Five Unique Indian Spices and Ingredients at Tandoor Saigon

food - Saigon/HCMC: May 20, 2019

Indian food is the epitome of marrying flavour with spice, and the abundance of spice combinations in South Asian cuisine will blow you away. Luckily, it is not difficult to find authentic and delicious Indian food in Saigon, and Tandoor’s superb Indian restaurant offers exactly that.

When considering the mouth-watering menu at Tandoor Saigon, it was difficult to resist including its most celebrated offering, the wonderful Chicken Butter Masala. Don’t miss that essential dish, but here are five more must-try Indian dishes at Tandoor Saigon, which are beautiful in their own individual ways because of the distinct spices and ingredients used.

Tandoor Saigon Indian Restaurant

Lamb Rogan Josh (using Kashmiri chilli peppers)

A lamb stew held in high regard, Rogan Josh is of Kashmiri origin. The bright red colour and fragrant spiciness of Rogan Josh is a result of the addition of Kashmiri chilli peppers. Unlike many South-east Asian chillies, Kashmiri chilli is cultivated to provide milder heat compared to typical cayenne peppers used in much of South Asian cuisine. This means the subtle nuances of other spices such as bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves employed in the dish can be detected clearly in a well-prepared serving of Rogan Josh.

Don’t miss Tandoor Saigon’s excellent version of this Indian classic in central Ho Chi Minh City; the regulars adore it.

Tandoor Saigon Indian Restaurant

Tandoori Chicken (Tandoori Masala)

We’re sure you’re familiar with this North Indian classic, but what makes Tandoori Chicken so universally beloved?

The secret lies in marinating chicken in yoghurt and a special tandoori masala spice mix that is used specifically for many poultry-based dishes in India. Unlike typical garam masala, onion and ginger powder is added here for a burst of fragrance and sweetness. The equation is complete with grilling at high heat - the temperature of Tandoor-style clay ovens can often approach 500 degrees celsius, assuring that your favourite chicken skewers stay juicy and tender on the inside, yet perfectly cooked and deliciously charred on the outside. Tandoor Saigon’s Tandoori Chicken is not to be missed.

Tandoor Saigon Indian Restaurant

Medu Vada (Black Lentils)

In much of Indian cuisine, spices and other main ingredients intermingle to transcend boundaries and create outstanding taste sensations. Flavourings may also play the part of core ingredients due to their unique profiles. Such is the case with Medhu Vada, a traditional donut-shaped fritter native to South Indian and Tamil cuisine. These irresistible deep fried treats are made with flour processed from Urad Dal, or black lentil, a legume that has been named a superfood due to its high content of protein, vitamin B, magnesium, zinc and potassium. Its rich, earthy flavour and resultant crumbly yet slightly chewy texture is unique to the culinary world. A fantastic offering for anyone looking for the best vegetarian and vegan Indian food in Saigon.

Tandoor Saigon Indian Restaurant

In fact, South Indian food in Saigon is rather uncommon, as it is in Vietnam in general, and the fact that Tandoor offers an authentic rendition of Medu Vada, as well as several other South Indian classics such as Masala Dosa and Idli, is another great reason to drop by this fantastic Indian restaurant in central Ho Chi Minh City.

Lamb Samosa (Peas)

The lamb samosa at Tandoor follows a traditional Indian Muslim recipe which is delicious and distinct from typical potato samosa for a good reason: green peas are included to add sweetness to minced lamb that’s flavoured with masala and chilli powder. Yet another highly-nutritious legume similar to the black lentil, its delicate flavour helps to accentuate the savoury notes of the lamb. Rich in antioxidants and proteins, green peas are not only tasty but also good for you.

Tandoor Saigon Indian Restaurant

Deep fried to perfection, these pockets of umami flavour are served withmintand tamarind chutney at Tandoor. Beyond lamb samosas, Tandoor is one of the best venues of muslim travellers here as they offer the widest range of Halal food in Ho Chi Minh City.

Biryani (Basmati Rice)

A classic rice dish that is popular amongst Indian Muslims, numerous recipes exist for Biryani but one thing holds true for most variations - long and slender basmati rice is the preferred type of grain. Authentic basmati rice is used to make biryani at Tandoor Saigon and the resultant cooked grains are fluffy and nutty. Basmati grains stay thoroughly intact when cooked, and the irresistible al-dente texture of basmati rice is a vital characteristic of biryani.

Tandoor Saigon Indian Restaurant

The alluring floral aroma of basmati rice originates from high concentrations of a natural-occuring compound known as 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline. Basmati and jasmine rice contains a much more concentrated compound when compared to average white rice. This compound is also found in the pandan leaf, known as lá dứa in Vietnamese, which is used to flavour many types of asian cakes and desserts in South-East Asia.

For the science-savvy, basmati rice contains higher amounts of amylose starch, which forms longer carbohydrate chains compared to its shorter chain cousin, amylopectin (itself more abundant in short grain rice). This makes basmati rice suitable for diabetics, since sugars are released at a slower rate after digestion, meaning a lower risk of blood sugar spikes.

When looking for the best Indian food in Ho Chi Minh City, head straight to Tandoor Saigon, where guests may enjoy a delicious Biryani with lamb, chicken, shrimp or vegetables.

Image source: Tandoor Indian Restaurant