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A Cheat Sheet To Indian Restaurant Menus

Foodies who like to sample dishes from all over the world have at least some experience with Indian food, and once they've seen how many interesting and exotic flavor combos Indian restaurants have to offer they're hooked for life.

But bland and unadventurous eaters in the world are afraid to give Indian food a chance, usually because they're afraid of spice, don't dig curry or have been told some BS about it being unsafe without giving Indian food a chance.


Vindaloo is a south Indian dish with many variations. The version you’ll likely see in an Indian restaurant will include some kind of meat base cooked with red chilies, vinegar, garlic, and sometimes potatoes. In India, the dish is known for its unmitigated spiciness. But at your neighborhood Indian joint, chances are the heat has been tamed. Unless you ask for it.

Maybe if they knew Indian restaurants serve up more than curry they'd give it a chance? The Takeout created a "cheat sheet" to Indian restaurant menus that takes all the mystery out of strange sounding dishes like Vindaloo, Chana masala and Rogan josh:

With most Indian dishes, you can select your choice of meat. When it comes to rogan josh, lamb is the only option. The key to its smoky and sweet taste is the base, which consists of onions that have been browned in oil or ghee (clarified butter) until essentially caramelized, as well as the heavy dose of bracing, warming spices like whole cardamom and clove. You might see on a menu that the dish has chilies, but don’t worry—the chilies used in rogan josh are usually mild ones. If you’re at a good Indian restaurant, your rogan josh might be finished with a touch of saffron—an expensive spice with a delicate, floral flavor.

Read A Cheat Sheet To Indian Restaurant Menus at The Takeout

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NOW I'm hungry! Sadly, no Indian restaurant in my town, so I have to cook my own. And even the restaurants an hour away are more bland than they should be. The secret to not knowing how spicy a dish is, is simply getting plenty of rice on the side. Then go for it!
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