Between date nights, after-work hangouts, and getting together with your favourite group of friends, you may find yourself frequenting the many restaurants downtown Ottawa has to offer. You’ve been to every pub, diner, and pizzeria from Elgin Street to the ByWard Market and back again more times than you want to think about. As much as it pains you to say it, you might even be getting sick of a lot of them. You’re looking to change things up, add a whole new world of flavour to your meals, and maybe even spice things up on your next date. And there’s no better place to do this than an Indian restaurant.
Now, when you visit an Indian restaurant, you might be at a loss regarding what to order. There is so much to choose from! So for simplicity’s sake, today we’re going to stick to curry.
Now, contrary to what you may think, curry is not all that’s on the menu, nor is it just a single dish – there are plenty of different kinds. And even if it’s not the only thing on the menu, you can get more flavour and variety from the curry section alone than most restaurants in downtown Ottawa offer on their entire menu.
The most popular curry on this side of the world by far is butter chicken. Imagine tender, slow-cooked morsels of chicken that fall apart in your mouth, marinated in a yogurt-based sauce, spicy enough to keep it interesting but mild enough to be universally enjoyed. It’s no wonder this is a favourite dish at many Indian restaurants. Some restaurants in downtown Ottawa even serve it with raisins and almonds for added texture. But this is only the beginning.
If you’re a fan of chicken and like things a little spicier, chicken curry may be for you. Just as tender, but a stronger blend of spices gives it more kick than butter chicken. Beef curry, on the other hand, has a little less kick, but a more varied texture when cooked with potatoes in the mix. And of course, no menu would be complete without tender, juicy lamb curry.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry. Not all curries are made with meat, and there are some delicious and savoury meat-free options. Saag Paneer, for example, is made with spinach and cheese, and is creamy, sweet, and to die for. A mixed vegetable curry, sautéed in a thick gravy with spices like garlic and ginger, and added onions and green peppers, it is full of texture, flavour, and goodness. If you want a truly exciting vegetarian flavour, try a tamarind curry with chick peas and eggplant; its sweet-and-sour taste never disappoints.
With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to pick just one curry. So when you visit an Indian restaurant with friends, why not have everyone order a different dish, and treat it like a buffet? It’s a fun way to get the most, try new things, and find a flavour that really speaks to you.