Skip to comments.Vanity - Want to try Indian food for the first time
Posted on 10/13/2012 6:57:52 PM PDT by MarkL
I'm looking for some advice on trying Indian (like Raj Kuthrapali Indian, not "come to our casinos" Indian) food for the first time.
Every now and then, I like to try something new, and I've decided that I'm going to try going to an Indian buffet tomorrow afternoon for lunch, and I don't have the faintest idea with what to expect or to try.
I know that there are different curries, but I have never had curry. I know that they've got chutneys, but I have never tried a chutney. I don't know Biryani from Tandoori from saag. I don't know what Lassi or Nan is.
I would like to try something different, and I like mild to medium spicy foods... I once made the mistake of trying something "spicy" at a Thai restaurant, and I won't make that mistake again. I hope they've got some "exotic" meats, like lamb and goat. I wonder if they'll have chicken, but I doubt they'll have beef or pork. (Reminds me of a "Big Bang Theory" with Howard's mother speaking to Raj's parents, "How can there not be a single "Outback Steakhouse" in the entire country of India?!?!)
For people in the KC area, I've been through Yelp, and it looks like it will be either at "Korma Sutra", or maybe "Chilli N Spice" in Overland Park.
Any advice on what I should try or avoid would be very much appreciated! And if you have any descriptions of what the different dishes are, I'd be very appreciative. Wikipedia wasn't very helpful.
Try the Chickan Marsala.
Forget about Indian food....just go someplace else and get fried chicken and vote for Romney. Nothing else really matters right now.
Tandoori chicken is usually a pretty safe bet. It’s not as saucy as some indian dishes, it’s chicken, it’s good. Eat it with naan (flat bread) or rice.
There is an Indian restaurant down by the farmers market. Food is ok. I prefer the Italian deli though. Best seafood salad I ever had. ButI digress..
For Indian buffet, there will be a meatball type dish. Chick peas in curry, tandoori chicken, nan, some cottage cheese dish which I find disgusting and some lentil dish which is good. Of course there is rice.
There is nothing out there that will kill you spice wise” you will have to add it.
Get a job at a hi tech company, befriend your Indian co-workers, they’ll introduce you to Indian food, but do it fast before your job is outsourced to Bangalore.
Mmmmm, I love Indian food. I would classify it as “fragrant.” Try the mango pudding if they have it on the buffet.
Most Indian restaurants I have visited will gladly tell you which foods are hot or mild. They want your repeat business and understand that most visitors have a hard time enjoying Indian food that is hot.
make Dave Lister proud!
Nothing special. I’d rather have a cheeseburger and fries any time
I would be reluctant to go to a restaurant in a small town if it is like Chinese restaurants there. Indian restaurants do have chicken dishes and the waiter should be able to direct you along the lines you would wish.
My first time eating Indian food I was in a NYC restaurant and ordered a nice hot curry and a ginger beer. Well the beer was hotter than the curry so I almost died. It is fairly cheap so you can try several things without bankruptcy or a combo plate.
If the Indian Restaurant is a good one, you should should enjoy the food.
A curry is like our gravy. It is a combination of spices and curries can vary
depending on the dish. If you can get beyond the way the food looks, you will
enjoy. Most Indians are vegiterians, so they are skilled in making basic vegitables taste very good and different.
You will probably have a choice of chicken curry or Tandore Chicken
Give us a review after you have tried it. Enjoy.
Meat (you won’t see any Beef):
Chicken Tikka Masala
Dal Makhani - Lentils/Butter Sauce
Bayngan Bharta - Roasted Eggplant, Onions, Tomatoes
“I’ll be playing here all week; try the veal.” -HY
Indian food is my favorite.
After eating it for the first time, I discovered I had taste buds I never knew existed.
My only compliant about Indian restaurants is that they generally serve meager portions, and when I eat out I like to pig out.
You’ll smell like curry!
Chicken Tikka Masala with rice....hot but delicious.
Nan is a good flat bread. I always like garlic nan. You can use it like a tortilla with whatever other foods I get. Tandoori is probably the least radical departure from America food. Its like a fire roasted chicken but a bit drier. Chicken Marsala is what my wife likes and she isn’t very adventerous. It has a mello tomato creamy lightly spicey taste.
My favorite dish is Lamb Saag (Saag is just a spinach based sauce).
Provided you like spices especially curry you will thoroughly enjoy Indian. I’ve been lucky since I work with many native indians I’ve had home cooked Indian meals and they always recommend the best restaurants.
Chicken Curry and Chicken Biryani are probably my two easy favorites. You can ask for mild if you like, or order a side of yougurt to counter the spices. There are many Indian buffets, you may want to go to one so you can try different dishes out.
These are always safe:
Garlic Nan bread, vegetable korma, rice biryani, chicken masala.
I tell them I want 3 on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the hottest.
I love Thai and Japanese but I really dislike Indian food especially the currys.
There is an Indian restaurant near me that has had a lunchtime buffet for about 30 years.
It’s a great way to try different dishes.
My son and his wife used to go often and took me,but Indian food is not my thing.
I like maze on the cob.
