A Culinary Adventure

Pakorah

Exploring a new ethnic cuisine can be intimidating to the inexperienced. Trying an unfamiliar style of food is better when accompanied by someone with a little bit of knowledge. Frequently, when experiencing a new ethnic restaurant, it's nice try an assortment of appetizers for a good sampling.

At the Hudson Curry House, you could start with an Assorted Indian Hors D'oeuvres basket, but be advised that each order contains only one of each appetizer. It comes with one meat samosa, a chicken pakora, a bhujia, a medley of veggie pakora and one papadam. Pakora are battered and deep-fried morsels, generally a vegetable. The jewel in the basket is the bhujia. Shredded onions, heavily battered and fried, shimmer red-orange.

Order an extra Papadum. This is the lentil wafer bread that is generally placed on tables for munching with the accompanying condiments of mint/cilantro, onion chutney and tamarind sauce. It is addicting with its crunch and mild flavor, which is the perfect complement for the table sauces.

If you would like to try an appetizer that is not fried, the Chana Bhaji is a good bet. Chickpeas are served in their braising juices with a big, puffy piece of poori. The light and pillowy bread portions out nicely to wrap around anything you have ordered into bite-sized pieces.

Beverages are presented in a limited menu, which consisted primarily of teas, lassis, fruit juices and soda. Guests are welcome to "bring your own bottle."

For a savory entree, order a standard Chicken Curry. This is a good entry-level dish for someone new to the cuisine. Fork-tender pieces of chicken simmer in a brick-colored sauce that both flavors and tenderizes the protein. This curry presents no discernible heat, but is big on traditional flavors. Paired with fragrant basmati rice, it is a great dish.

If a sweeter dish is your desire, try a korma. This classic dish is customarily cream and almond-based. The Lamb Korma is hearty in flavor and satisfaction. Biryani is also a good introductory dish, if only because it is rice-based. Similar to stir-fry, the Curry House combines basmati rice that held the very faintest of saffron tones with whatever protein you have selected. The biryaniis also served in a sweeter profile than other establishments. Almonds, cream and raisins are combined with lamb. A heavy hand of green peas and barely chopped cilantro cap the bowl.

Sample the breads! As previously mentioned, the papadam is a must and the poori is fun and easy to eat with any meal. For a little more "tooth" to the bread sampling try a filled naan. The Vegetable Naan is about a half-inch thick, steaming hot and bursting with aromatics. Pashwari Naan is a sweet, filled flatbread — minced nuts, raisins and sweetened coconut could be seen when tearing pieces off this yummy fare. A sweet way to end a meal.