India Up North

Northern Minnesota’s restaurant scene has more to offer than walleye and wild rice.  I am pleased that my teens’ palates gravitate toward places like the India Palace when we decide to have a family dinner out (although a fresh fish fry is nothing to grumble about).

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.A meal could be made out of the appetizers alone, but we take the sampler approach and divvy up one of the India Palace’s House Platters, with my favorite Vegetable Samosas (triangle pies stuffed with potatoes and peas blended with spices), Vegetable Pakora (fritters), Pneer Pakora (cheese fritters) and Aloo Tikki (seasoned potato patty), along with an order of Naan and chutney sauces (I could eat their mint chutney with a spoon)!

india palace platter 9_28_12

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The atmosphere at the India Palace is welcoming and low-key (just like northern Minnesota).  Scattered throughout the restaurant are beautiful wall hangings and tapestries.  One thing I learned after reading further about Ganesha, the elephant god, is that depicting Ganesha with only two hands is taboo.  (Interested in learning more about Ganesha?  Check out this link). I am reminded of how little I know about certain cultures and religions, and how many fascinating stories are just waiting to be told, if only one takes the time to watch and listen.

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Unfortunately, the evening lighting was somewhat dim for my unsophisticated camera, so my food photos from this particular evening are few, as I did not think the photos accurately reflected the dishes and the meal we enjoyed.  My family was not patient enough to let me try to take the perfect shot before digging into the meal, and before you knew it, we were looking at empty serving bowls, with any leftover sauce on the plates sopped up by a delicious piece of naan.  We enjoy the family-style dining, sharing portions of the Chicken Jalfrezi, Lamb Kashmiri and Beef Malabar.  This time we tried the Aloo Gobi, as well, for our vegetarian selection. You can’t go wrong, whatever your selection.

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We really need to remind ourselves that spicy in Minnesota is usually still humane, and by requesting the mild level spice on some of the dishes (for fear my nose will start running and taste buds numb to the point of tasting nothing) we lose out on some of the more complex tastes of Indian cuisine.  Half the family falls into the category of hot spicy adventurers, while the other half (my youngest son and me) fall into the category of spicy wimps.  If only my physical tolerance for spice was greater!  I have tried, truly I have, but it is a sad state of affairs when I push the envelope and then spend the rest of the meal drinking milk and eating bread in an effort to calm the fire in my mouth and throat.

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We always leave room for dessert at the India Palace — their homemade mango ice cream is such a refreshing end to a meal, summer or winter, spicy meal or not.  This time, one of my sons tried the Gulab Jamun (milk balls dipped in sweet syrup), served warm.

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As we departed, this group of gentlemen was kind enough to let me take their picture, after I offered to take a group photo of them  with one of their cameras (I noticed during dinner that they took turns taking photos of each other with different cameras, but that always left one of them out of the picture — similar to the majority of the family vacation photos we have, where I make someone take one picture of me, to prove I was on vacation, too!).  In this picture you can see several of them were enjoying the mango lassi drink which is my youngest son’s favorite!  You get a better flavor for the rustic setting and interesting decor, which I have highlighted throughout this post.

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I admit to being a relative neophyte when it comes to Indian cuisine, but I have been collecting some interesting recipes lately (thank you, Peri’s Spice Ladle).  Perhaps you will see a future post featuring my husband’s foray into Indian cooking, along with a few phrases of Hindi since that has been the latest language my eldest son has taken an interest in learning!  In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy our “up north” option for Indian cooking at this comfortable spot in downtown Duluth.

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Ciao! ~ Kat

10 thoughts on “India Up North

  1. oj my oh my oh my…..my stomach is growling, my mouth watering and the rest of me pining away for such a meal. Especially the appetizers and the desserts!!! I will be back in India in just 10 days and will be “into” all of this very soon. I actually cook mostly Indian food at home, but the simple everyday meals. The appetizers, although I know HOW to make them, are just too time consuming for me to really bother. Indian women LIVE in their kitchens!! Peri definitley has some wonderful ideas as well. And I am also a Spice wimp as you call it. but always manage to find things to eat, even in India. And my Indian friends there, when they invite me for a meal, know they will be preparing a “bland” meal so that I can happily eat with them, but they are nice enough to do that for me. Oh dear, I am sooooooooo hungry at the moment. Wish I could eat the photos!! 😀

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  2. Oh my goodness, New Blogging Friend! Did you happen to read my post from last night? We were invited out to eat Indian food in our small town and had the most marvelous time. Your India Palace sounds most wonderful. Indian food…be still, my hungry heart! Thank you, Kat.

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    1. Oh my — how funny and coincidental that is! Must be something in that northwoods air as the weekend approaches and the temps start dipping lower! What a wonderful evening you had, as well! ~ Kat

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  3. Your post has made me realise how much I have taken my native cuisine for granted… You must come to India… Try out the food in the place of its origin, at the roadside stalls… Nothing can beat that flavour!! 🙂
    Cheers,
    Sumithra.

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  4. Ashsih

    Kat – You were kind enough to offer taking our picture so that all could fit in one!
    The mango lassi was really yum. Guess your youngest son’s got Indian taste buds 🙂
    We had spent over 10 days in Hibbing and were deprived of Indian food for over 2 weeks. In order to get the taste of our homeland again, we drove to Duluth India Palace 😉

    Keep your blog going. Cheers!!

    Always, Ashish

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    1. Ashsih – you remembered to check for the India Palace post — thank you for taking time to do so! You and your friends were kind to let me take a photo of your group! Hibbing is not the mecca of ethnic food 🙂 — glad you were able to get down to Duluth. Thanks again, and check back from time to time! ~ Kat

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