This Bengali Sweet House shipped 3lbs of amazing candy to me by mistake, but told me to keep it instead of shipping it back. Absolutely amazing; unlike anything I’ve ever eaten!
Curried chicken, in the Anglo-Saxon-American way is tasty. Nan is a bread like a tortilla. Chutney is like salsa, but both with the curried anything and the chutney, you need a cast iron mouth and backside.
Take it all slow. Try one strange dish at a time with a dish you are familiar with. And stay away from the LIME CHUTNEY SALAD! Unless you have lots of beer!
Start with rogan josh, if they have it. I’ve never met anyone who’s tried it and doesn’t like it. After that try chicken tikka masala, or maybe something in a mild korma.
Wow, I wish you were local, I’d love to get you started. It took us a while to figure it out, but we love it.
Some starter notes.
For Westerners, pick a meat item. A tandoor is a type of high-temp oven, and roasts meat nicely. Usually implies some nice spicing as well. Get some tandoori chicken or lamb.
Now get a couple of veggie dishes. We like the chick pea stuff, like a chana masala, and aloo gobi, which has potatoes and cauliflower.
Get some naan, which is a flatbread cooked on the sides of the tandoor.
We also get some raita, which is a yogurt based side dish/sauce. Good for cutting the heat from the spices on the other dishes.
Hit me with any further questions you might have, I’ll do the best I can.
If anyone reading this has any suggestions for good Indian restaurants in ATL, let me know. For all the Indian population we have, the good, nicer restaurant choices are pretty slim. Had a great meal in Manhattan at the Copper Chimney when we were there around Labor Day for the U.S. Open. I can strongly recommend them!
If you're not used to Indian food and you go for lunch you want to fall asleep after you leave.
I love Indian food, and I also came to it as an adult (with a fairly low tolerance for hot/spicy, which makes my tongue curl up and say “ow!”). I’ve found that the key to eating Indian food comfortably is make sure there is something mild on your plate to “cut” the spiciness if you need to. There is usually a cucumber/yogurt dip which is tasty and a good choice to cool off your tongue, and it’s always a good idea to pick up some nan bread for the same reason. (I especially like garlic nan but really, it’s all good unless they’ve burned it accidentally.) As for dishes, saag paneer is a mild spinach & cheese dish that I enjoy as an alternate with a hotter curry.
Enjoy your adventure!!!
Don’t order anything “vindaloo” if you don’t know what that means.
I’d rather eat crap.
As others have suggested try a buffet and just get whether looks and smells good.
I seriously doubt an Indian restaurant in Kansas City would be serving overly hot food at a buffet.
I love Indian food but don’t get Kingfisher beer - it’s vile.
It’s a buffet - try everything!
No major food market likes their food hotter in terms of chili power (measured in Stovall units) than the Thais. So if you survived first contact there, Indian should be easier.
The waitstaff will probably be happy to help - everybody likes taking part in a virgins first time.
It’s addictive — i love paneer (cheese) anything — like paneer tikka masala or saag paneer (spinach and cheese). Faves are navratan korma or mattar paneer (peas and cheese). Like chili chicken and these veggie things called kofta balls. Be sure to try the usual samosa appetizers. Will look forward to your reaction.
Get a mild chicken curry and some naan bread, it’s all good
Speaking as a person of considerable girth, earned through a healthy appetite for a wide variety of exotic cuisines, I can assure you that:
1 - You will not forget this experience. Ever.
2 - You will most likely not want to repeat this experience. Ever.
3 - You will acquire a whole new appreciation for the dinner scene in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
4 - You will understand the dietary asceticism of Eastern Mystics.
5 - You will most likely crave a cheeseburger for your dinner tomorrow. (If you’ve settled your stomach by then.)
(Do you like Sushi/Sashimi? I love that stuff. Italian is good too. Or Greek.)
Throw yourself on the mercy of the owner, ask for advice and recommendations to avoid the really hot stuff.
Lassi is a yoghurt based beverage, kinda like a smoothie. Get mango lassi, it’s delicious and is very soothing if you get something hotter than expected.
Naan is a flat bread, it’s almost, but not quite totally unlike pita, tortillas, injera and pancakes. It is used to pick up food where there are no forks and spoons.
Biranai is something like fried rice, only not fried. Mild, filling, flavorful. Don’t be surprised if you find raisins in it.
Currys range from mild to OH MY GAWD.
A tandoor is a clay oven, tandoori refers to pretty much anything cooked in one. Tandoori chicken is spiced and roasted in a tandoor. It has a bright read color from the spices, a fairly mild flavor with charcoal grilled notes, usually comes with onion and peppers, think of a shiskabob.
Chutneys are like salsas made with a fruit rather than tomato base. Like Mexican salsas, the heat varies from mild to lava. Expect the dominant flavors to tend towards sweet and tart.
Pakoras are battered and fried vegetables. Avoid the green chillies, that’s like a lottery, nine out of ten are mild. The tenth one tries to make up for it.
Samosas are triangular pyramids full of vegetables, mild, flavorful filling, and always a hit at pot lucks.
