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Thread: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

  1. #1

    Question Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Hi all,

    I live in Manchester, perilously close to a wonderful selection of Indian restaurants. It's been more than 2 years since I ventured there for a curry because I've been living in fear of ghee, cream, etc. My boyfriend eats meat and we've found a happy compromise when it comes to eating out - we have a selection of favourite restaurants that can cater for us both. However, I'd love to go for an Indian meal sometime soon and so I wondered if anyone had any top tips?

    I searched this forum and didn't have any luck, also checked out this site for tips about ordering vegan food in an Indian restuarant but wasn't very reassured!

    I guess it's best to avoid the creamier dishes, and the naan bread (this I know ) but if there are any other well known recommendations/things to avoid in an Indian restaurant I would be very grateful for the knowledge

    Thanks!
    "I am not mystical: it isnít as if I thought it had a spirit. It is simply in its element. That gives it a kingliness, a right." [Sylvia Plath]

  2. #2
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I'd go hunting for email addresses so you can ask them in advance and pick the one that gives the best answer.

  3. #3
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I'd say it's usually easier in Indian restaurants than most other nationalities. The ones I've been in, the waiters generally know what has ghee etc in it and what doesn't, and if they don't they can go and ask. The only problem that I can remember is when the waiters didn't know enough English to understand what I was asking but that's rare.

    I would phone ahead if poss to check if they can accommodate you - some places will adapt dishes specially but it's easier if they have some notice.

    Are there any Indian veggie ones near you? This one sounds quite nice:

    http://www.happycow.net/reviews.php?id=17418

  4. #4

    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Quote harpy View Post
    Are there any Indian veggie ones near you? This one sounds quite nice:

    http://www.happycow.net/reviews.php?id=17418

    Thanks both! I might indeed do a bit of phoning ahead.....and thanks Harpy for the find. Ashton isn't too close to where I am, and to be honest I am thinking more of impromptu (cider fuelled) visits to Manchester's curry mile. Therefore general hints & tips are what I'm seeking

    I really ought to just get myself down there and try a few places out. I'm sure my boyfriend won't mind eating his way through a few different menus while I figure out the best place(s) to go
    "I am not mystical: it isnít as if I thought it had a spirit. It is simply in its element. That gives it a kingliness, a right." [Sylvia Plath]

  5. #5
    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Like Harpy said, it's easier in Indians than most restaurants. Most Indian veggie dishes can be made vegan, and I find the staff are normally pretty clued in as well, just ask them to make the veggies dishes vegan for you. Naan bread is generally out of the question (yogurt) but chapattis are normally fine. You'll have no problems!
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

  6. #6
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Many Indians are currently turning away from use of dairy products for health reasons... And since Indian restaurants always have lacto-veg food, finding something they can make a vegan version of should be easy. I've asked for vegan meals at dozens of Indian restaurants, and with one exception, they have always been very helpful.

    Thy may still ask if you want nan (which usually contains eggs), but that's just because they aren't used to thinking in terms on animal free products.

    I've eaten some of the best vegan food I've ever had at Indian restaurants, and normally just ask them to make a vegan version of a lacto-vegetarian dish - something that it's easy for them to make without too much hassle, and they tell the chef to do this, and it almost always turns out to be really good.

    Alu Gobi, Mixed Vegetables, Chana Masala, Veg. Biryani and sometimes Navrattan Korma are among the solutions they most often come up with, veganized. Very tasty! If you have any South Indian restaurants around, it should be even easier, because they often use coconut milk (or tomato sauce) instead of cream.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  7. #7
    AR Activist Roxy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I love eating Indian food. I just wish that they had vegan desserts on their menus. I've never seen a vegan dessert yet, in an Indian restaurant.

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    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Quote Roxy View Post
    I love eating Indian food. I just wish that they had vegan desserts on their menus. I've never seen a vegan dessert yet, in an Indian restaurant.
    They do exist - I once had an excellent soya icecream filled jaggery dosa at an Indian restaurant in Leicester.
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  9. #9
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I had one at Kalpna in Edinburgh - it was nice but I can't remember what it was

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    AR Activist Roxy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    You lucky ducks! I went to an Afghan restaurant on Wednesday night which was very vegan friendly. Their food was similar to Indian style food but not exactly like it. Anyway, no vegan desserts unfortunately, so perhaps I'll make that suggestion to them next time that I am there

  11. #11
    erynne936's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    The vegan restaurant near us, Rasoi, is so wonderful as to mark their menu with symbols for everything that is vegan and/or gluten free! And the waiters are very knowledgeable about what is gf/vegan if you ask! I am so blessed to have such a restaurant near me! And, every Saturday they have gluten free vegan buffet, which always has a dessert, usually a rice pudding type of thing. Oh, I wish I could go every Saturday!

    http://www.rasoi-restaurant.com/ in case anyone is ever in RI

  12. #12
    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    In my experience (including Manchester's Curry Mile) any Indian restaurant is able to cater for vegans on a walk in basis. Normally it's just a case of asking them to cook the dish with vegetable oil instead of butter ghee. Once I've said that I just order any vegetarian dish I like the sound of but before ordering I ask them to tell me if I order anything with any butter, yogurt, milk, cream or eggs in it and then check again afterwards that I've not ordered anything containing those things.

