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Feb 17, 2011 05:32 PM

Indian Spicy Kitchen--Austin's only Nepalese restaurant (?)

We went to Indian Spicy Kitchen in the Techridge strip mall on the SE side of Parmer/I-35 for lunch today. They have a generic Indian lunch buffet but you can ask for the dinner menu and on the back it list three Nepalese dishes. We sampled all three:

(unfortunately I didn't pay attention to names and there is no online website that I can find)

* The first and most generic were dumplings. Water-boiled and filled with ground meat, I would have assumed they were Chinese if not for the setting. The only thing special about them was their sauce looked more like a curry--definitely not a soy. I would not get these again

* We split a large bowl of noodle soup. Hard to describe exactly but it seemed to consist of rice noodles, chunks of chicken, assorted herbs. Subtle flavor but good. It also came with a spicy soy sauce mixture which we were encouraged to mix in. I liked this soup but it is probably not the most memorable soup in the world. It reminds me a lot of some of the chicken broth soup at Tam's.

* Most distinctive was their fried goat dish. Tender, lightly fried chunks of not very-goaty goat. Yum. It came with a large amount of popped rice (I think that is what it was called) which were also excellent when added to the soup. It came with the same sauce as the dumplings. I really liked this dish.

This is probably the most exciting meal I've had in Austin in a while (maybe since New India 12 months ago). Some regional specialties that to my knowledge are not served anywhere else. AND two of them were standout.

Please visit and let me know your thoughts.

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  1. I love Nepali food and will have to hit this resto ASAP and see if they are doing this delicious cuisine justice.

    I will guess that the dumplings were momos (also known as momocha). They are supposed to be served with timur chutney, which is spicy tomato chutney seasoned with Sichuanese peppercorns. Carter B-did you get any discernible Sichuan peppercorn tingle? What was wrong with your momos? Mushy, not flavorful? They are usually steamed, not boiled, but they are sometimes boiled, done like Chinese potstickers, or even deep fried, so the ones you have could possibly have been boiled. Good momo is flavorful from being well seasoned, and if it is a meat momo, it should be juicy. Have you tried Kala's vegetarian momos (like at the Farmer's Market) and if so, how would you say they compare?

    The soup is most likely thukpa (sometimes also called thupka). The noodles are wheat flour based and typically handmade. This dish's virtue comes from having a well bodied stock and also being embellished to one's liking with additional herbs/seasonings (a la pho).

    Both of these dishes originally belong to the ethnic groups of the Tibetan Plateau but are popular with all Nepalese and across the border in India. You would be able to get them at Tibetan restos as well.

    The fried goat dish I don't recognize. It was seasoned deep fried chunks? Or in a gravy? Was the rice crunchy dry puffed rice or was it moist? I am guessing it was chiura. The meat was on the "popped rice" or was the rice in a bowl on the side? Seasoned or bland? Hahaha, maybe I will just have to stop by and try it out.

    If their Nepali stuff is good, we customers should consistently make requests for an expanded Nepali menu, as we have enough mediocre faux Mughlai-Punjabi Indian options in Austin and it would be nice to have something different.

    6 Replies
    1. re: luckyfatima

      i'm glad you mentioned the tibetan/nepalese link, because when i first read this i thought:
      "hmm, those sound like momos...".

      and i agree that there is enough mediocre stuff and that something both different and good would be welcome.

      1. re: luckyfatima

        Thanks, luckyfatima, for the comments.

        I'm not sure if I could tell a difference between steamed and boiled dumplings. Definitely no peppercorn tingle. Have not had them from Kayla's so no comparison. They weren't bad, just dumplings to me.

        Didn't realize the noodles were wheat, as they sure felt rice-based. Good to know.

        Dry chunks of goat. Rice was puffed and dry and both were served on a plate. Moderately seasoned.

        Again, I've no comparison on these dishes, but the last two I'd trek back there for. I hope you check them out and give us your takes.

        1. re: Carter B.

          I called to find out what kind of meat dish it was. It is taas. I have never had it before, it is dry masala fried meat. It is served with above mentioned chiura, which is beaten/flat dried rice (can be served pan toasted, spiced, and dry, or rehydrated and seasoned).

          Will have to go check it out and give some feed back. Thanks for the heads up about this place, Carter B.

