Monday, September 24, 2012

Gluten Free Indian!

Finally after nearly 5 years of gluten free living I am eating restaurant Indian food. I'll admit, gluten free Indian food has probably already been available in many of the Indian restaurants in Silicon Valley but I never had the energy to attempt the conversations with various chefs, managers and servers to make sure we were on the same page with what gluten was and cross-contamination concerns. When Arka Indian restaurant opened in Sunnyvale nearly a year ago, I saw most of the menu was actually labeled gluten free! Then I saw some positive yelp reviews and thought this may be the place! But life continued with a toddler and given our limited opportunities to dine out as a family I wasn't up for seeing if my daughter would fill up on Indian so we always opted for pizza or Thai instead.

But then Arka offered a Groupon and I bit - my first order was take out and everything was delicious. I ordered saag w/ potatoes (spinach curry), butter chicken and rice. The butter chicken was so tasty with a good amount of heat and the saag reminded me of the dish I used to get years ago before having to go gluten free. I knew we'd be back. And we were- last week Arka offered another Groupon so this time we dined in with my parents and brother as well. We tried a ton of things and everything was delicious:

  • Pakoras - the menu said they were made with plantain and chickpea but no one tasted plantain. They were crispy and tasty -even the Giggler ate some.
  • Watermelon Salad - really delicious combination of cool watermelon, cherry tomato, sliced almonds and a light vinaigrette. The Giggler wasn't interested though - she put one piece of watermelon in her mouth and promptly put it back on her plate. I guess she's a watermelon purist.
  • Masala Dosa- oh yes! This is what I had been waiting for. I was unable to order this during our take out order because their grain grinder was broken and the manager could not confirm the packaged flour was gluten free (he would not even let me order the dosa because of this -definitely a good sign) It reminded me of the masala dosa and potato sabji I used to order at Pasand's before they went out of business.
  • Butter chicken - just as good as when we had it for take out
  • Rogan Josh - tasty but nothing special compared to some of the other dishes
  • Curried Brussels Sprouts - tasty but I'd order the saag next time
  • Dal (the one that has no onions/garlic) - very watery - ordered this for the Giggler. I liked it but probably would not order it again -not worth $10 IMO.
  • The lamb dish w/ ricotta- this was one of my favorites. The sauce was very delicate and flavorful.
  • Tandoori kabab - this was served with a green rice which I really liked. The kabab was nicely cooked too.
And nearly a day later - no reactions. So now I don't have to cook Indian myself every time! Check them out!

Also, if you do want to cook Indian yourself, my favorite chicken tikka masala recipe is here: