PSA: Beware Raj Mahal in Regensburg

TL;DR: I am not impressed with Raj Mahal and it’s going to be a long time before I try ordering from them again. They smell good on the street, but their customer service stinks.

I placed a carry-out order for dinner through their website today around 14:00. It was slick; I (generally) like a restaurant that has ordering processing built into their own website instead of farming it out to an order processor and delivery service.

I ordered a couple main dishes, paid through PayPal (another plus) and made a note of the pick-up time.

4.5 hours later, I showed up, parked my bike, and walked in, cooler in tow, enjoying the smells from the street on my way in. The young man behind the counter seemed flabbergasted. “But we are closed the WHOLE DAY! You can order for another day, OK?”

“No, it’s NOT OK!” I responded. “I have a confirmation email from your website, and a confirmation of payment through PayPal and now you are telling me you don’t have the food I ordered. Why do you permit orders to come in on days you are not in business?” He said it’s automatic through the website and they have no power over that.

He called someone to talk to me in German (my skillz are stronger than his in that language, apparently) and we went another couple of rounds on the clerk’s phone. When I told him I was angry that his company took my money and didn’t honor the transaction, he told me to get my money back through PayPal. When I asked what I should do with my dinner plans, he said I could do whatever I want.

After I cancelled the payment through PayPal, this blogpost is what I want to do.

Indian Meatballs (Kofta)

We learned three things from this recipe:

  1. You CAN get a restaurant-like texture to your sauces at home if you’re patient enough to let them simmer the full time and are willing to get a few more pieces of equipment dirty
  2. Metzgerei Salzberger is our new hookup for ground lamb in Regensburg
  3. A rice cooker is certainly a convenience a lot of the time, but we can do great pilau rice on the stovetop, too.

More on those three points:
Continue reading Indian Meatballs (Kofta)

Kire ka Raita

It’s kinda redonkulous how easy this recipe is. We first made it at our cooking course a few months ago.

500 g yogurt
half a cucumber
ground cumin

Grate the cucumber. Drain out most/all the liquid. Mix in with the other ingredients. Serve cold.

See what I mean? That’s it. Dead easy. Here are my ingredient modifications:

250 g Greek-style yogurt
a big cucumber
ground cumin
pinch (freshly) ground cardamom
pinch of some kind of ground hot red pepper (cayenne, paprika, whatever)

I like it heavier on the cuke flavor and with a bit more zing to it, so I go big on the cumin and the pepper. Be careful with that cardamom — it can take over very easily (and if that’s what you want, rock on). I shredded the cuke with our KitchenAid and then let the shreds drain in a colander for twenty or thirty minutes, squeezing them occasionally.

We usually count on the raita at indian restaurants to cool off a mouth on fire, when we can convince the waiter that we’re not German and can handle a proper vindaloo — which is not every time.

Dal (Indian Lentils)

Who here eats enough fiber?

only Sarah’s in-laws raise their hands

That’s what I thought. Well, if you want some fiber and something rich and spicy, eat this. I used this recipe as a guideline and for the cooking method, which turned out to be stellar. Below are my actual steps.

1 1/2 c dry lentils (I used brown, the posted link suggests black caviar lentils)
2 T butter, divided
1 T vegetable oil
1/4 t hing or asafoetida powder
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced or cut into matchsticks
2 hot green chilies, chopped (optional – remove seeds for less heat)
1 t curry powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground fenugreek
1/2 t ground fennel
1/2 smoked paprika (hot or sweet, whatever you like)
1/2 t ground turmeric
1/2 t salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce (6 oz. or 200 g)
1 c vegetable broth

In a deep pot, cover lentils with water by 2 inches, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. While lentils are cooking, heat 1 T butter in a small skillet to medium and cook gently until milk solids start to brown and smell nutty. Add oil to skillet, add hing and fry, stirring for one minute. Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Now add garlic, ginger and chilies and cook until fragrant and tender. If skillet looks dry, add a bit more oil and add curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, fennel, smoked paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper to onion mixture and stir until well distributed and very fragrant. Cook for one more minute, then remove from heat and set aside.