    I know to avoid nan as you said but I've also found bombay potato and onion bhaji occasionally unsuitable - I think there is sometimes milk or cream in the bombay potato but they can make it as vegan, but the onion bhaji they can't seem to adapt, I think it is egg in the batter - but that's quite rare.
    Double check if you are feeling paranoid about whether they've understood you correctly!

    We normally order lots of side dishes instead of a main (you can always take any left-overs home) and usually we have a mix of:-
    brinjal bhaji (aubergine)
    sag & cauliflower bhaji (sag is spinach - it's normally listed as 2 separate dishes but anywhere I've been they've been happy to combine it)
    chana bhuna (chickpeas)
    mushroom bhaji
    dahl (creamy lentil dish)
    onion bhaji (fried balls of onion and batter)
    vegetable pakora (fried patties) if it is on the menu
    plain rice (flavoured rice is normally fried as well so we opt for plain rice as the meal can be quite oily)
    paratha or chapati are good alternatives to nan.

    If you have popadoms avoid the raitha they are normally served with (yogurt based but easy to spot as it's white) but the mango chutney and (hot) lime pickle should be fine.

    eta If there are a few restaurants to choose from I opt for whichever one has the best selection of vegetable side dishes on the menu. Most have a good selection but there are some who have less choice and if they don't have something aubergine based (my personal fave) I'll go elsewhere!
    Last edited by Marrers; Feb 16th, 2010 at 12:38 PM.
    Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. - Floyd Dell

  13. #13

    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Thanks for the info! I'm always a little wary of fried items (doesn't batter usually contain milk?) and a lot of Indian starters seem to be fried :/

    I did love pakora back in the day though, so if I'm wrong about that I'll be very pleased!
    "I am not mystical: it isnít as if I thought it had a spirit. It is simply in its element. That gives it a kingliness, a right." [Sylvia Plath]

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    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    No I don't think so. As I said it is quite rare that I've been told it contains egg. If you look up some random recipes online you'll see many don't contain egg. I've also had vegan tempura so that sort of batter often doesn't contain eggs.

    (I've been editing my post since you replied fdq so please reread it.)
    Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. - Floyd Dell

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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I asked for an espresso in a very well-known Indian restaurant in Edinburgh, and was given a hot chocolate And when questioned, they SWORE it was espresso - I thought I'd entered the Twilight Zone or something.

    Needless to say I won't be going back there.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Thanks again Marrers, I'm heartened to learn my pakora eating days aren't necessarily over
    "I am not mystical: it isnít as if I thought it had a spirit. It is simply in its element. That gives it a kingliness, a right." [Sylvia Plath]

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    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I've spent a fair bit of time in India and never once did I come across bhaji/pakora batter with egg in it, it's generally just gram flour
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    I don't know where I got the idea, but I was convinced there was milk in batter - I was thinking of the fish & chips/onion rings type of batter, but if I'm wrong about onion rings too then this is a very happy day indeed!
    "I am not mystical: it isnít as if I thought it had a spirit. It is simply in its element. That gives it a kingliness, a right." [Sylvia Plath]

  19. #19
    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Quote fooldramaqueen View Post
    I don't know where I got the idea, but I was convinced there was milk in batter
    It's always worth checking when you try somewhere new because several times I've been places where they aren't vegan (but whether they contain milk or egg I don't know for sure but I thought it was egg - and some online recipes do contain egg).

    Quote fooldramaqueen View Post
    if I'm wrong about onion rings too then this is a very happy day indeed
    Some onion rings are vegan - Sainsbury's own brand are marked vegan! Other supermarkets also have vegan ones which aren't labelled but people have posted about them on here before (try doing a search).
    Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. - Floyd Dell

  20. #20

    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Quote Marrers View Post
    Some onion rings are vegan - Sainsbury's own brand are marked vegan! Other supermarkets also have vegan ones which aren't labelled but people have posted about them on here before (try doing a search).
    Good grief....I've been labouring under a terrible untruth! What a happy day, or what a happy day Saturday will be when I do my weekly shopping
    "I am not mystical: it isnít as if I thought it had a spirit. It is simply in its element. That gives it a kingliness, a right." [Sylvia Plath]

  21. #21
    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indian restaurant ideas/tips?

    Have a look at this thread.
    Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. - Floyd Dell

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