Inspired Indian Cuisine: INDIKA Houston
The Indian cuisine at Indika is a highly personal one. It is a story of Chef Anita Jaisinghani’s journey from India to Canada in the early 80s and then to the United States in the 90s. Embracing street foods of Mumbai and Delhi (better known as chaats), thrown in snippets of the flavorful simplicity of Gujarati vegetarianism, added the fragrant seafood curries of Kerala and paired it with the rich and complex preparations of Punjabi and Sindhi. Indika has been an gem since it’s conception in 2001.
I thoroughly enjoy international food and could easily say that Indian cuisine falls somewhere at the top of my list. It’s something about the love and patience it takes to build beautifully articulated Indian flavors and textures, that I value most.
With a recent craving for some spice, I thought I would give Indika a try, as I literally pass it every day. This particular day was a little slower, offering lunch date and I the opportunity to try a couple fan favorites like the Crab Samosas, Tomato Pakora Chaat, and their delicious Mango mousse. When I saw something pass my table that looked interesting, I would ask my server to bring me some too!
The naan, while good didn’t hold a candle to that of Raja’s Indian Cuisine. I like my naan piping hot, not warm and reminiscent of a tortilla. I possibly should have tried one of their 3 specialty naan’s just to jazz it up a bit, but it was descent.
The Tomato Pakora Chaat was a simple salad consisting of chickpea battered cherry tomato fritters, cumin yogurt sauce, mango and peanuts.
Not being a huge fan of Okra, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the Fried Okra Salad. It was seasoned well but I could have used a bit more spice. It’s something about fresh tomato that in my opinion has the tendency to mute certain flavors.
The Crab Samosa was the winner, mainly because I love samosas. This one in particular thought was stuffed full of the most tender and delicious crab meat. I still have dreams about this samosa.
For the main courses we tried a couple items that looked delish as they passed our table. The Tandoori Salmon Salad and Kashmiri Chicken Biryani are two that are highly recommended.
Kashmiri Chicken Biryani
bryan farms chicken slow cooked with saffron, poppy seeds, caramelized onions, black garbanzo beans and warm spices, fresh herbs and greens
marinated peaches, watercress and pistachios
Before we left we were offered a couple desserts to try. I was very adamant about NOT doing this because Indian desserts tend to be super sweet and contain milk. I made the mistake of popping an entire Gulab jamun in my mouth thinking it would taste like cake…WRONG! Worst decision of my life, but I digress.
Our server ensured us that Indika’s desserts were nothing like that. Following his reassurance we tried the Mango Mousse and Chocolate Ginger Tart. Both were tasty. The custard like Mango Mousee was served on top of a toasted grand marnier cake and blackberry compote.
The Chocolate Ginger Tart consisted of toasted chick pea crust, dark Valrhona ganache filling, pistachios coffee whipped cream, candied saffron ginger. The dark Valrhona ganache was a little bitter, so it cut the sweetness of the dish very well. The coffee whipped cream made the dish, it was delicious and unique.