How to order Indian food? Indian Cuisine Basics 101 — Delhi Royale (2023)

Indian cuisine is a rich one. There is something for everyone to enjoy in Indian food, including grilled 'tandoori' meats and kebabs that redefine the term "BBQ," a wide variety of vegetarian options like creamy vegetable curries with up to nine vegetables, and the best vegan dishes you'll ever eat, including cumin-roasted potatoes and pan-fried okra. Every major global cuisine, from French to Italian to Mexican to Chinese, has some variant of "chicken and rice," which is basically tandoori chicken with a side of steaming basmati rice.

The menus of an Indian restaurant in KL can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine. If you want to learn more about Indian cuisine but are unsure where to start, we will help you with this. Ordering Indian food need not be daunting anymore.

Let's start from the basics.

The Basics of Ordering Indian Food

Let's cover some fundamentals of Indian food before discussing what to eat and exactly how to order it.

First, Indian cuisine is renowned for its complex taste combinations and use of spices. To achieve the ideal balance, most Indian dishes attempt to incorporate all the flavors, like sweet, tangy, salty, bitter, and sour, into one dish.

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Despite the fact that Indian cuisine uses a variety of spices, most dishes aren't necessarily spicy. There are many mild meals on Indian menus, while spicy foods are typically labeled.

Indian dishes are often consumed with bread or rice and are either dry or gravy-based. It is up to you whether you want rice or bread, but generally speaking, bread goes better with dishes that have richer gravies or are drier overall. Rice pairs well with more watery foods like chicken curry or lentil stew, which can also be enjoyed with bread.

Indian breads are available in a wide variety, including paratha, naan, and chapati. Indians usually use a torn-off piece of bread with their hands to scoop up the gravy or other items from their main course dishes.

Although most Indians use their right hand to eat, you are free to use your left hand as often as you need to. It won't bother anyone, as many Indians also use their left hand.

Guide on How to Order Indian food at a Restaurant

1. Ordering Indian Cuisine

The first thing to bear in mind is that Indian food is not served in individual servings; instead, it is supposed to be enjoyed collectively. Indian food is ordered for the table as a whole or groups of individuals when there are a lot of people, as opposed to the west, where you typically order a main & side dish per person dining. This is due to the fact that an Indian dinner has several different components and that the food is presented on big silver trays or dishes before being transferred to each individual plate.

Therefore, avoid placing an order for the main dish for every person in the group when you are ordering Indian food.

2. Know the Quantity of a Dish

Before placing your order, it's advisable to consult your server about the number of people the main dish will serve. The options for a half plate and a full plate are available in many Indian restaurants. The full dish typically feeds 4-6 people; on the other hand, a half dish usually serves 2-3 people. However, quantities vary from location to location, so it's advisable to inquire about the amount, and they will let you know precisely how many people it will serve.

3. Know how hot you like it.

Choose whether you want your food to be mild, medium, hot, or extra hot before placing an order from the menu. Inquire with your server about the dish's level of spice and whether it can be made milder if necessary. When it comes to the degree of a dish's heat, the cook can always accommodate your tastes. However, if you would like to taste authentic Indian spices, let the cook handle it.

4. Know the types of bread in Indian Cuisine

Perhaps bread is a food item in Indian cuisine that everybody can recognize. But breads have a whole new role to play in Indian cuisine. Rather than being eaten separately, breads are eaten with gravy or curry dishes. This combination makes Indian food unique and balanced.

From toasted, paper-thin crepes to puffy, cushiony leavened bread, the enormous variety of bread kinds in India indicates that this sector of Indian cuisine deserves a greater share of the spotlight. Every region and every home in the nation makes its own version of bread, resulting in dozens of various sorts of bread.

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Also, keep in mind that, unlike many European nations, the majority of Indian breads are prepared on the stove not in the oven. Each flatbread has a delicious flavor all by itself, and it also pairs superbly with just about any creamy meat curries or spicy vegetable meals.

In order to give you a great introduction to the mouthwatering possibilities available in Indian cuisine, let's learn about eight of the most popular forms of Indian bread.

Bread and Dish Pairings

1. Roti / Chapati

This bread, also known as roti or chapati, is arguably the most well-known flatbread in India. It is one of the most basic and easy-to-make breads. It is best combined with dishes that are dry or do not consist of gravy or curry, like Aloo Gobhi and Bhindi Masala.

This Indian flatbread is made from a basic recipe of wheat flour and water, and each household throughout India has its own unique variation. Some people love their chapati with a drizzle of oil, while others add a generous amount of butter.

2. Naan

World-famous and almost everyone's go-to when eating Butter Chicken, Kadhai Chicken, Mutton Rogan Josh, or any paneer gravy. Naan is a leavened bread produced with yeast and maida. In the debate between roti and naan, the leavened bread, which is much fluffier than its flatbread relative, undoubtedly prevails in Indian restaurants.

In India, naan is more often consumed while dining out than at home and is thought of as a special bread or a luxury. It is regarded as one of the most difficult breads to produce, although numerous strategies for making it at home have been demonstrated to be fool-proof. It can be prepared in a tandoor and then coated with significant amounts of ghee or butter to make packed naans, normal garlic naans, and unusual ones like Nawaabi, Paneer, Chur-Chur, Keema, and Peshawari naan.

