Where: India Castle – 928 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
When: June 2012
With the foot still broken (seriously?) its time to try Indian food delivery. There is a place near me that I had ordered from before, pre-Five Spoons, that I did not like at all so made sure to avoid it. I was thrilled to find that India Castle, which I used to go to all the time when I lived on Harvard Street in Central Sq, delivers to my neighborhood. Let the ordering begin!
We got an order of Meat Samosas (homemade turnovers stuffed with lightly tempered and fresh minced lamb with peas) to share and then I got the Malai Kofta, my favorite Indian dish ever, which is balls of minced vegetables cooked with mild Indian spices in a tomato cream sauce. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Well, it was.
The Samosas were good but I didn’t find them to be above and beyond Samosas from a lot of other places – pretty standard but you can’t go wrong with them. The Malai Kofta, on the other hand, was amazing. The sauce was rich, with a touch of spice and cream. The vegetable balls were soft but firm bursting with Indian spices and flavors. Nice and saucy to slather on naan or polish off with rice. My only complaint would be that I want double the amount of vegetable balls but no one ever seems to give you more than two per order anyways.
Overall, India Castle delivered hot, flavorful dinner pretty quickly considering they are a little ways away from me. The Samosas were good but the Malai Kofta was delicious, definitely better than any other place I have discovered near me. I haven’t been into the restaurant in years but I remember it being nice, service good and everything all around authentic. I’ll definitely be ordering from here again, broken foot or not.
How did India Castle measure up? 4 Spoons!
Where: India Palace – 23 Union Square Somerville, MA 02143
When: April 2012
As good as India Palace turned out to be, it wasn’t my intention to go there when I started off my night around 8pm. We started at Brick and Mortar in Central Square (where the old Enormous Room used to be, RIP) where we had a couple cocktails (delicious). We then decided to head over to Union Square to Casa B, which I had been wanting to try. After being told there was a 2 hour wait (gasp!) we decided to find another place since it was already creeping up on 10pm. We headed over to Machu Picchu where we quickly got a seat and ordered a couple glasses of wine as we looked over the menu. As we flipped from page to page something very quickly became apparently – they didn’t have a single non-meat item on the menu. Not one. As comical as it was, we were hungry and this wouldn’t work as not everyone in our party was a carnivore like I am. We apologized and left as everyone looked on confused. We had seen India Palace before we chose Machu Picchu so we decided to go back there. There was only one other party in there but they were happy to have us and the service was extra good because of it.
We started with vegetable samosas which we inhaled before I had a chance to snap a picture of them. They were filled with potatoes and green peas – good but nothing out of the ordinary.
For dinner we had the Malai Kofta and Chana Masala. The Malai Kofta is a dish of vegetable balls crooked in a creamy sauce with fresh herbs and mild spices and the Chana Masala is chick peas cooked with onion, tomatoes, herbs and spices. The latter was good, totally fine really, but the Malai Kofta was so good. I couldn’t get enough. I think this is my favorite Indian dish and not every place does it well (ahem, Anna Purna) so when I get a good one I can’t stop. I could eat this one from India Palace day and night.
Overall, India Palace is a great neighborhood Indian restaurant with good service and well prepared meals. Great for groups (especially since they were so empty), small parties, the works. Reasonably priced and good sized portions. I’d definitely go back if I lived in that neighborhood but its a bit of a hike when we have so many good places around my area already.
How did India Palace measure up? 3.75 Spoons!
Ever since I first heard that making Paneer is something a home cook can do I have been itching to do it. I mean, making cheese?! How cool! Coincidentally, my first attempt was the same day I went to a cheese and wine pairing course at Formaggio Kitchen so I got to learn a lot about enzymes, curds, whey, etc. That stuff is all dead sexy to me.
I used this Paneer recipe, from US Masala’s site, which has step by step photos as well as very detailed instructions. You couldn’t mess it up if you tried. The process was really fun and the final product delicious. It’s amazing how much milk you need to make a small amount of Paneer (good recipe to keep in mind if you have milk you need to use up!)
Once the Paneer was made I had to find a way to eat it other than devouring the little cubes straight up. I decided on Paneer Methi Makhani, from the same site. I surprisingly had most of the ingredients on hand except for the Asafoetida but with just a pinch of that called for I decided to omit it. This was an easy, delicious dish that put my homemade Paneer to great use. I can’t wait to try some other Paneer recipes, especially Saag Paneer. Nom nom.
I had enough leftovers for a few days and then with my last day’s worth I did a lunch swap with a coworker and scored some sushi out of the deal. I think it was a win-win situation.
Where: Maharaja - 57 JFK Street Cambridge, MA 02138
When: September, 2011
I came to the Majaraja after mysteriously finding a Groupon in my wallet. I’m not sure how it got there as I had never heard of this new restaurant before but I assume I must have bought it on impulse and just didn’t remember. Or they have a fantastic marketing team that slips these things into people’s wallets, who knows.
Love the atmosphere of this place. Lots of heavy carved wood and gold accents. Goblets and details and gold trimmed plates, cutlery, etc. Reasonably priced but you feel a bit like royalty there.
Alyssa recommended we start Aloo Papri Chaat which I had never had before. I don’t know how to describe this other than an Indian savory version of Muddy Buddies (aka Puppy Chow). It was a crunchy and salty and sweet. I wasn’t sure I was in love with it but I couldn’t seem to stop eating it, much like Muddy Buddies.
For an entree I had the Malai Kofta which was delicious. Nutty and creamy, one of the better ones I have had.
Only downside? Well, they didn’t have their liquor license yet!! They have it now though so don’t let that deter you
How did The Maharaja measure up? 3.5 Spoons!