If you want to experience something different in Castlegar, B.C., head on over to the Cuisine of India restaurant on 908 Columbia Avenue. When my hubby took me out for lunch to this fully licensed establishment, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere, the friendly efficient service, the comfy booths, the exotic decor, the Indian music playing in the background, and especially, the huge menu of all the well loved Northern Indian dishes. For your information, in house dining is happening in a safe socially distanced environment. Of course you can always call them for take out and enjoy their wonderful food in the luxury of your own home.
My culinary experience there was awesome, I will elaborate below on the dishes my husband and I shared. For me the best thing, besides the excuse to dress up a bit and get out of the house, was, that the ambience brought me back to the distant past. I was going down memory lane with my husband, reminiscing about the time, when we actually met in a small village in Goa, India, 30 years ago. We were fellow backpacking travelers and then fell in love, while we were stirring a big pot of Channa Masala (curried chickpea stew) over a wood fire. It was a simple but tasty meal we were preparing for a group of friends in the verdant tropical jungle. So that's why I have a real soft spot for Indian cuisine...
So let's get back to present day; at the Cuisine of India I first ordered a mango lassi and samosas. Who doesn't love these flaky crispy deep fried pastries, filled with potato and peas. There are 2 in an order and they are a good size, served with mint and tamarind chutney. A great way to begin any Indian culinary feast and a good deal at that, for only $5.95! We demolished those very quickly, I can tell you. Other choices in the appetizer section were pakoras, chickpea battered fritters of different veggies. shrimp, fish, Indian cheese and chicken. Try the Cuisine of India vegetarian appetizer platter to sample a nice variety!
The Cuisine of India prides itself in cooking a lot of their signature dishes in their traditional tandoor oven, a special clay oven with a high temperature range. For example, Naans (yeasted flatbreads) or Rotis (whole wheat unleavened flat breads) get slapped against the wall of the oven. They adhere to the super-heated surface, cook very quickly, and are peeled off when they’re done. Then they are lathered with butter and served hot. The tandoor imparts a wonderful unique smoky flavor and these breads are a necessary compliment to every meal. There are some really intriguing choices for example, the stuffed flatbreads, such as Kashmiri Naan - raisin and fresh coconut, Aloo Paratha - mashed potatoes and peas, Paneer Naan - stuffed with homemade cheese, herbs and spices or how about the Spinach Naan - chopped spinach and shredded cheese.
If you like, check out the link below to see how those flat breads are skillfully baked in a tandoor oven.
The Cuisine of India also uses their tandoor oven to grill meats and fish.
One of the most fabulous and famous dishes in Indian cooking is Tandoori chicken, a fire roasted delicacy that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. It is traditionally marinated in yoghurt seasoned with garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin and cayenne pepper and other secret spices that only the renowned chefs of the Cuisine of India know. Their Tandoori specialties are chicken (marinated grilled chicken legs), the Chicken Tikka Kebab (boneless chicken skewers), the Seekh Kebab (minced ground lamb), Fish Tandoori and Tandoori Prawns. They are all cooked on long skewers that are either inserted directly into the oven or cooked over the mouth of the oven. Too hard for you to decide which one to have? No problem! The Cuisine of India makes it easy and offers up a sample platter.
Since I was there for lunch I decided on the lunch special, which is available from
11 am - 3 pm. In India I learned that such a meal is called a Thali. Basically Thali refers to the metal plate that a meal is being served on. (See picture above) Thali is popular in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other states in North India. The lunch special at the Cuisine of India is a typical meal consisting of rice, Garlic Naan, Chutney, Dal Makhani (butter lentils), Raita (a yoghurt sauce with spices and herbs), Channa Masala (curried chickpea stew) and your choice of either another vegetarian, Chicken or Lamb dish. My lamb dish was very scrumptious, a generous portion of big chunks of tender lean lamb in a delicious rich tomato based masala sauce.
My hubby went for the Kashmiri Rice (rice infused with raisins, cashews and sweet coconut) and the Rhogan Josh Chicken, cooked in yoghurt and rich masala.
Masala is a term for a spice mix in certain proportions, for example Garam Masala. A Masala can be either a combination of dried and dry-roasted spices, ground into a powder, or a paste made from a mixture of spices and other ingredients, often containing garlic, ginger, onions, chili paste and tomato. The in-house fresh preparation of these well kept secret spice blends form the basis for the authentic traditional dishes of the Cuisine of India.
I have to say that this restaurant deserves a rave review. The service was excellent. The food was exquisite, just how I remember it from my travels in India, mouth watering, rich delectable flavors, prepared in the traditional and authentic East Indian way, a feast, fit for a Maharani and Maharaja. By the way there are a lot of vegetarian options and 90% of their menu is gluten free. Let the chefs at the Cuisine of India spoil you and dazzle your palette with a grand selection of finely spiced dishes.
My suggestion to you is, go there with a couple of friends or family members so that you can order a variety of dishes to share and savor.
The cuisine of India welcomes you to a unique experience.
They even have another outlet in Nelson, on 409 Kootenay Street, the Tandoori Indian Grill.
They are open 7 days a week for your convenience.