3. Parathas

A number of ghee-layering and folding steps are employed to create a tasty paratha's distinctive flakiness; these steps are similar to those used to create a buttery pastry.

After folding, parathas are fried on a hot Tawa to seal in the savory ingredients, giving a crisp, buttery flatbread that can stand up to spicy foods and creamy curries.

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Plain parathas and filled parathas are the two basic varieties of parathas. Numerous tasty vegetable fillings, like radish, cauliflower, potato, or paneer, can be used to stuff parathas. A meal in and of themselves, steaming hot-packed parathas are best served with yogurt or raita on the side for easy dipping.

Plain paratha can be paired with dishes like Keema Mutter, Vegetable Kolhapuri, and Sham Savera, while stuffed parathas like Aloo Paratha are often eaten with side dishes like plain yogurt or pickles.

4. Puri

Puri is a delicious unleavened bread from India that expands in size as the dough is fried in oil. Puri is wonderful when paired with curried potatoes or chana masala, puffing up to a brown, crispy ball. This type of bread is versatile and can be paired with almost everything from a Dum Aloo Curry to Malai Kofta.

5. Bhatura

A batter of maida, yogurt, ghee, and yeast is used to make this delightful leavened bread known as Bhatura. When deep-fried in hot oil, it puffs out like a puri. The Punjab region of northern India is home to Chole (chickpeas) Bhature, a decadent weekend brunch staple. So it is mostly served and eaten with Chole Masala.

It is served alongside chana or chole masala, pickled red onions, and a glass of lassi (a cooling yogurt beverage that can be either sweet or salty).

Indeed, Bhatura is so well-liked that a whole day, October 2nd, is devoted to celebrating its brilliance. Put Bhatura on your food calendars and give it the respect it deserves!

6. Kulcha

The next bread is frequently mistaken for naan because of how similar it looks. Naan is cooked with milk, yogurt, and yeast. Kulcha is also made with the same ingredients but has a pinch of baking soda and powder. Kulcha can be paired with a variety of dishes like Paneer Butter Masala, Chole Masala, etc.

The Amritsari Kulcha, which comes from the Punjabi city of Amritsar, is one of the most well-known varieties of kulcha. The crispy exterior of this kulcha is smeared with a thick layer of ghee, which contrasts deliciously with the spiced mashed potatoes inside, making Amritsari Kulcha one of the most delicious and substantial Indian breads available.

An Authentic Indian Meal and What to Order

If you are ordering food from a good Indian restaurant in KL, here’s how you should do it:

An appetizer or starter will usually come first in an Indian meal. Each person gets a small taste of the appetizer, which typically comes in the form of a nice dry dish with some pieces on each platter. It is frequently served with sauces or chutneys as a side dish. It's a good idea to have two appetizer options for a table of four, either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, depending on your preferences.

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For an Indian beverage, ask for a Lassi or a Masala Chaach. Lassi and chaach are the traditional yogurt drinks of India. While Masala Chaach is a spicy buttermilk, Lassi can be either sweet or salty. Unlike water, the yogurt in Lassi, as well as Chaas soothes the tongue, and it can be particularly effective in quenching the burning that sometimes comes from eating spicy Indian food. Spicy lemonade is also a great option which is as refreshing as a virgin mojito.

The main course then follows. If you're not a vegetarian, you could choose one or two chicken dishes that typically include gravies or curries. Remember to order naan with the dishes to enjoy authentic and the best Indian cuisine in KL. Additionally, a vegetable side dish is generally requested with Indian flatbreads. Following that, a rice dish with lentil dal completes the main course.

The meal is served with some, if not all, of the following sides:

  • Pickles

  • A selection of chutneys

  • Curd (yogurt), and

  • Raw onion as well as cucumber slices

Even though some desserts are decadent and sweet enough to share, especially after a hearty meal, they are probably the only element of the meal that is ordered separately. Desserts, however, are served in small portions.

For a complete meal for four people, order two appetizers, two meat main dishes (or two vegetarian main dishes in the case of vegetarians), one vegetable dish, Indian flatbread (naan, rotis, parathas) per person, rice with a dal (lentil soup), or a pulao/biryani on its own, and if you have room, order a dessert separately for each person. This is the way to do it to experience the best Indian cuisine in KL.

After the meal, you'll see a tray or dish with what appear to be bright, colorful rice grains when your bill is brought or as you leave the restaurant. These are sugar-coated and roasted fennel seeds with rock sugar candy squares added; alternatively, they might be plain roasted fennel seeds. You are supposed to chew on them since fennel prevents "Dragon Breath," a well-known side effect of delicious Indian food.

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In Conclusion

To conclude, we suggest eating with your hands for authentic Indian fine dining in KL! The idea behind this is that since eating is such a sensual activity, it should be enjoyable to use as many senses as possible, including taste, smell, sight, and touch. The right way to consume bread is to break it, then dip it in or scoop up a tiny amount of chutney or curry to eat with it.

Now that you know how to order and eat Indian cuisine, go ahead and order some delicious Indian food in Kuala Lumpur.


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