Paneer is a stewed spinach with cubes of farmer cheese, you’ll go back for seconds on this one.
Chicken Tika Masala is a treat, chunks of boneless chicken in a buttery orange curry. Great with jasmine rice.
Lamb dishes tend to be fatty, and tend to have chunks of bone. Good flavors, though.
No beef anywhere in an Indian restaurant, but one can find it in Pakistani restaurants with spicing the Indians would use.
Take a little of everything the owner hasn’t warned you is too hot. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.
Go back and get more of what you liked. Enjoy some more.
Waddle out and report back to us. ‘mkay?
Chicken Tiki Marsala
Vegetable Biryani rice
Cucumber yogurt sauce
indian food has a huge heat(spice) range. Honestly, I would not do what your planning. I would go to a upper scale place and engage the owner/manager. Like a wine person, they will start you easy, and bring you along as you gain confidence. Unless you like really hot Buffalo wings you need to be cautious.
Things to know, the culture worships cows so no beef, no pork, great lamb. Lots of vegan type dishes. Vindaloo=hot. Lemon pickle is quite salty, ask for it and use it sparingly. While I mostly drink wine Indian beers pair really well, so go for a king fisher or tajmahal. Do get a nan (flat bread with just a hint of rising) too many to choose from. The “sauces” green, dark and red are amazing. I love onions the red stuff is onions, taste them one at a time then mix.
Raita, yogurt cucumber mint cooler to cut the heat.
Rice= Jasmine rice, just eat it its amazing.
No mater your experience post a blow by blow, good bad ugly. If you have ? feel free to ask.
All the recommendations were first rate, except the ones suggesting eating hamburgers or fried chicken instead. Don’t overlook the side dishes. Dahl is like pea soup, only tastier. Mixed with rice it’s delicious. Indian food is addictive. When I was working in Waterloo, Ontario, I ate lunch at a place called the Koni Noor (see: Kon-i-noor) just about every day. It was run by a family of Bengalis, (from Bangladesh, not India), wonderful people and wonderful food.
the vindaloo will force you in the loo. if you’re not careful.
My wife is Indian as I just stated on another thread. I am not a fan of exotic or heavily spiced food but the Indian chicken, naan and rice can be really good. My wife thinks it’s funny that my favorite food is bland mashed potatoes.
CONFIDENCE: (Holding a lightbulb over LISTER’s head) Ding dong! Another great idea from the people who brought you Beeeeer Milkshakes!
My first time at a Thai place I had to have the manager bring me TWO bowls of vanilla ice cream in a vain effort to put out the fire! And I had ordered my food as medium spicy.
I quickly leared to love some of it and some I can do without.
You gotta just hold yer nose and jump in sometimes.
Start cautiously and find a place that has a broad, varied menu that is well loved (meaning the parking lot is always full) and most importantly, well reviewed. Wait staff with good English skills will be very helpful guiding you through the options. An actual clay tandoori oven makes a big difference with the quality of the tandoori chicken, shrimp or what have you. A sampler might be something to inquire about even if it’s not offered on-menu.
The storefront variety of Indian with all the gold and red kitkat hanging about the place usually means too heavy on the yellow curry in my experience. I have yet to encounter a variety of curry that I actually dislike, but too much to the point of heavy on the yellow is a recipe for indigestion, for me. Red curry dishes work very well for me.
Heat as far as spice is a relative thing, what is great for me may be too much for you or vice versa. Thai hot is another planet for even diehard lovers of hot food, it’s hard to describe but the usual ways of quenching the burn just don’t work for Thai hot, for whatever reason. There aren’t too many Indian dishes that you will encounter that are quite so blistering.
If you are in a metro area that has one of the “better” Indian places, nice decor, white tablecloth, wine list, etcetera spring for that to hopefully guarantee all of the above are present in one place. You’ll pay more but it will be less mysterious and less of a gamble. Once you’ve aquired a feel for not just what you like but how it is properly done, you can then venture out into the smaller or less grand places and can find yourself some good Indian food for a good price.
In my local area, an Indian restaurant that I’d consider to be in the “better” category would be Saffron Indian Cuisine, peruse the website to see if this clicks and sounds like something near you:
If you’re going to a buffet, try everything you can.
Indian food is typically savory/spicy goop mixed in with rice and eaten with flat bread (naan). Lots of cream, butter, coconut milk involved in creating the savory goops, which includes curries. As appetizers/sides, there are samosas (potato stuffed pastries, big triangular shapes) and pakora, fried veggies/cheese.
My favorite is saag — that’s spinach goop, and it’ll be the green stuff, think like a spinach dip, except spicier. It can come with any protein, but I like paneer (cheese) saag the best.
If you’re watching your weight, go with tandoori only — that’s the red chicken.
In my experience, buffets tend to be not-very-spicy.
So there you have it, Indian food, at least as served in America, is:
- Fried potatoes inside a pastry
- Fried vegetables/cheese in batter
- Savory sauce with lumps of protein within, to be eaten with rice & bread
- Chicken tandoori
- Very limited selection for dessert, typically lassi
All the savory stuffs are equally likable IMO. Not really that intimidating once you get used to it.
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