Indian food in Springfield

As someone who has either always lived in or in close proximity to a major city, I am one of those “big city” people who has oftentimes stereotyped smaller cities and towns for not always having great multiethnic cuisine. Is it a negative stereotype? Yes. Is it always true? Of course not. But the reason it’s a stereotype is because it’s true in a lot of cases. I don’t think anyone in Springfield, Massachusetts, thinks that Springfield is the Indian food mecca of the United States. But what might be surprising is that one of the very best Indian meals we’ve had at a restaurant recently has been in Springfield, or specifically at the restaurant Panjabi Tadka.

I was perusing different food blogs and looking at Google Reviews and Yelp when compiling our list of potential places to eat at while in Springfield, and Panjabi Tadka seemed to get very positive reviews. Apparently, a lot of business travel takes people to Springfield, and a number of those visitors who self identified as Indian said they were traveling from other large metropolitan areas, and the food they ate at Panjabi Tadka was, they declared, the best Indian food they’d had in the entire United States. Well, that’s a pretty big compliment.

Panjabi Tadka says on their menus that everything they make is “handmade/house made.” And after eating the food, I really believe it. We ordered gobi manchurian, aloo paratha, lamb curry, saag paneer, two pooris, one sweet lassi, and one mango lassi. The curries came with rice as well as freshly made pappadams, which already hinted at how good the food would be to come. The pappadams were lightly spiced with whole cumin seeds. The pooris were clearly freshly fried and drained, with this beautiful golden hue that I don’t recall ever seeing on a poori before. The saag paneer was rich, but not too buttery: it was clear they used a mixture of greens and not just spinach to create a complex greens flavor. I also loved that the pieces of paneer were a bit irregular, which meant that they definitely made the paneer (cheese) in house. Chris raved about how fluffy the basmati rice was, as well as the taste and texture of the lamb in the curry: “This lamb is like the lamb you get in Australia.” That is a huge compliment coming from him, my Aussie baby.

After tasting how good all the food was, especially the paneer, we decided to get ras malai for dessert since it would also be cheese based. And it was definitely NOT a mistake: this was some of the creamiest, most delicious ras malai I’d had. I couldn’t believe how light and creamy the texture was on these little cheese paddies. It was a couple bites of total heaven!

While we obsessed about how good the main dishes were, Pookster just continued to fixate on the pappadam (“Cracker! Cracker!”) and barely ate much of anything else. But well, at least we enjoyed our very delicious North Indian meal at a little unassuming restaurant in Springfield, MA.

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