Amrit Palace

Throughout the past month, spices used in traditional Indian cooking have found their way into many of our evening meals. When Ryan was in England a week ago, he went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant with some of his coworkers and came home raving about the chicken biryani. He said he knew I’d love the dish and we decided to head out for Indian food last night so I could try it out.

Amrit Palace Ocala

Though I’ve loved the at-home attempts Ryan and I have made at Indian cooking, Amrit Palace, a local Indian restaurant, put all of my meals to shame!

We started off with Kingfisher beer.

Kingfisher beer

It was crisp and refreshing and I liked it a lot!

My meal came with a small cup of lentil soup.lentil soup

Compared to the amazing flavors in my entrée, this soup was a little bland. I didn’t finish all of it, but it was a nice little appetizer.

When it came time to dig into our entrees, Ryan and I did a lot of sharing.

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I ordered the lobster curry which was fabulous!

Amrit Palace

The spices in the curry were strong and absolutely fantastic. I am not normally a big fan of white rice (I find it very bland), but when I poured my lobster curry on top of it, I couldn’t stop eating it. Yum!

lobster curry

Ryan ordered the chicken biryani and we both thought it was delicious. We were glad we ordered tandoori roti, an unleavened Indian bread, with our meal because it was perfect for dipping into my lobster curry.

Tandoori Roti

As we drove home, Ryan and I agreed that we will definitely be returning to Amrit Palace in the future. I think this was actually my first foray into Indian food at a real Indian restaurant, and I can’t wait to try more Indian dishes in the future.

Questions of the Afternoon

  • What are some of your favorite Indian dishes?
  • Any fantastic Indian-inspired recipes out there that I must try? Feel free to link up in the comments section!

Comments

  1. Kyler says

    I’ve actually never eaten at an Indian restaurant but my boyfriend is obsessed and recreated his favorite dish for us – chicken tikka masala. It’s so good and I can’t wait to try it at a restaurant sometime!

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  2. says

    I’ve been to an indian food restaurant once but I ordered American food because it was a diner combination. I’m super picky so I don’t know if I’d like all the spices and things in Indian food. I can always go for some naan bread though!! I love your outfit- that blazer is super cute 🙂

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  3. says

    I think its so funny that Ryan was in England, he wasn’t far away from where I live either! Hope he had a fantastic time. Your Indian meal looks so tasty, great to get a cup of soup with it too, yum! I love Indian food, there’s a great place near us that does the most amazing Goan Fish curry. They do a little salad too with pumpkin seeds and spices, which is so good.

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  4. says

    My husband and LOVE LOVE LOVE Indian food!! He got me hooked on it when we first moved to Sugar Land and we love this hole in the wall place right next to our house! Our meal of choice is, sag paneer, chicken tikki masale (spelling) and vegetable kwarma (again spelling?!?!). I have never attempted to make any of this at home but really want to try! When you go back, try some of the above dishes! you will not be disappointed!!

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  5. says

    Three words: CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA.

    As an Indian, I can definitely recommend this dish and tell you that it is one of my all-time favorite restaurant dishes. It’s actually (or used to be) considered the “national dish” of England! Also, if you’re a garlic-lover like I am, I highly recommend trying garlic naan next time! It’s so good that you can eat it by itself. And as a fellow lobster-lover, that lobster curry sounds fantastic. I’m glad you enjoyed the food!

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  6. Irina S. says

    Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines! I’m never *not* in the mood for Indian food. My favorite is saag paneer (aka palak paneer). I also like chana masala. They’re both great vegetarian dishes, and a few places will offer saag tofu (tofu instead of the paneer cheese), so you save on some calories/fat that way. To me, paneer tastes like tofu. Happy Super Bowl Sunday, woooo!

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  7. Christina says

    i LOVE indian food. Chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken and aloo gobi are some of my favorite dishes. Also, try the samosas SO GOOD.

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  8. ashley says

    Indian food is pretty much my all time favorite. I always get palaak paneer but also love malai kofta, chana masala, veg biryani…and so many more!

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  9. says

    I had a random roommate in college who was Indian and everything she made always smelled SO good. The spices really are different and so much more pronounced in the entrees. Everything she always cooked was delicious!

