October 20, 2016
Indian cuisine is very much a celebration of its rich history and culture. Being in Singapore, we thankfully get to enjoy a good selection of North and South Indian dishes, though not as comprehensive as what we would find in India itself.
Being Chinese, I have always enjoyed Indian cuisine but found it a pity that it has never been as heavily featured in our culinary scene nor on our social media feeds. In order to do justice to Indian cuisine in Singapore, I have walked the grounds of Singapore to bring you 10 places where you can get to enjoy a good variety of Indian dishes in Singapore.
Established in 1996, Omar Shariff has been serving up North Indian dishes in its warm and cosy environment. To cater to its ever growing audience, the restaurant has expanded to include catering and delivery options to have its food more accessible to Singaporeans from all walks of life.
Butter Chicken – $17.90
Butter chicken or murgh makhani is a common Indian dish with its roots in Punjabi cuisine.
The version served at Omar Shariff is slightly sweeter and has a mild spiciness to it. The tender chunks of chicken marinated with garam masala, ginger, garlic, tumeric, chilli, cumin, coriander and lemon zest is cooked in a tandoor (Indian traditional clay oven) before being cooked with the curry spices. Although butter has been added in, this dish did not feel too heavy on the palette.
Rojan Josh – $17.90
This dish of Persian origins features chunks of lamb cooked in a gravy made from the browning of shallots, onions, yogurt, garlic, ginger and various aromatic spices (cloves, bay leaves, cardamon, cinnamon). The lamb was cooked perfectly and the robust flavours of the meat contrasted well with the hints of sourness from the curry.
Omar Shariff Authentic Indian Cuisine: 805 Bukit Timah Road, Sixth Avenue Center, #01-02, Singapore 279883 | Tel: 64667318 | Website
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm, Sat – Sun: 11am – 10.30pm
A two-story shop house restaurant in Little India, Khansama Tandoori Restaurant serves up a variety of North-Indian delicacies that delights the taste-buds of both locals and tourists alike.
Mixed Tikka – $15
A must order if you’re a fan of chicken tikka. The dish features chicken seasoned with six different kinds of marinades before being cooked in a tandoor oven. The result is a smorgasbord of sweet and sour flavours that are a vibrant addition to any meal.
Khansama Tandoori Restaurant: 166 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218050 | Tel: 62990300 | Website
Opening hours: Daily: 11am -11.30pm
Swaadhisht Authentic Kerala Cuisine along Chander Road is one of the restaurants in Singapore serving authentic Keralan cuisine. Kerala is a state south West of India that is situated along the coast and features mainly seafood in their dishes. An abundance of coconut also sees it commonly being added into curries for that extra creaminess and richness.
Malabar Mutton Dum Briyani Set – $11
The Malabar Mutton Dum Briyani is served in a chrome gold tin with several accompaniments (Yogurt Onion Chutney, Mint Chutney, Pickled chilli cucumber). The mutton and rice are cooked separately before being layered over, allowing the flavours and aromas to intensify and infuse into each other. The robust aromas showed through as soon as I took my first bite.
I thought the mutton could have been more tender as it was rather stringy, especially at the areas around the tendon. The owner suggested the Goat Meat Briyani for those who prefer more delicate flavours.
Malabar Meen Curry – $9.50
This consists of two marinated fillets of Spanish mackerel cooked in a curry broth with ground coconut. The fish meat is rather tender but lacking the aroma of the curry, seemingly having the fish and curry tasting like two distinct ingredients in this dish. Still, I enjoyed the flavourful and intense broth which features strong hints of coconut.
Swaadhisht Authentic Indian Cuisine: 47 Chander Road, Singapore 219546 | Tel: 63920513 | Website
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 11pm
MTR 1924 has been serving up Karnataka Brahmin fare with its origins in the Udupi Brahmin cuisine of the coastal regions of Karnataka. Hailing all the way from Bangalore, India, the restaurant opened its doors in Singapore in 2013, featuring daily and weekend specials on their menu.
Masala Dosa – $6 and Khara Bhath – $4
I tried the Masala Dosa which is a thick crispy pancake made from a secret recipe that contains fermented rice batter and black lentils. The accompanying chutneys, especially the green minty one really enhances the taste of the dosa. The ghee potatoes hidden under the dosa are amazingly tasty and proves to remain light despite its rich flavours.
The Khara Bhath which is a South Indian dish is made by cooking dry roasted Semolina along with grated coconut, vegetables and ghee. You can eat this on its own or have it together with your dosa. The Bhath has a smooth and creamy texture with good amounts of vegetables.
MTR1924: 438 Serangoon Road (Opposite Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple), Singapore 218133 | Tel: 62965800 | Website
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun: 8.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Started by the founders of Punjab Grill, Maziga is the latest Indian Bar and Cafe concept to be housed in Clarke Quay serving up Indian-Fusion tapas style dishes. During the night, you can enjoy a relaxing drink by the bar while listening to the latest hip-hop tunes spun by their in-house DJ.
