Indian recommendation in Monmouth County


I hear great things and from my fellow HOs and I recommended it to my coworker. He loved it! Sadly I haven’t been yet.

I am game but December will be tough for me.

Joon, have you ever tired those “Indian essentials” kits in the supermarket? (Shoprite has them.) Yes I’m sure some people will laugh since it isn’t made from scratch, but they come out really well if you tweak them to your taste buds. You can add butter, different curries, pepper, fresh ginger,etc. I’ve made some killer dishes and it is very easy and quick to do with chicken. Lamb takes more time to get tender obviously and that is a different ball game. In fact, I think I can turn out more flavorful food at home than some of these buffets that cater to the masses. Then again, I prefer bolder and spicier food than most.

(Joon) #25

I had never seen the “essentials” kit you mention so I had to look it up. I’m not the type to poo poo on things like that! I was actually just telling @MsBean about a guy I saw at an Indian grocery store buying dozens of prepackaged spice mixes. I asked him why he was buying so many and he told me it’s for his restaurant. I would not be surprised if a part of that Indian “restaurant flavor” has something to with prepackaged mixes like that.

I know for a fact that it’s the case with a ton of Korean restaurants/food. Every restaurant is using boullion/MSG in their food. You literally can’t make cold beef noodle soup without it.


It isn’t a kit now that I think about it. It is simply a seasoning packet but I alter the tastes.

And yeah, I believe you on the restaurant thing.


I’m in for Aarzu! I think January would be better attended however.



(David) #29

A friend swears by the Shan packaged spice mixes for most Indian food.

Let me know when and I’ll be at Aarzu. The only problem with the lunch buffet is no lamb chops.


But we can order them (at regular price)…


The rumors of Tandor E India’s demise is greatly exaggerated. We do take out from them pretty regularly and you can imagine my disappointment when I read your post. A call to the restaurant reveals that they are in fact OPEN. May I ask why you thought they had closed?


@gracieggg My Indian cooking skills are not great but there is almost no Indian food local to me and what is around doesn’t seem worth the drive. Aarzu being the exception but it is a different class of restaurant.

I’ve had good luck with the recipes in 2 cookbooks 1) 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer and 2) Curried Favors: Family Recipes From South India by Maya Kaimal MacMillan. Of course, Madhur Jaffery’s books are also a good source. A couple of things I always do is use whole cumin seed anytime cumin is called for in a recipe. The seeds give a great pop of flavor. I also love curry leaves and often through them into the pot even if not called for.

That black dal recipe looks yummy and I just so happen to have some black lentils in my pantry…


They weren’t answering last night and someone on my local Next Door board posted that they had closed… When did you last order? I’ll be very happy if they’re still open!


We ordered from them last week and the food was very good as usual. My wife spoke with the owner who confirmed that they were open for business.


I’ve just deleted my previous posts; I’d never want to spread false info…thought two sources were enough to confirm it. Thanks, @bgut1


Thanks for the tips and the books! I have such a yen for Indian now. Maybe I’ll make some lentils later. No black lentils here so my loved black dal is out for now.

(Greg Caggiano) #37

Neelam in Middletown will always be number one in my area. They recently got new tables and booths so it’s a lot more sleek. Food quality and quantity always outstanding. Buffet too is best around.


My pleasure. I went with kimchi today (as shown in the Dim Sum thread) but am thinking about Indian for the weekend.

(Evelyn C. Leeper) #39

For what it’s worth, Neelam was a favorite lunch spot for Bell Labbers back in the 1990s.

(Art) #40

Neelam also had (has) a location in Berkeley Heights, where I grew up. I drove by the other night. Much of the town has changed since I was last there 11 years ago, but Neelam is still there.

I remember they had this mixed grill special that included shrimp, and the waiter would serve it, “and here is your shrimp.” Yes, ONE shrimp. Cracked me up every time!

By the way, Masala Kitchen Express is now “Tandoor” with a Grand Opening sign. I joke with my daughters… “But the door is black, not tan! False advertising!”

I like Sawan in Marlboro and Bollywood Tadka in East Brunswick for my Indian fix.

(Evelyn C. Leeper) #41

We are partial to Royal Curry in Matawan. They don’t do a lunch buffet; their lunch special is that when you order an entree you also get samosa and naan (which are extra at dinner). So you can have anything you want, not just the half dozen entrees that constitute many buffets.