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  10. Ellie says

    Indian food is my favorite food to eat out! Butter chicken and chicken tikka masala..oh and lots of naan!! I like to go to our local Indian restaurant for lunch because there is a buffet and I get to try a little (ok a lot) of everything:)

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  11. says

    Indian is my absolute favorite type of food!! And my favorite dish? Anything saag (spinach). Particularly Paneer, but also saag chaana (chickpeas) or with chicken. Also, if you ever have the chance, try South Indian cuisine! Most of what you see in restaurants is North Indian, and south is a really different/interesting type of food. It’s especially great for vegetarians, because it’s almost exclusively veggie!

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  12. says

    I’m not a huge fan of indian food. It’s good but I can’t really stand spicy food and so for whatever reason it always tastes the same to me. I have a hard time getting past the spice and tasting flavor. I should open myself up to it again. Especially because I’ll NEVER turn down naan… 😉

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  13. says

    I am obsessed with that bread at Indian restaurants. My aunt took me to Indian town in Chicago and had me try a mango yogurt drink, which was also to die for. Look for one next time you go! You’re beautiful 🙂

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  14. Laura Katherine Clark says

    I had my first indian restaurant experience last night as well!! A few of my friends and I ordered veggie samosas for appetizers, raita (yummy condiment to add on), Nan (lots and lots of nan), Navratni Vegetable (fresh veggies in a curry sauce) and Chicken Makhani! I was apprehensive but I ended up really enjoying it!

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  15. Jamie Phelps says

    My father is from Pakistan and my mother is 100% Italian. My mom makes the best Indian food ever! She makes Chicken Biryani from scratch, and it’s amazing! I know you shop at Publix a lot, so I wanted to share this…the other day I was looking at different soups and right across from the soups in the same aisle there was a section with all kinds of things to help you make a really great Indian meal at home. I bought the jar (it’s in kind of like a jam jar) of Chicken Tikka Masala and I also bought the Biryani Concentrated Curry Paste. The brand for both of those is Patak’s. I haven’t made the biryani yet, but I can tell you that the Chicken Tikka Masala is 100% true to what my mom makes that takes an entire day – and this only takes about 20 minutes! My only suggestion if you try it is to add some red pepper flakes for a little heat and top with chopped cilantro at the end! Also, I DID NOT buy the Chicken Tikka Masala Concentrated Paste – they offer it, but I was looking for a quick pour and serve type of meal without a lot of hassle! :0)

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    • Sarah says

      Yes, Patak’s is a great brand! My parents are both 100% Indian lol, but while my mom likes to make food the authentic way (her chicken biryani is to.die.for. and so is my aunt’s lamb version- YUM!!!), she uses Patak’s in a pinch.
      But I like naan WAY better than biryani, and pair that with authentic butter chicken? Be still my heart 🙂

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  16. says

    Love Indian food! My boyfriend is Indian, so we go to Indian restaurants a lot and I’ve tried a ton of things. Highly recommend getting a dosa if they make them. I also love baingan bharta (eggplant tomato curry). SO good!

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  17. says

    I LOVE Indian food. Spinach, Chickpeas, Naan….it’s all so amazing. One Indian restaurant by me has pumpkin as a side dish. Oh my goodness. It’s SO good. I usually get curry wherever I go because I just love it.

    They also have a dessert called Gajar Halwa. YUM. I don’t usually order dessert at restaurants but this was SO good.

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  18. says

    I love curry! I’m a super picky eater so it’s actually pretty surprising to most people. Blue Menu Chicken Madras is my usual fix as it’s quick and easy for one. I also use Patak’s sauce from time to time. No star chef here so it’s actually a really easy meal.

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  19. says

    There is an INCREDIBLE Indian restaurant in DC called Rasika. They make a dish called palak chaat which is basically spinach that is fried in chickpea flour and served with a sweet yogurt dressing. It’s really just an app or a small plate, but I could get about four and eat only that for a meal!

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  20. says

    Indian is my favorite cuisine! I don’t have a favorite dish becuase everytime I eat Indian I try to have something different.
    The vastness of Indian is amazing and delicious!!!

