Review: Madhuban Authentic Indian Cuisine

Oct 30, 2011 by     4 Comments    Posted under: Boise, Idaho, Restaurants, Reviews

When I eat at places like Madhuban Authentic Indian Cuisine I become extremely confused when I hear people tell me that they don’t like Indian food.  What the hell is wrong with you people?  You must just not know what to order.  I once ate an Indian curry while in Malaysia that completely shut all of my mental capacities down from its amazing deliciousness.  Madhuban isn’t quite that good, but it is good enough to make me swear when eating it, and I can’t come up with a higher compliment than that.  So for all you Indian food haters out there, get over yourself, go to Madhuban, and eat the following:

Madhuban Boise Offers Free Palette Tinglers

When you take your seat, you will find three little jars on your table with spoons sticking out of them.  Your server will then promptly bring you a large piece of crispy flat-bread.  The flat-bread is heavily flavored with cumin seeds, and is more like a cracker than a bread.  It is to be eaten with the contents of the three little jars.

Those contents happen to be different chutneys, and they are fun.  The Green is pureed mint (and maybe parsley), with some green chili for a kick  Yes, it is hot.  But the deep read chutney next to it is sweet and has a nice mild chili and sweet spice flavor which perfectly cools your tongue down after the Green.  The two are exceptional while bouncing back and forth between them on your cracker bread.  But stay away from the third bottle of chunky pickled disgustingness.  I don’t know what the spice is they put in this stuff, but it is truly awful.

Madhuban Chutneys

Madhuban Chutneys

Madhuban Crispy Flatbread

Madhuban Crispy Flatbread

 

Madhuban Boise Serves up Incredible Naan

Next up is the Naan.  Naan is a traditional Indian bread that is cooked on the side walls of a very hot tandoor oven.  It cooks very quickly and usually gets tiny little char marks on it.  Madhuban offers a good selection of plain and flavored naan.  But do yourself a favor and order the Coconut Naan.  This is hands down the best naan I’ve ever had anywhere.  It is loaded with sweet shredded coconut and a touch of cilantro.  I thought the cilantro would ruin it, but it was surprisingly perfect with the coconut.  The naan is very most, very flaky, has a touch of crunch from the tandoor, and is just awesome.  The whole thing is kicked up a level with the melted ghee (clarified butter) they spread all over the top.  So damn good!

Madhuban Coconut Naan

Madhuban Coconut Naan

 

Madhuban Provides Pungent Flavored Basmati Rice with their Entrees

Pungent indeed.  This stuff is loaded with whole cumin seeds and cooked with cinnamon sticks.  It’s strong, but works alright with their dishes.  I really admire the texture though.  The grains are completely separated from each other, and it is not mushy at all, nor is it dried out.  This may be due to the oil they toss it with, but I admire a well served plate of rice.  I might prefer a touch less cumin seeds, but its good none the less.

Madhuban Basmati Rice

Madhuban Basmati Rice

 

Madhuban Boise’s Best Dish is their Butter Chicken

This reminds me of that chicken curry I ate in Malaysia, but is completely different at the same time.  Madhuban doesn’t call theirs Butter Chicken, but rather use the more authentic name of Makhani Chicken.  Butter Chicken is practically Great Britain’s national dish, and I bet Madhuban’s would do the Brit’s proud.

I ordered mine with medium heat, which was plenty hot enough.  The chicken is tandoori chicken (marinated with yogurt, garam masala, and other spices), which is very moist.  It is diced up and stewed in an amazing rich bright orange colored curry gravy.  The gravy is very savory, has a nice butter flavor, and is mildly sweet.

Above the gravy’s mild sweetness, there are awesome little sweet hits now and then which come from golden raisins which are tossed into the dish.  They were fantastic in there.  There are also fresh chilies, tomato puree, ginger, and cream present in the curry, as well as some desiccated coconut.  Good good good!  It is especially delicious sopped up with the coconut naan.  Oh my gosh, I think I need to go change myself!

Madhuban Chicken Makhani

Madhuban Chicken Makhani

 

Madhuban Boise Has Some Savory Mughlai Curry

Mughlai is a type of Indian cuisine from Northeastern India.  Mughlai cuisine likes the use of flavorful spices, and Madhuban sticks with that theme here.  The Mughlai Masala is pungent, savory, and very delicious.  They offer several versions to choose from, but I went with the combination meat version to sample them all.

The shrimp was very nice with the curry.  It was perfectly cooked as well; soft, not rubbery.  I would have thought that the delicate flavor of shrimp would get lost in the pungent spices, but it held up remarkable well and may have been my top choice of the meats.

The lamb’s darker gaminess accentuated the masala flavors extremely well.  The red meat chunks just seemed right with this dish.  But, I think it’s a number two behind the shrimp for me.

The chicken, on the other hand, was the lost little step-child in this dish.  It was cooked great, but just wasn’t substantial enough to hold it’s own in the spices.  Skip it, and stick with the lamb or shrimp.