Drain lentils and return to pot. Add cooked onion mixture, tomato sauce, vegetable broth and 1 T butter. Bring lentils to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick and creamy, adding broth as needed. To improve texture, mash lentils occasionally with the back of a spatula while cooking. If desired, stir in a tablespoon or two of cream after cooking. Serve with naan or rice, accompanied by plain yogurt and chopped cilantro.

rather surprising culinary evening

Last night, Sarah and I headed out to Andrea & Alex & Benjamin’s house for an Indian feast with Alex and Matt while Andrea and Benjamin are still traveling around the U.S.

Holy crap, that man can cook. Who knew? We sure didn’t. And we intend to ruthlessly steal those recipes from him. Here’s what we had:

    the starters

  • a creamy, yet fiery, cold cucumber soup with fresh chopped cilantro garnish to start us off
  • papadums with mango chutney
    the main course dishes

  • chicken vindaloo
  • lamb vindaloo
  • chicken tandoori
  • dal
    the desserts

  • carrot pudding — and in my humble opinion, this dish stole the show
  • a Nutella Cake which we brought and whose leftovers we enjoyed this morning
    The booze afterward

  • B-52 shots

    Hope you like it sweet.
    Hope you like it sweet.
    According to wikipedia you shouldn’t use Grand Marnier if you want it to flame up, and instead you should use something with higher alcohol content. But we got the Grand Marnier to light just fine.

couple of pictures

Here are a couple of pictures taken recently. We tried out a new (to us) Indian joint in town and were impressed with the waiter’s friendliness (as opposed to Ganesha’s typical surliness) but less-than-wowed by the food’s flavor and especially with the how long it took to arrive (note the beverages at critical levels before even digging into the chow). But the presentation was nice:
Indian Palace

Also, pretty much none of our local pals know this yet, but we’ve recovered our living room furniture — gives it a whole new look on the same old chairs. I wish I could say we carefully chose fabrics and measured them out and stitched the slipcovers ourselves and stuff, but…we didn’t. made it much easier.

Masala Zone

The Joint

147 Earls Court Rd
London SW5 9RQ
phone: +44 20 7359 3399


I had the Lamb Coromandel — coconut milk, fennel, and red chilies provided most of the flavors. It was simply great. It came with mushroom rice and had fresh cilantro in the sauce. I’ve been craving fresh cilantro pretty much ever since we moved away from the U.S. It was labeled as “quite spicy” or similar in the menu, and they weren’t kidding. It was pleasantly hot.


I had the Chicken Madras noodle bowl with Udon noodles, tandoori roasted chicken, lettuce of some sort, fried onions, green onions, white onions, red chilies, bean sprouts, red and green peppers and a heavenly sauce.

Invicta Tandoori

The Joint

15 Harbour Street
Whitstable, Kent
United Kingdom
Phone: 01227 264700


This is a find; we’re so pleased Ian and Michelle introduced to this place to us back in April 2003. Sadly (for Invicta too!), they’ve moved to another part of the country, and now we’re short on motivation to return to Whitstable — other than for a meal at Invicta Tandoori, of course.


This was the first time I had Indian that really knocked my socks off. Way to enable an addiction, Invicta. Teeny-tiny venue – barely enough room to turn around – but absolutely lovely food. The amount is surprising and the menu is extremely varied. The waitstaff is lovely. Altogether, a great joint.

Shalimar Garden

The Joint

42-44 Gloucester Terrace
Paddington, London W2 3DA


I had Goa Chicken and pilau rice, and we split an order Sag Aloo. This little bitty place was not even really visible from the street — you can see the sign for it coming from the Paddington tube station, but you enter the restaurant after descending an external staircase. It was small and seemed almost hastily put together. But maybe that made the food all the more delightful. This was my 2nd favorite Indian restaurant in London.


This place was a little treat. Like Cliff said, not impressive looking, but the food was pretty tasty. And it was on the walk from the tube station to our crappy hotel. So points for convenience.


The Joint

37 Great Queen street
London WC2B 5AA


The main waiter seemed annoyed that we were there, and the entire staff seemed like they had something better to do. We got hit twice with upsell tactics and the food itself was rather weak on flavor. I had the Kabab Afghani and Funky Pie ice cream dessert, which was a joke. It was served rock-hard out of their freezer. I’d say skip this place altogether. We were only there because we wanted some Indian food close to the theater where we’d just seen The Producers.


This place sucks. Nothing else to say about it.

But seriously, how can you resist trying something called ‘Funky Pie?’