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  21. says

    It’s so funny you posted this today, my boyfriend and I were just saying that we want to try good Indian food soon! I have only made Indian at home, never gone to a restaurant so if anyone knows of any in Chicago land please let me know!

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    • neelam says

      Hayley, in Chicago there are quite a few Indian/ Pakistani food joints. My personal fav is Serena and Usmania. Both are on Devon street. Serena’s biryani is less spicy if you’re not a spice fiend. But anyone who likes curry must try Nihari curry. It is curried beef and shank meat, slow-cooked (are you listening Julie?) over-night and has to be the most flavorful curry I’ve ever had.

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  22. AJ says

    lobster curry?! YUMM! I don’t eat a whole lot of Indian, but when I was in Japan we went to an Indian restaurant and I had cheesy nan…it was the best thing in the whole world!

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

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  23. Meg says

    My family owns several indian restaurants. Chicken biryani is definitely the best! I also like Dal Makhani (lentils). At our restaurants, they make it without a lot of cream so its healthy and yummy.

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  24. says

    Hi I read that quickly and totally thought you said armpit palace. I was like wow thats either the worst restaurant name ever or Julie really didn’t like it. Glad it wasn’t armpit palace and you enjoyed your meals!

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    • says

      Armpit Palace is what many call it locally that do not like Indian food. I have been there and the food was great. I didn’t see the lobster curry though so if I ever go again I will be getting that myself. I usually end up a block or two away for sushi. LOL

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  25. says

    at first glance I read the title of your post at armpit palace and continued to until I realized that just could not be right lol! I love naan bread that we usually get with Indian food, I am a huge fan of chicken tikkal marsala and shrimp shaag which is shrimp and spinach, its delicious!

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  26. Caitlyn says

    Other than biryani, vegetable korma is one of my favorites. One if my good friends from college is Indian and her mother used to make the most amazingly delicious dinners for us…her lentil dish is awesome but I have no idea what it’s called!

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  27. Andrea D. says

    Omg lobster curry sounds absolutely delicious! I am a huge fan of Indian and recently have discovered Chicken Tikki Saag, which is soooo good! You should definitely give it a try! If the restaurant doesn’t offer tikki saag, regular saag is very good too. I found this recipe recently that is actually Moroccan chicken, but the flavor is exotic and delicious–definitely something different to try if you are looking to kick up the flavor in the kitchen!

    http://recipes.womenshealthmag.com/Recipe/moroccan-stewed-chicken.aspx

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  28. says

    mmmm! i LOVE indian food. i would recommend chicken tikka masala, chana masala, saag paneer, dal, and lots of naan! samosa is a great appetizer too. honestly, i don’t think you can go wrong with indian food. if you’re looking for healthier options, stick with the tandoori options. yum yum yum!

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  29. Esha says

    It always makes me so happy to see people enjoying Indian cuisine! I’m Indian, but from another part of India where our home/local cuisine isn’t the typical Indian restaurant fare you would see at restaurants, so I don’t really make that style food at home. Punjabi food (like the restaurant you ate at yesterday and most Indian restaurants) is no doubt amazing and next time, like someone else had mentioned, definitely try Chicken Tikka Masala or for a veggie dish try Palak/Saag Paneer (kind of like a creamed spinach and cheese dish) or Chole (chickpeas dish)…based on what I read on your blog I think you guys would enjoy it!

    Also, since you’re the Smoothie queen, I could totally see you liking a mango lassi!

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  30. Esha says

    Ooh, and you should totally try South Indian food sometime! A lot of times they offer South Indian food at Indian restaurants that serve mainly Punjabi food, but my 2 favorites are dosa and uttapam, both of which are similar. They’re like thin semi-crispy crepes but dosa you can get plain or filled with a spicy potato filling and uttapam mostly already has vegetables in it like a pancake. But both you can dip into a coconut chutney or veggie stew/soup and they’re heavenly!!

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  31. Bridget B. says

    Everyone is saying it, but I will just add Chicken Tikka Masala is out of this world, especially if it’s hot and fresh. Saag paneer is also great. I love the samosas too, but they are addictive and definitely fried so very few health benefits. Hah! The flavors are all so tempting. Enjoy yourself!

