If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine in South Jersey, you may already be familiar with Tiffin Indian Cuisine, located at 1892 Marlton Pike East (Route 70) in Cherry Hill.
If you haven’t tried it already, please make a point of doing so. I’ve been a fan of Indian cuisine for over 25 years. In the early 1990s, one of my freshman college suitemates, an outgoing Indian girl who quickly became one of my best friends on campus, happily introduced me and the rest of our suite to the food. I was immediately a fan of the flavorful and complex dishes. I have always sought out Indian restaurants to try as many varieties as possible. And despite what one ridiculous journalist said about the cuisine, Indian food is way more than one ingredient; it is profoundly sophisticated and nuanced. I’ll digress.
I’ve tried several Indian restaurants in South Jersey and Indian restaurants in Philadelphia. We’re lucky to have so many in our region. Tiffin should be one to add to your Indian restaurant visit list.
I’m proud to say that Tiffin Indian Cuisine offers an uncomplicated menu that is approachable to newbies and those with a more discerning palate, like myself. They specialize in better-known dishes such as chicken tikka masala and saag paneer, of course, while offering traditional curry pots and biryani. I wouldn’t necessarily say they are playing it down for the American taste, but they offer items to please everybody’s heat tolerance levels. If Indian food intimidates you, this is a good entry point.
I knew from the moment I walked in the door; I’d be in for a good meal. The scent of aromatic spices greeted me and beckoned me inside. The interior is simple yet warm, with seating for about 30, and framed photographs of various streets scenes in India adorning the walls.
My friend Patti and her aspiring chef son Joseph, a novice to Indian food, joined me so that we could all select a few things to share. That is the best way to experience cuisines that may be unfamiliar to you or enjoy a sampling feast!
As with many Indian restaurants, they offer a few juices. The traditional mango lassi, along with other fruit juices (mango, lychee, and guava). I opted for the guava juice, which was a perfect balance of sweet and sour. The usual soft drinks, lemonade, iced tea, and bottled water are also available.
For starters, we ordered vegetable samosas and Aloo Papri Chaat. The samosas were hot and crispy, packed full of spiced potato and peas, and served with three kinds of zingy chutneys: tamarind, onion, and cilantro.
The Aloo Papri Chaat, a mound of potatoes, chickpeas, and red onion covered in yogurt, chutney, and wheat crisps, was a colorful work of art on a plate. Garnishment to me is a must. We do eat with our eyes first!
Each appetizer was quite delectable and demonstrates how Indian cuisine emphasizes maximum flavor through fragrant spices and seasonings even with only a few ingredients! I could live on samosas alone, I think. 🙂
For our mains, we tried Tandoori chicken, Tandoori shrimp, and vegetable biryani. We also tried two orders of Naan bread – garlic and regular. Cooked to perfection, the chicken had a lovely char on the outside and juicy inside. Great flavor from being marinated in yogurt and mustard oil. This is the Indian version of good old-fashioned BBQ chicken and it is simply delicious! Traditionally made in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven, which cooks proteins at extremely high temperatures ensuring the chicken is crispy on the outside, and moist and tender on the inside.
The shrimp were tender but not overly spiced, so this would be a good choice if “mild” spice is your speed.
The colorful biryani, a classic Basmati rice dish served in a clay pot, was as good a biryani I’ve ever had. Again, another example of how Indians do so much with so little. Biryanis are simple, comforting rice dishes that hit the spot every time, especially with the cooling raita (yogurt & cucumber sauce).
We were too stuffed for dessert, but they serve my absolute favorites: Gulab Jamun—soft fried dough dumplings in a rose-flavored sweet syrup—and Kheer (rice pudding). Indians often incorporate many spices into their sweets and not just cinnamon. Spices such as cardamom, fennel, and even saffron add depth and complexity to the desserts.
We were so very pleased with everything we tried and highly recommend Tiffin Indian Cuisine in Cherry Hill for your Indian food discovery and cravings in South Jersey. Tiffin couldn’t be a better place to start your exploration into Indian cuisine. I’d love to hear about your Indian food discovery and where you like to go for Indian food in South Jersey or wherever you are!
Marilyn is a freelance writer covering the food and drink scene of South Jersey. You can find more of her writing on Philly Grub and NewsBreak.