Menu presents Indian cuisine in all its variety

Spice: At the opening last week of India Palace, about 500 customers were expected. Some 1,700 showed up, one of the owners says.

Restaurant profile

Howard Live

November 29, 2001|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

An Indian restaurant, India Palace, opened last week in Long Reach Village Center in Columbia.

"On our grand opening, we expected about 500 people - but 1,700 showed up, and we almost ran out of food," says Jassie Dhaliwal, one of the restaurant's owners.

Indian cuisine is a combination of subtle tastes where the flavors are as varied as the country's climate.

You could start your exploration of these tastes with one of India Palace's numerous appetizers: Chaat Papri (homemade wheat chips, diced potatoes, and chickpeas smothered with whipped yogurt and tangy taramind sauce), Alu-Bonda (mashed potatoes and spices dipped in a chickpea batter and fried), Vegetable Samosa (traditional patties stuffed with potatoes and peas) and Vegetable Pakoras (mixed vegetable fritters dipped in a chickpea batter and fried).

The tandoor, a beehive-shaped clay pot heated by charcoal or wood, is the traditional oven of northern India. That region's cuisine is featured on the restaurant's menu.

Meat is cooked in the tandoor on long skewers; breads are cooked by being stuck to the inside of the pot. The intense heat produced by the tandoor cooks meat quickly and seals in the juices, producing the distinctive taste that characterizes tandoori food.

India Palace offers a number of entrees "from the tandoor," including Chicken Tikka (boneless marinated chicken), lamb chops (tender lamb chops marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic and herbs), Tandoori Prawns (jumbo prawns marinated in a blend of Indian spices, then cooked on skewers), Tandoori Lobster (large lobster tails lightly spiced and charcoal flamed), Fish Tikka (marinated salmon cubes barbecued in the tandoor) and Malai Kabab (strips of boneless chicken breast marinated in yogurt, herbs and spices and skewered with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers).

The menu also offers chicken, seafood, lamb or vegetable specialties.

Among the choices under the chicken specialties are Karai Chicken (boneless chicken cubes cooked with garam masala, green peppers and tomatoes), Saag Chicken (curried chicken cooked with spinach) and Chicken Korma (mildly spiced chicken flavored with coconut and simmered in yogurt and nuts).

Among the seafood entrees are Lobster Khasa (lobster cooked in a delicately spiced, mild sauce), Prawn Masala (jumbo prawns cooked with onions and green peppers with cumin, black cardamom and cinnamon in a well seasoned sauce) and Fish Curry (fish fillets cooked with lemon juice in a mildly spiced gravy).

Lamb is often used in Indian cuisine. Consider trying Lamb Roganjosh ( pieces of lamb cooked with saffron, yogurt and spices), Keema Matter (ground lamb cooked with green peas, freshly ground herbs and spices, blended with onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic) and Lamb Vindaloo (hot and spicy boneless lamb and potatoes cooked in a tangy sauce).

India Palace offers a lunchtime daily buffet and weekend buffets, which offer diners opportunities to sample popular dishes, mild and spicy.

On Saturday and Sunday, a larger buffet is offered. "There's always Tandoori Chicken and Vegetable Pakora," Dhaliwal says.

"The rest of the dishes change daily, so that every time you come in, you know there'll be different choices," Dhaliwal said

India Palace

Where: 8775 Cloudleap Court, Long Reach Village Center, Columbia; 410-715-1424.

Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday brunch, noon to 3 p.m.; dinner: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday though Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Prices: Dinner $9.95 to $18.95

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover

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