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Terms to Help You Navigate the Menu at an Indian Restaurant

Going out to eat at an authentic Indian restaurant is a great way to get a taste of this wonderful culture. Traditional Indian food is full of spice and flavor, and boasts many dishes that appeal even to vegetarians. The menu, however, can be daunting if you're not familiar with a few terms. Here's a cheat sheet to help you navigate the menu on your next outing for Indian cuisine.

  • Masala - Part of Indian food's signature taste is from their use of masala. This is a generic term used to refer to a finely ground combination of spices and herbs that can be sweet or spicy.
  • Curry - Curry is commonly equated with Indian cuisine, and is a type of masala. Curry is yellow, aromatic, and typically cooked to create a creamy sauce for many Indian recipes.
  • Chai - Chai is another well-known Indian masala. It's a combination of sweet spices and herbs that are often used in hot tea.
  • Tandoori - This a third masala you're likely to see at the Indian restaurant. Full of cayenne pepper and chili powders, this masala is red in color. It's often used to create a chicken dish.
  • Paneer - This is a popular Indian cheese that's much different from traditional aged cheeses. Because it doesn't use a common coagulating agent, rennet, it can be used as an ingredient lacto-vegetarian dishes.
  • Samosa - This will typically be featured as an appetizer in an Indian restaurant. It's a puffed potato pastry that's also typically vegetarian.
  • Barfi - Barfi is a common Indian dessert cooked with two simple ingredients: condensed milk and sugar. There are also variations on the basic recipe including add-ins like fruit and nuts.
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    T A J Indian Restaurant
    1256 S Park St, Madison, WI 53715
    Taj offers an extensive selection of classic Indian chicken, lamb, beef, seafood and vegetarian dishes. I especially like the lamb shahi korma, which combines chunks of tender lamb with cashews and ra
    (608) 268-0772
    Taj Indian Restaurant
    1256 South Park Street, Madison, WI 53715
    Taj offers an extensive selection of classic Indian chicken, lamb, beef, seafood and vegetarian dishes. I especially like the lamb shahi korma, which combines chunks of tender lamb with cashews and ra
    (608) 319-1312
    Khana Khaznah
    2118 N Knoxville Ave, Peoria, IL 61603
    (1) Review Write a review
    (309) 681-0974
    User Review: "Just love the food served to me at optimum price"
    Royal Indian Restaurant
    279 N Barrington Rd, Streamwood, IL 60107
    (630) 872-0221
    Taste of India
    139 Sundae Dr, Rockford, IL 61107
    (815) 484-9200
    Priya Indian Restaurant
    939 W Wise Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193
    (847) 301-2491
    Sahara Restaraunt
    853 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193
    (847) 895-0100
    Simply Teeth
    905 East Rand Rd, Mount Prospect, IL 60056
    (847) 870-1111
    Peacock Inc DBA Peacock Indian Restaurant The
    700 N Milwaukee Ave Ste 130, Vernon Hills, IL 60061
    (847) 816-3100
    T Ava
    7172 Dempster St, Morton Grove, IL 60053
    (847) 966-8282
    Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant of Orland
    14812 S La Grange Rd, Orland Park, IL 60462
    (708) 460-5800
    Sher Punjab Indian Restaurant
    2510 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
    (773) 973-4000
    Gandhi India Restaurant
    2601 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
    (773) 761-4167
    Punjabi Dhaba
    2525 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
    (773) 262-2080
    Raj Darbar Indian Restaurant
    2660 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
    (773) 348-1010

    Indian cuisine has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. People in America - and all around the world - are coming to enjoy it more and more. Indian recipes are healthy and flavorful. Dishes are often full of spices and curry powder, but they are rarely overpowering. And the ingredients are usually fresh and authentic. So, if you've never tried an Indian dish before, you really ought to head over to your local Indian restaurant or store. You should be able to sample many different recipes and varieties of food at either of these purveyors of Indian cuisine. You should be able to sample curries, paneers, and samosas, for instance. You should also be able to sample several different types of rice. Most Indian restaurants and grocery stores sell a variety of cooked meats and vegetables. They often sell chicken, which is great in chicken tandoori. They also often sell cooked seafood and lamb. And they frequently cater to vegetarian and vegan customers, as well, by selling vegetable dishes. Indian cuisine can be traditional or modern in style. They can also be northern or southern in style. Many Indian dining establishments have begun to offer delivery options to their customers, making it easier than ever to sample Indian for the first time. So, if you're interesting in sampling a delicious Indian delicacy or two, you really ought to consider stopping by an Indian restaurant or grocery store in the near future. Odds are, you'll be glad you did. After all, there's a reason Indian food has become so popular in recent years!
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