|All photos by Melissa Arditti|
Indian cuisine is characterized by the widespread usage of a variety of delicious spices such as cumin, cardamom, ginger, garlic, coriander, red chilli peppers, and many more. The word spices, or masala as it is called in Hindi, is often referred to as the heartbeat of an Indian kitchen.
Entering House of India, located at 325 Ouellette Avenue, you’re whisked into an aroma of flavours. The actual restaurant does need some sprucing up, with some of the paint chipped on the walls and scratches on the furniture, but there are some traditional Indian paintings and while you are eating, you can tune into the TV with Bollywood style music videos to keep you entertained. (*Note the decor has changed now, this photo was taken in 2014)
The menu is filled with many options and also caters to vegetarians. If you are not familiar with an entree, the waitress is happy to explain exactly what you’ll be getting, right down to the spices used. Another plus is that they are very accommodating with the spice levels, so you can be adventurous or ask for a milder version.
The 1 to 10 scale works wonderfully, but I will say that even at a level 1 I was starting to sweat. However, it’s a good feeling because all these spices have well-known health and healing properties. For example ginger is often used for nausea. The knowledge has been used for thousands of years in India and has circulated throughout North America.
As an appetizer we had the vegetable samosa. It was quite tasty. Very light and crispy, but it definitely had a kick. The sweet sauce on the side was a nice touch for dipping.
If there was one entree that I would recommend, it would be the tandoori chicken with basmati rice. Cooked in a clay oven, the meat was so tender and, combined with the spices, your mouth was in for a real treat. This was just a half order, by the way.
Another fantastic dish was the lamb korma. Dip with traditional naan or paratha bread and oh you’re going to be satisfied. It had a stew-like consistency, so a great excuse to scoop it all up. The blend of richness and creaminess with coconut and raisins was perfect.
For dessert, gulab jamun would be a great choice to cool off your body after enduring the spices, as it is milk-based and will take away the heat. It is soaked with rose flavoured sugar syrup.
The prices are very reasonable and the portions are huge, so I was able to have leftovers. My home now has a wonderful aroma that reminds me of this dinner.
So, next time you’re in downtown Windsor, add a little spice to your life and visit House of India