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  32. says

    This is great! My roommate is obsessed with Indian food. Eats it all the time and even cooks tons of dishes at our place. I’ve NEVER had anything other than Naan. Terrible, I know. I made a promise to her and her boyfriend that I’ll give it a shot. We have some great spots around us that have lunch buffets. I think that might be the best bet for me. That way I can try a bit of everything and see what I really like!

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  33. Karey says

    I spent a year doing voluntary service in England a few years ago. I was in Bradford, England which is considered the curry capital of the UK because it has over 365 Indian restaurants. So, as you can imagine, I ate a lot of indian food. 🙂 My absolute favorite dish is Chicken Korma with Mango Lassi to drink. The korma is a little sweeter and definitely worth trying sometime!

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  34. says

    yum! I love curries, but I’ve only ever made Indian food at home. I don’t have anyone who wants to venture out into the restaurant world with me to try Indian food. Looks like I might just have to go on my own! I love naan bread though; it’s so so delicious, but I’m a bread lover. I love Indian food because there’s so many vegetarian options as well.

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  35. Karen says

    My favorite Indian dish is chicken & spinach, you must try it! It looks like creamed spinach. Some menus called it Saag or Saagwala or Shaag (which means greens, and can be spinach, mustard greens, and/or fenugreek) and other places call it Palak (which actually means spinach).

    Saag/Palak can also be served with lamb, cheese or chickpeas – but the chicken is my favorite!

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  36. Kesley says

    I could eat Indian food everyday for the rest of my life! Seriously so yummy. My absolute favorite is any Vindaloo- it’s a spicy curry and Saag Paneer. !

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  37. Sarah says

    Most Indian restaurants I’m aware of have a lunch buffet – I’d highly suggest that to get tastes of lots of things. My favorite is Chicken Korma, and I’ve also started to like gajar halwa (sweet carrot pudding).

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  38. Zoe says

    There is a great place in my college neighborhood which used to be a traditional diner in the 50’s. Now it serves Indian food and American diner food! It’s a great place to go for everyone’s favorite dish.

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  39. Erin says

    When I first saw this post in my feed I thought it said armpit palace. I’ve only had Indian food a couple times. After this post, I’m thinking I need to try it again!

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  40. says

    First of all, super cute outfit! You are just so fashionable :).

    I LOVE Indian food. Indian food is generally very vegetarian and vegan friendly, so I just recently started eating it this past year. And boy, am I glad that I have. I love all of the spices and flavors and the incorporation of vegetables and lentils is fabulous. Some of my favorite Indian dishes that I have tried so far are vegetable korma, saag, sweet potato dal, masoor dal, etc., etc., etc. I love it all! 😉

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  41. Lauren says

    My go-to meat dishes are chicken tikka masala and butter chicken, but probably some of my favorite Indian dishes are vegetarian (although I’m not a vegetarian myself). I love anything with paneer.

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  42. says

    I love Indian food (my step father-in-law is from India). I had it twice last week.
    I HIGHLY recommend trying…
    1) Samosas
    2) Naan (like roti, but I prefer it more)

    Some of my other personal favorites are butter chicken and mutter paneer (aka peas and cheese).
    Delicious!

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  43. says

    As an Indian it’s probably appalling that I don’t really like Indian food- haha doesn’t go down well at home! One of the few dishes I love is channa masala (a chickpea dish) with tandoori roti & plain yogurt to take the heat off!

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  44. says

    I’m not a huge fan of indian food so much anymore, but my partner is. He loves Lamb Korma and Butter Chicken. He also loves naan bread. Raita is really refreshing to have with a spicy dish too!

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  45. says

    I am obsessed obsessed obsessed with butter chicken and garlic naan. If you are ever in DC, there is this hole in the wall place called Mehak that I got a bunch of friends hooked on. You should definitely try it out if you find yourself in the District! 🙂 Also, thanks for the heads up on #28DBC. I just started a new healthy lifestyle blog a week ago, and the challenge is really helping me build it up! Have a great week 🙂

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  46. Sheila says

    Several people have recommended different Kormas (lamb, chicken, vegetable) and I totally agree – they’re made with a cashew cream sauce that is just heavenly. It’s an incredibly unique, earthy, creamy flavor – highly recommend!!