Like I said, the Mughlai curry has a lot of spices going on in it.  As such, it is a bit grainy from all of them.  But the flavor combinations are wonderful.  There are big hits of ginger and cardamom mixed with a touch of coriander.  These flavors blend with cooked tomatoes and who knows what else.  I gotta tell you, it’s damn good.

Madhuban Mughlai Meat Masala

Madhuban Mughlai Meat Masala

 

Madhuban Lunch Buffet

Perhaps the best way to experience Madhuban, and introduce yourself to Indian food if you’re not familiar with it, is to go to Madhuban for lunch.  Their lunch buffet has most things on their menu, including their traditional Indian vegetarian dishes.  I haven’t had the chance to do the buffet myself yet, but I’ve been told it is pretty awesome and the best way to experience Madhuban’s dishes.

The Bald Gourmet greatly enjoys Indian cuisine and is pleased with Madhuban Restaurant in Boise, Idaho.

 

4 Comments + Add Comment

  • Until a few years ago, it was hard to find good Indian food in Boise. When Taj Mahal first opened, they served some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had, but then they changed cooks and it’s never been the same. Today, I find Taj Mahal’s food to be over-priced, average at best and they have poor service. The first incarnation of Madhuban was much less impressive that what the restaurant has since become. Originally, the food was very bland. It was a good place to take folks who liked the idea of eating Indian food, but who didn’t have the gastrointestinal fortitude to partake of the real stuff. Several years ago, when I’d just about given up all hope of ever finding good Indian food in Boise, I returned after hearing it was under new management. I was not disappointed. My first thought was “I never have to leave town again to find good Indian food!” I kept going back thinking it had been a fluke, but it wasn’t. Since then, I’ve tried their lunch buffet several times and was equally impressed. I’m not normally a big fan of buffets, but Madhuban does it right. They keep the food at a constant temperature and are quick to replenish when the dishes are running low. In fact, the buffet is so well done that my preference is to eat there at lunch, but the downside is that this seems to be everyone else’s favorite time to go there too! My recommendation if you decide to check it out is to go very early so you can get a table, and if it’s winter, avoid sitting anywhere near the door because it’s going to be opening and shutting frequently, leaving anyone sitting in it’s path constantly exposed to cold air.

    My personal favorite is The Bombay Grill, which is located in the Idanha Hotel. Like Taj Mahal and Madhuban, The Bombay Grill has evolved over time. The original owners had decent chefs, but the service was exceptionally poor, though the buffet was o.k. Several years ago, the restaurant was purchased by another family and things changed dramatically. Suddenly, the food was excellent, the service very good and the buffet was outstanding. Between Madhuban and The Bombay Grill, my preference is for the latter. I think their food is just as good, if not better than Madhuban. They do a better job at keeping the buffet at a constant temperature and making sure it’s well-stocked. I love that they offer more vegetable options on the weekends, but there are still plenty of meat options to satisfy us carnivores. I also think they provide better service and they have a larger and more comfortable dining environment. I’ve never felt like I had to go there early to get a table or have the best selection. No matter how late I’ve hit the buffet, it’s been a great experience. And I love that they have a working fireplace that they keep stoked during the winter, though it can get a bit intense if you’re sitting too close to the flame and have ordered your dish “Bombay Hot.”

    Whether one prefers Madhuban or The Bombay Grill, I’m just thrilled that we finally have a couple of great options for Indian food locally.

    P.S. I agree with you that the Indian food in Malaysia is mind-blowing. I suspect it’s a lot more authentic than anything we can get in the U.S.

    P.P. S. That dark red chutney you enjoy so much is Tamarind Chutney. If you like that flavor, you might also enjoy the wide variety of Tamarind flavored candies you can find in Asian markets, many of which have a mouth-puckering intense sweet/sour flavor.

    P.P.P.S. Butter Chicken is one of my favorites too! Sunset magazine has an excellent recipe for Butter Chicken that I’ve been making for years which surpasses much of which I’ve been served in restaurants. So next time you’ve got a hankerin’ for it, consider cooking up a batch at home. Here’s a link to the recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/indian-butter-chicken-10000000682673/

  • Try Taj Majal downtown, too – yummy!!

  • Oh yes, the Madhuban buffett is a very grand experience for sure. You do need to get there at the right time though, not during the middle of the lunch rush 11:45 to 12:45, or getting a table might be a wait.

    I do like how they change out several dishes everyday from the buffett so if you went Monday to Friday you could go everyday and get a different experience. Butter Chicken is served everday though so you can always get that dish.

    There are a number of vegetarian dishes too that you would not really miss meat if you are a meat eater. They have a sweet and sour cauliflower that is deep fried and tossed with a red sweet glaze that will remind you of sweet and sour pork.

    My wife and I always enjoy the food at Madhuban,

  • When you come back to KL remind me to take you to a place called Mahbub for the best naan I’ve had over here.

    By the way, “what the hell is wrong with you people?” is classic!

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.