        2. re: luckyfatima

          wow, spot-on with your nepalese food luckyfatima! :)

          here's a link to a terrible picture of the menu...

          i tried the momos there this past week. they were okay, nothing spectacular, like Carter B mentioned. they tasted steamed to me, not boiled, and the filling was just okay. also as Carter B mentioned, the sauce was curry-like and didn't have sichuan peppercorn in it. i actually didn't care for the sauce, just preferred to dunk the dumplings in the side of broth, which had a spice kick to it...

          the restaurant didn't have aromas of authentic indian food, so not sure i wanna try that stuff off the menu...

          1. re: abidonfood

            Thanks abidonfood for the menu picture. How does one distinguish a steamed from boiled dumpling? I forgot abut the side of broth with the dumplings. It looked so similar to the soup in color we ignored it on the table.

            1. re: Carter B.

              it's a texture thing. steamed dumplings would taste "drier" than boiled dumplings. sorry, sounds dumb, but it's the only way i can think to describe it, hehe.
              yeah, i think most people would ignore the broth; just seems out of place, right?

        3. Any idea where the owners are actually from? There were nepalese livingi n Bhutan for 200 years or more before being subjugated in the 90s and put in camps (there's history and poilitcal reasons that i can onlo try to undersatnd why), there are a fail amount of Nepalese exparitates FROM Bhutan in austin right now, having been resetteled, actually.

          There ws also a Nepalese civil wayr but I'm not currenyl familiar with the details.

          Be interesting to know where they are from...

          1. I just returned from Indian Spicy Kitchen.

            I is a simple family owned and operated place. To address Rudeboy's question about the place, the proprietors are Chhetris, Hindu Nepalese from Kathmandu---this is also useful to know if you are at all familiar with Nepali food because then you will know the types of items to expect when (hopefully) they expand their Nepali menu.

            I ordered all three Nepalese items.

            We started with thukpa. The server kindly offered to split the bowl of thukpa for me and my dining partner (it is meant to be eat as a full meal in a bowl like pho). The thukpa was quite good. It needed a dash of lime juice and I took the lime that was a garnish on another plate and used that. With the squeeze of lime, the soup was quite delicious. And Carter B. was right-this thukpa has rice noodles in it. I have only ever had it with wheat based noodles, but I googled and found a couple of rice noodle recipes, so that could be an option. No special side sauce came with my thukpa. Fresh green chiles and herbs were already stirred into the dish for me, and the green chile became hotter as I ate the soup. I wasn't blown out of this world by the soup, but it was a good soup.

            Next we had taas. Taas is the fried mutton dish. I thought it was so-so. It wasn't served with chiura as I had suggested above, but muri (aka bhel if any of you guys have ever eaten bhel puri)-it is puffed rice. (I think it is made by roasting or deep frying chiura.) For me the meat was just like a regular thing that I would eat with a roti and I tried to expand my mind and enjoy it with the muri instead of roti but it was just a combo that I wasn't used to.

            I absolutely loved the momos. They were well seasoned and juicy. They were steamed very nicely. They didn't come with timur ki chutney or even a plain tomato chutney, but with mustard sauce. That was kind of weird for me, but actually not bad. I told the owner that Austin needs some timur ki chutney (it is Sichuan peppercorn flavored tomato chutney and is the traditional dip for momos). I would absolutely return for the momos.

            It seems to me that the place may have some grande-opening growing pains and not be 100% consistent yet because above reviewers said that they didn't think the momos were all that, but I thought they were stellar. My dining partner and I gobbled them up and were both oohing and aahing over them.

            I gave the owner the same shpeel about expanding the Nepali menu. The owner and his nephew agreed and told me that they were already planning on it.

            I would like to go back again and sample the Punjabi/Mughlai fare just to see how it is, as I am occasionally in the mood for Indian lunch buffet type foods.

            2 Replies
            1. re: luckyfatima

              thanks for the full report!
              i love me some momos, so i should really check this place out.

              1. re: luckyfatima

                Thanks, luckyfatima, for the informed report. I'll have to try the moms on my next visit. I hope you'll try the taas again.

              2. My family ate there sat night ans we ordered from the indian side and the food was quite tasty ans is better than most of the indian here in austin.We loved a lamb dish we had in a nut sauce and the chiki tiki was made perfectly and not dried out,The taff is attentive and friendly and they had kingfisher beer at a very resonable price,Id say its worth a try and i will try the momo next time.