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  47. sarah says

    Palak Paneer or Saag Paneer (I’m not sure what the difference is). It’s Indian homemade cheese cooked in a creamy spinach. I can’t get enough of it! It’s great with brown basmati rice and/or naan. Our local indian restaurants has Pesto Naan, sooo good!

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  48. says

    dahhh I’m drooling here! Great, now I want Indian and it’s only one of my favorite foods ever! But it can be so pricey sometimes that I TRY not to eat it too often. Your meal looks incredible! And I’m so surprised to see seafood in an Indian dish as I’ve never seen that before. My faves are chicken korma, vindaloo, and their rice is always good–flavored OR plain! ahhhh and garlic naan is amazing. You have to try that.

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  49. says

    You can’t beat a good chicken korma! It’s mild not spicy but the taste, if you get a good one, is amazing! I definitely think good Indian restaurants are hard to find but when you do find one your mind will be blown…and your mouth if you have a vindaloo. Poppadoms are so yummy with mint raita or spicy onion and tomato sauce. And onion bhajis are such a treat if you have no problem with deep friend calorie filled food 🙂

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  50. Nisha says

    Hi 🙂
    You need to try masala dosa. It’s really good. It’s a crunchy crepe made out our white lentils batter stuffed with spicy potato and fried onions. It’s really good. My parents are from India. Honestly, I’ve had Indian byriani and Pakistani byriani and Pakistani is better.
    Lamb samosa and veggie pakoras are also really really good!!

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  51. Laurie says

    Here is a recipe for Indian naan. It’s not the healthiest but so flipping yummy. You can use a skillet instead of a grill to cook it. Also the butter come out best if you make a roux (real butter is a must) and put garlic in that.
    http://www.grouprecipes.com/70190/naan-bread.html
    As for a dish to go with it I created a super easy dish based off one I love at my favorite Indian restaurant. At the grocery store in the International section you’ll see patacks (whole foods and trader joes also have versions).
    1. Follow the recipie on the back; I usually just add tons of veggies.
    2. While this is cooking steam up some rice.
    3. Combine.
    4. Cut puff pastry into four strips. Layer puff pastry on the bottom of a baking pan then spread Patacks and rice mix. Basically pretend your making lasagne. The top layer should be puff pastry.
    5. Take egg whites and spread on top. This is to brown the pastry. you can skip iy but this makes eye candy.
    6. Bake following the puff pastry pkg directions.

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  52. says

    My husband and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Indian food. We’re lucky to be in DC and have a ton of fantastic local Indian restaurants around us. We love it so much I was pretty sure my son would come out as a little Indian boy because I ate so much of it while I was pregnant. Alu Gobi is my absolute favorite dish. It’s a vegetarian dish of cauliflower and potatoes that is tender and delicious. Mmmm sooo good. My second favorite dish, my husband’s favorite, is the Chicken Tikka Masala. We also really like Baigan Bharta, another vegetarian dish that consists of eggplant. Really delicious! And of course naan 🙂 I, too, dislike white rice but basmati rice is seasoned and buttery which makes it extra yummy.

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  53. says

    I highly recommend paneer tikka masala, malai kofta, and any kind of chaat appetizer (my favorite is samosa chaat). Dosas (which are a south Indian dish versus north Indian like what you ate at Amrit Palace) are also delicious and super fun to eat. They’re huge, thin Indian pancakes filled with a veggie filling and served with a variety of chutneys. YUM!

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  54. says

    First.. totally read that as “Armpit Palace” haha. We LOVE Indian food! I make Chana Masala a lot at home and I made Naan (recipe is on my blog, chefbyinvitation.com) which was surprisingly easy to make.

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  55. Darby says

    Julie, my best friend is Indian. So anything her mother cooks is what I recommend 😉 however, obviously everyone cannot try her food. The next best thing would be to order chicken tikka masala. It’s rich, but oh so delicious! It’s definitely a once in a while kinda dish but it happens to be the best thing in most Indian restaurants here.

