side that really complements the Taj tandoori chicken.

Garlic naan is the bread of the gods. It’s right out of the tandoor oven hot and fresh. It’s great for soaking up the great sauces that many of the New Taj dishes come with.

If you want a little taste of everything to start out with, New Taj Palace offers a lunch buffet every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It includes half vegetarian options, half meat options and a dessert bar for $8.99. Celebrate the new year at New Taj Palace with a healthy resolution of eating good food that’s good for you! 

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