Old Delhi Golgappa Chaat with Chilled Jaljeera Oxide – $12.90
The Indian dishes served here are a fusion of Indian and Western influences.
Chaat is a traditional snack found on the streets of India, and over here at Maziga, it’s all jazzed up with creative and unique presentation. Each miniature shell encases a medley of ghee potatoes and lentils, accompanied by liquid jaljeera (mint and cumin) and turmeric that are placed in test tubes for that perfect marriage of acidity and savouriness.
Paneer Chilli Chilli Tika – $16.50
The thick, chunky cheese cubes are marinated and cooked in a tandoor for that smoky aroma and savoury flavours. Try it with a squeeze of lemon and drip on some mint chutney for that added burst of freshness to balance against the heaviness.
Opening hours: Daily: 12pm – 1am
Heavens is truly deserving of its name, it’s offerings of thosai, puttu mayam and appam are so decadent and delicious that one bite could send you straight to heaven.
Princess Apam – $3
Appam is a pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk and is most commonly found in Kerala. The edges of the appam features a crispier texture and becomes more doughy as you move towards the centre.
This version of an appam featuring cheese, butter and egg is the ultimate combination of all things sinful and decadent. Dip it with the orange sugar and grated coconut for a mini heart attack so good you won’t regret it.
Heavens: 20 Ghim Moh Road, Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre, #01-26, Singapore 270020 | Facebook
Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 6am – 1.30pm
Hailing from India, with over 25 years of experience in the kitchen, head chef Ajim Khan’s eatery along Keong Saik Road serves authentic Indian cuisine in a contemporary and modern setting. The dishes served at Indline are affordable and caters to the palette of the crowd here in Singapore.
Pudina Lachha Paratha – $3, Aloo Methi – $7, Dal Tadka – $7
While at Indline go for the shallow fried layered bread with chopped mint which has a nice fresh doughy texture and crispy edges. Pair it with the Dal Tadka (yellow lentils) and Aloo Methi (diced potato cooked in fenugreek) for that perfect blend of freshness and savouriness.
Indline – The Indian Cookery: 28 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089315 | Tel: 62213280 | Website
Opening hours: Daily: 11.30am – 10.30pm
Started in 2004 serving only South-Indian dishes, Sri Sun Express has expanded to over 13 outlets island-wide offering a wide variety of dishes ranging from coin pratas to maggie goreng.
Poori Set Meal with Chicken – $6
This puffed up ball of deep fried Indian bread is an underrated dish in Singapore. More commonly made with wheat flour, the texture is slightly thicker than prata but way crispier and absorbs curry better.
The chicken was tender and tears away from the bone easily. The masala potato provided a nice creamy texture to contrast against the crispy textures of the poori.
Srisun Express: Block 212, Hougang Street 21, #01-343/345, Singapore 530212 | Tel: 62885747 | Website
Opening hours: Daily: 24 hours
This hidden gem offering up fish head curry has relocated to their current location from Upper Bukit Timah Road, and with a history of over 22 years, you are surely in good hands I say.
Fish Head Deluxe (Medium) – $30, Chicken Masala – $5.40, Vegetable White Rice Appalam – $3.20
The fish head curry served here uses either white snapper, red snapper or red grouper depending on seasonality. I had the white snapper fish head and was definitely not disappointed by the spicy aromas and flavours of the dish. The curry did not have that much of a spicy kick in the beginning but left a slow heat in my mouth, which was enjoyably bearable.
The chicken masala had a good mix of onions and gave a nice sour-ish tinge to the meal, though the chicken breast was a tad bit too dry. The free flow of dhal vegetables and white basmati rice acts as the perfect sponge to soak up all the curry’s goodness.
Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restarant: 896 Dunearn Road, Sime Darby Centre, #05-01, Singapore 589472 | Tel: 67627284 | Website
Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 10.30am – 10pm
Mention the word Chapati and Azmi Restaurant will certainly come to mind. Located in Thye Chong Restaurant along Norris Road, the Indian Muslim stall owners have been perfecting their craft of making Chapatis. Have them with several available curries that are equally worth their weight in gold.
Keema (Spicy Minced Mutton) – $3.40, Chapati – $0.90 for 2
Chapatis are made from unleavened wheat flour, cooked on a hot griddle and left to slightly burn on the edges. The dry, grainy texture of the chapati was the perfect accompaniment to the keema, a curry of spicy minced mutton, peas and potatoes. This simple and humble dish was intensely satisfying and robust.
Azmi Restaurant: Thye Chong Restaurant, 168/170 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 218050 | Facebook
Opening hours: Daily: 9am – 10pm