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    • Dione says

      grocery stores around me. I also work with a ton of Indian people and get to taste their food on occasion. I’m trying to expand my repetoir of dishes…so far it’s limited to Chana masala and toor dal. But I’m learning!
      Sorry for the chopped up post stupid iPhone jumped around.

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  56. Pam S says

    I live in London now and Indian is probably the most popular ethnic food here, it’s so good and authentic, but lobster curry sounds amazing!!!

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  57. says

    I love chicken tiki Masala. I tried making it at home and it was good but definitely no Indian restaurant food 🙂 the Nan is so good too! I agree the rice by itself is bland. You need to mix it all together!

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  58. missy says

    you need to do a weekly blog post “julie eats at a new ethic restaurant”. it would be good for you since you dislike spice so much and seem to be apprehensive about trying new foods from different cultures.

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  59. Charlotte says

    Chicken tikka masala is really easy to make, you can either buy the curry paste or the pre-made sauce. Pataks brand is best, in our town it is found in the English food section (it’s an English brand). Korma is milder, but not as healthy as the recipe needs a lot of cream. If you like spice, try ordering a vindaloo curry next time you’re there, it’s my favorite. My boyfriends favorite is butter chicken.
    I hope you enjoy testing these out! I received 2 Indian cookbooks for Christmas and cannot wait to test them out more!

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  60. Linda says

    Chicken Tikka Masala is my all time favorite Indian meal. Next time you should try and see if they have a buffet. Lunch buffets are nice because they generally do not cost as much as dinner meals do and you get to try a variety of different Indian dishes.

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  61. Jillian says

    I absolutely love Indian food! My favorite dishes are Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken. Garlic naan is a must-have as well 🙂

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  62. says

    Thinking back of all our times in America we never once saw a big Indian around Florida..only a takeout I think across from Chilli’s (or maybe it’s a pretty squished sit in resturant?? haha)..that was my mum’s new years resolution to go to the Indian more, and she already goes pretty much every other week! Haha an amazingggg dish that isn’t always on the menu but is marinated first in chicken tikka spices is a chicken tikka LABABDAR curry (lababdar sauce is mild and creamy, usually with yogurt). IT IS AMAZING!! My mum got a gift day to learn how to cook it from the chefs recipe at a nearby restaurant as it’s her favourite..I haven’t ordered any other since my mum suggested I try that haha goes very nice with a chappati bread (roti?). Actually have a takeaway of it in the freezer as a weekend treat (double orders one in and one out on a dinner date..oh yes! haha).

    I usually order labadar off the menu and most places I would think would do it if it isn’t on as it’s less common but just a different sauce so easy enough done I would think! Lucinda 🙂

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  63. Valerie @ FreshMutz says

    I loved Indian food!. My husband and I discovered a local Indian buffet which we’ve since designated our new Sunday brunch spot. We are both fans of chicken korma and chicken tikka masala. I also like Saag Paneer.

    I made this recipe for chicken korma many times subbing skinless boneless thighs for breasts. It may not be the most authentic, but it’s received rave reviews: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-chicken-korma/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=korma&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e13=A%3aSearch%20Results-List%28control%29&e7=Recipe

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  64. says

    Hi Julie. First let me say that I am glad that Sadie is going to be alright!! I have two dogs and I would be heartbroken if anything happened to them.
    Second, I am a bit behind in reading your posts as I have been in Guatemala for two weeks, doing some work as volunteer coordinator of a health and education project that a group of us started 10 years ago. It has been intense and amazing and sad all at once.
    I have been trying to keep in shape by doing some of your circuits that dont require equipment, and hiking in the steep hillsides here — i am not used to the altitude so it really kicks my butt.
    right now I am back in the city of Quetzaltenango (the village where we work is about 3 hours from here , up in the mountains), and planning to go for dinner at Sabor de la India tonight — it is a very random thing to have an indian restaurant smack in the middle of Guatemala, but i am very glad it is there — the food is delicious!
    Anyway, just a note to say hello and see you again online once I am home in Canada. I would love to send you my dispatch from this trip if that is ok — i would be honored if you would read it. it is just a description of our trip, the people we meet and work with, and the things that happen in the village of Comitancillo, Guatemala.

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