For those of you already familiar with the complex spices, varied textures and bold colors of Indian cuisine, rejoice that we have an Indian restaurant that offers up all your traditional favorites right here in Sedona. And for those of you a bit intimidated by dishes with names like saag paneer and dal maharani, we urge you to be adventurous. Perhaps you want to start with India Palace’s always-popular lunch buffet where you can try several different dishes (the options change daily). And don’t be afraid to ask questions!
We’ve been frequenting India Palace for years, but it seems like we are constantly discovering new favorites. Start your meal with the Assorted Snacks appetizer, a platter of fried goodness including vegetable pakoras (like veggie fritters), chicken pakoras and one fat samosa (a spicy pastry stuffed with potatoes and peas). It’s all served with a tangy dipping sauce. Right now, we’re all about the Chicken Tikka Masala entrée, which frequently shows up at the lunch buffet, too. Chunks of boneless white meat chicken and red bell pepper are served swimming in an orange-red tomato and butter sauce. The sauce is smoky, the chicken is tender and it’s best ordered with a side of basmati rice. For vegetarians, we always recommend the Vegetarian Dinner, which includes small-ish portions of vegetable korma (squash, peas, carrots, green beans and cauliflower in an orange cream sauce), saag paneer (spinach cooked curry-style with homemade cheese and cream), dal maharani (a sort of lentil stew), raita (a cold, thin yogurt), basmati rice and naan, an Indian flat bread that is ideal for soaking up all the fragrant, flavorful sauces on your plate. (We won’t tell if you order a second basket.) Note: You can order your dishes as spicy or as mild as you like.
How do you end your meal? The Vegetarian Dinner culminates in a steamy cup of chai tea, or you can order up gulab jamun – airy, fried puffs of cheese (though the texture is more reminiscent of cake) floating in a light syrup scented with cardamom and rose. You’ll probably also need a to-go box. Fortunately, some of the dishes are even better the second day. – Erika Ayn Finch. Photo by Deb Weinkauff.
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