If you’re new to Indian food, there are plenty of milder dishes and flavours you can try to ease you in to Indian cuisine. Not all Indian dishes are spicy, and most restaurants will allow you to choose your level of heat – from mild, medium to hot. Firstly, it’s important to know that spice and heat are not the same thing. All Indian dishes, regardless of their heat level, contain spices, as this is what makes the food full with flavour. Popular spices used in cooking include cinnamon and cloves. Heat, on the other hand, is not always incorporated into Indian food at a high level. Heat is added to recipes through ingredients like cayenne and red chillies; the amounts of these added into the dishes determines whether they are mild or hot.
A popular starter dish for beginners to Indian food is Samosas. These lightly spiced triangular-shaped pastries are packed with an assortment of vegetables; most commonly peas, potatoes and onions. They are either baked or fried, and are popular as an appetiser before the main dish. With simpler ingredients and flavours, these lighter bites are ideal for easing your palette into the wonders of Indian flavours. Our A La Carte Menu features a Samosa Chatt Salad (with either chicken or vegetables); the samosas are mixed with the refreshing and unique flavours of artichoke, watermelon and gem lettuce. This is also available on the Tasting Menu.
Chutneys are an Indian cuisine staple and are loved for their versatility. They can either be used in cooking or as a dip, with sweet and sour flavours to suit different types of dishes. A good way to introduce yourself to these chutneys is to order a selection of flavours with a side of naan bread. This way, you can taste each one in small quantities, before deciding which ones you prefer. The Raita, a popular yoghurt-based chutney, is a refreshing one including flavours of mint and cumin. This chutney is also ideal to have along with your main meal, since it will help to cool down hotter dishes. Our Vegetable Basket has a mango raita, along with flavours of spinach and chickpeas. Our Winter Vegetable Tiffin is also an ideal dish to try, as it’s a simpler dish with a beetroot chutney on the side. Our Vegetarian Tasting Menu also has a trio of chutneys as one of the dishes – this is the perfect opportunity to try different flavours.
With 25 to 30 different spices used in some Indian dishes, it’s no wonder Indian food has a reputation for igniting the palette. Our Tasting Menus are perfect for Indian cuisine beginners, since so many of the Indian flavour combinations are incorporated into them. This gives you the chance to get used to the spices commonly used in cooking, whilst also allowing you to decide what you like the most, and what you would perhaps leave next time.
It’s also recommended that people new to Indian food try curry or gravy based dishes, since these are the base of so many of the recipes. Our Railway Lamb Curry features our own masala mix, which involves a perfectly combined concoction of Indian spices. You’ll also have chutney on the side to cool it down, should you find it too hot.
If you’ve never tried Indian food, you’re yet to discover a truly magical journey in which you will discover the many spices that the recipes have to offer. Each dish is made with care and intention to deliver dishes that everybody will love.