I’ve been asked by one of our Cambridge Foodies members to review a few independent Cambridge chefs to see what I think about a fast growing foody sub culture in the area. This series starts with Salma’s Tiffin Kitchen based in Cherry Hinton, who I’m told makes authentic home cooked Indian food that her Grandmother would enjoy!
Salma’s Kitchen is only open on Fridays and unusually for a takeaway you start by placing your ahead of time. I got around to placing my order on Wednesday, and had the pleasure of ordering the whole menu! Don’t worry, this only consisted of two Biryani dishes (chicken & vegetable), chicken 65, and a few poppadoms. This is authentic Indian home cooked food made by an independent chef, and the menu changes each and every week. Giving the curious amongst us a new experience to look forward to week after week. I selected the delivery option and sat back, excited for Friday night’s dinner.
My food arrived at 18.45 on Friday, delivered by a smiling and friendly delivery person. The smells emanating from the bag were mouthwatering, and I eagerly opened everything up. After the smell, the next thing to strike me were the vibrant but natural colours and I was very pleasantly surprised to find I’d been delivered some raita and pakoras alongside my own items. I scooped out a portion of everything, and sat down to eat.
I’ve never been much of a Biryiani fan, I find it’s usually too dry and if it isn’t then it’s too wet. It is not something I usually order but the nature of the independent chef game is experimentation. Starting with the Chicken Biryani I scooped up a big fork full and I was very pleased to find they’d gotten the texture just right. The rice was as it was meant to be, a touch al’dente, and was coated in just the right amount of ‘sauce’. More importantly the flavour slapped! Starting with just a tingle of spice, and incredibly aromatic, the spice slowly built after each mouthful. The chicken was juicy, tasty, and benefitted enormously from being left on the bone.
After a while the spice built to such a level that it was time to give my tongue a rest. Thankfully Salma saw this coming, and had sent some raita and pakora so I could take a break. Breaking off half a pakora I dipped it into the very chunky raita and had at it. The pakora was dense, and flavourful without being spicy and the sour raita cut through the lingering spice, acting together to get me ready for another round of Biryani.
Now I’m not a vegetarian, but I do appreciate a well put together vegetarian dish. The Vegetable Biryani was every bit as delicious as the meat dish, and I was particularly impressed with the additional vegetables throughout. Each vegetable held it’s own and really popped with flavour as you came across them, the tomato and courgette in particular were excellent. Salma decided to include a soy based meat substitute, which for me felt unnecessary, but I had chicken to get back to! It certainly didn’t take anything away from the dish, which felt summery and bright. It has got me curious though, how do vegetarians feel about meat substitutes in vegetable dishes?
The Chicken 65 was absolutely outstanding, and offered a beautifully rich, sticky and nuty answer to the vibrant, tingly and aromatic biryani dishes. Every mouthful offered a heavy hitting alternative to the rest of the plate, and helped to balance out the rest of the meal incredibly well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. If people are prepared to shift their habits and plan ahead then there is a lot to be excited about here. Genuine, home-cooked, and authentic Indian recipes that change every week, and are cooked with the love and care of someone cooking for their Grandmother. Put it this way, I don’t think I would fit through my front door after about a year of being Salma’s Grandma. It was just that good.
2 thoughts on “Salma’s Tiffin Kitchen”
Great review, but maybe a link to their website so we can order too would be useful?
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Hi David, you must be one of the few that don’t follow us on social media! Not to worry, you can find them at http://www.foodiano.co.uk. It’s Tawa Chicken this week I’m told!