I get the pleasure of writing up our weekly review, and let me tell you, it is phenomenal! India Delight in Marion, IL is located just off the town square, behind First Southern Bank. It is a hidden gem, and always delivers great food.
Although they also have a food truck, we opted to go to their brick and mortar location. They have a nightly buffet with a few entree options, soup, sides, and a few dessert or fruit choices. The buffet includes multiple appetizers per person, unlimited piping hot naan, and ice cream at the end of the meal!
Our dinner started out with the Tomato Soup– a classic that has their own spin utilizing traditional Indian herbs and spices, the Tandoori Chicken– a chicken leg that has been marinated and slow roasted then topped with a sweet yet tangy sauce, and Vegetable Samosa– a wrapped and lightly fried specialty that is stuffed with potatoes, peas, herbs, and spices, and is served with a tamarind sauce and chutney. Their appetizers vary each time you go, and let you try many of their specialties. Our favorites, however, are the Tandoori Chicken and the Samosa. Their chicken is always perfectly roasted, and has a great balance of acidity and sweetness to accompany the savory marinade. Their samosa are flaky and stuffed to the brim. The tamarind sauce and chutney really bring out the traditional spices in the dish, and are great separately, or mixed together for a more complex flavor profile.
On the buffet that evening, they had Chicken Tikka Masala– fresh cuts of tandoori chicken in a flavorful tomato and cream or yogurt based curry, with ginger, garlic and many other herbs and spices. The chicken was, again, cooked perfectly, and practically melts in your mouth with the amazing sauce. Some places are very stingy with their cuts of chicken, but India Delight is always more than generous with their portions; allowing the flavorful chicken to stand on its own, and not be overtaken by the amount of curry it is served with. Another meat option was the Pork Vindaloo. This dish is on the spicier end of their buffet options. The pork is slowly stewed in a sauce that marries the fatty pork, vinegar, garlic, chili peppers, and various other spices into a flavor bomb of heat. Best scooped straight from your plate using the garlic naan, you cannot go wrong with either of these dishes!
For their sides, they usually have spiced rice, their famous lightly pickled vegetables, Chana Masala– chickpeas cooked in a special masala sauce , and Aloo Mattar– delicious potatoes cooked up with peas and spices. They also have a few other dishes in rotation, including more vegetarian options. Their pickled vegetables have to be one of my favorite items there. They have just the right acidity and spice to cut through the residual heat from the other dishes. I could easily make a meal of just that dish with their rice.
Finally, we reached the icing on the cake, their ice cream. Even if you have already filled up before this point in your meal, you have to make room for this ice cream. I’ll admit, I am a tough critic when it comes to this, since I develop all of the ice cream for our own menu, but let me tell you… This is hands down my favorite ice cream served in Southern Illinois. It is an extremely light mango cream, topped with a rose syrup that is famous from the region they were from, a light mango syrup, and pistachios. This ice cream is to die for. It cools down the heat, and leaves you with the perfect lightly sweet note to end such a spice forward meal.
If you haven’t had Indian cuisine before, or even if you have a well rounded food taste, give them a try. They are truly amazing, and you can tell that every dish is made with love. The owners are always there to greet you with a smile, ask if you’d like any spice level adjusted to your tastes, and make sure your are enjoying your meal.
Hopefully you get to enjoy your week, and try out some new Southern Illinois Eats. We know we will!