Best Mild Indian Dishes?
Help! I am going out to eat with friends this weekend to a local Indian neighborhood restaurant, and I don't know what to order. I usually avoid Indian because I can't eat spicy food, and everytime I ask the waitstaff for recommendations, the dishes they recommend turn my mouth on fire and cause acid reflux. (I personally find curry to have a kick -- I'm looking for 100% mild here.)
Besides chicken vindaloo and masala, what are dishes you recommend I try? Only once, I had a sweet vegetarian dish in a sauce -- but it was during a business meeting and I have no clue what it was called.
I would really like to enjoy Indian food, but my knowledge about the best dishes to order is very limited. Your help is appreciated!
If you want something delicious - packed with flavor - but mild, I suggest ordering one of the most simple but elegant Indian staples - Daal. It's "just" lentil soup, but can be ohhh soo wonderful. My mom makes it for me when I have a tummy ache, so it really can be mild and soothing.
Also, you may like mutter paneer (stewed peas with cubes of homemade cheese). The cheese (paneer) has a lovely spongy quality, almost like Wisconsin cheese curds. I've never encountered this dish with even a tiny amount of heat, so you should be fine. The peas (mutter) aren't supposed to be overcooked, and take on the nice rich flavour of the broth.
I can empathize with a sensitive stomach. My recommendation is to grab a little bowl of raita (say, if you're at a lunch buffet; if not, order some) which is a cold, cucumbery yogurt sauce. Remember, bases tend to extinguish spiciness (especially dairy), much better than water. A sweet mango lassi (mango yogurt shake) will also serve the same purpose.
Q: How do peas talk to each other?
A: Mutter, mutter!
I'll be here all night, folks. Try the murgh masala.
Have fun and don't be afraid. :) Do report back on what you try and what you think.
Vindaloo is one of the spiciest curries there is! If you want a meat, korma is your best option as it is a cream and nut based curry. Pasanda is a close variation, but has the addition of a little chili. Tandoori or chicken tikka will also typically avoid using chilies. Biryani is often mild and if it has a kick to you, drown it in raita which will moderate the heat.
Vegetarian-style foods can be mild as mentioned previously. Among dals, dal makhani tends to be mildest. Dahi puri will also be mild as it is covered in a yogurt sauce. Malai kofta has a cream sauce, so you should be safe there as well. Matar paneer as mentioned also is good (usually less spicy than palak/saag paneer). The only sweet vegetable dish I can think of is gobi manchurian, but that is Indo-Chinese and not always available. Kutcchi bhindi (sweet-and-sour okra) might be close, but it is usually served rather dry.
Either way, keep a glass of sweet mango lassi at hand and order some ras malai and you will be well equipped to tolerate a chili or two.
Korma is usually a mild preparation made with plenty of yogurt (which sort of "dilutes" the spices).....
very simple, but tasty, chicken: chicken tikka, and for a savory gravy, chicken tikka masala. (or if that is not there, murgh makhani, butter chicken.) you can always go with tandoori chicken, but for tastiness, i'd recommend the chicken tikka. aachari chicken or boti kabob are nice chicken and lamb dishes, respectively, without "gravy". shammi kabob or seekh kabob are spiced ground meat, but not hot. have a look at some recipes on the home cooking board, and you'll get an idea of ingredients.
if you don't like spicy, steer clear of "vindaloo", or "madras".
as to daal, i love indian food, but have not yet found a daal i like. esp. the black daal. tastes like dirt. oh, if you love spinach, like i do, try saag paneer or palak paneer (either mixed greens, finely choped and mildly spiced, or spinach, the same way. also done with lamb (lamb saag) or with chicken (murgh saag). imo, lamb is better. not hot, but subtly spiced and darned tasty.
in breads, be sure to try some paratha, or puri, or a stuffed naan (keema nan is stuffed with minced "keema" lamb).