Josh and I both love Indian food but it’s not something we eat too often, as most of our family members don’t enjoy it as much as we do. When we do have Indian food, we usually get it delivered for dinner. We’ve tried a few places in our neighborhood but our standard go-to place is Baluchi’s. There are branches all over the city, and even when we lived downtown we would order in from the one in Tribeca or visit it during lunchtime when everything is 50% off (even on weekends). I can’t really vouch for the authenticity, but the food is consistently good and their delivery/takeout prix fixe menu is really a great value.
For $14.95, you can select an appetizer and an entrée from a decently long list of offerings. It doesn’t include everything on the regular a la carte menu but there’s a nice variety and most “standard” Indian dishes are available. The prix fixe also includes basmati rice, a piece of naan bread, cucumber raita, and mango chutney. When you consider that most chicken/lamb curries already start out at $13.95/$14.95 when ordered a la carte, and appetizers start out at $6.95, this prix fixe is an incredible deal.
One night when Josh and I had a craving for some Indian curry, we placed a delivery order using Baluchi’s easy online system. We decided to get two prix fixes, one with samosas and lamb rogan josh, and another with aloo papri and chicken korma. Usually we get two orders of samosas, as they are our favorite appetizer and Baluchi’s has one of the better versions that we’ve had. The skin is thinner and usually still somewhat crispy even after being delivered. The filling of potato and peas is soft and flavored with curry powder. They top the samosas with chickpeas, and then drizzle on a tasty green sauce and a tamarind sauce. There is a mélange of textures and flavors that all really work well together. It’s salty, sweet, and a little bit sour.
This time we decided to try a new appetizer in addition the samosas. We opted for the aloo papri, which is described on the menu as a snack with potatoes, chickpeas, and yogurt. While it did have a messy pile of chickpeas, yogurt, tamarind, and green sauce, there were no potatoes to be found. There were little soggy crisps mixed throughout though that I think were fried lentil dumplings, like in papri chaat. I was a bit disappointed with this dish as it had similar ingredients to samosas, minus the potatoes, but less flavor overall and it was very mushy in texture.
Aloo papri, though no potatoes
Lamb rogan josh is my favorite Indian dish, and this is one of the best versions that I’ve had. There are huge chunks of tender gamey lamb stewed with tomatoes in a cardamom sauce. The dish is spicy in a flavorful way but doesn’t have any heat to it. I like to wrap pieces of the lamb in some naan bread and dip it in the curry sauce, then in the raita. The yogurt mellows out some of the spice and makes the curry a bit creamier.
Lamb rogan josh
Chicken korma is Josh’s favorite Indian dish, though I find Baluchi’s version to be a bit too creamy in flavor. The curry is made from an almond cream sauce and the pieces of chicken are mixed with fruit and nuts, giving it a nice sweetness. Though it’s a very mild curry, it’s also very thick and rich so I can’t eat too much of it. I usually end up mixing some of the korma curry with the lamb rogan josh curry to create a sort of creamy tomato-y curry sauce that I mix together with the basmati rice.
The basmati rice is mixed with visible pieces of dried spices, which I pick out before eating as biting into a clove or cardamom pod gives you kind of a shock. The flavors of the spices still remain with rice though, making it very fragrant. The naan bread is large and fluffy and always comes wrapped in a piece of aluminum foil so it stays warm. I really like that they give you both rice and naan, since it’s hard to choose between the two.
A little taste of everything with a big fluffy piece of naan
As I said earlier, while I don’t know how authentic the food is, Baluchi’s is still our go-to Indian restaurant. Now that we live on the upper west side, we order in from the 56th St. branch, but I’ve found the food to be pretty consistent between different branches. When we get delivery, we always get the prix fixe as it’s a bargain compared to other places. The portions are as large or larger than other restaurant deliveries, and the food is always tasty and flavorful. I highly recommend checking it out the next time you have a craving for Indian food.
Baluchi’s (multiple locations)
240 West 56th St. between 8th Ave. and Broadway
New York, NY