Smile Politely

A flavorful journey at Masala Indian House

Grille plate at Masala Indian House
Grill plate at Masala Indian House: Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

Nestled in the heart of Champaign-Urbana, Masala Indian House promises a culinary adventure through the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine.

The interior of Masala Indian House restaurant.
Rashmi Tenneti

We had a weeknight dinner at Masala Indian House with a large group of adults and kids. It was a great chance to try out some Americanized classics like butter chicken and some Indian dishes like paneer pakora.

Naan chips with a red dip.
Naan chips at Masala Indian House; Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

To kick off the culinary excursion, they provided a free basket of naan chips with a creamy dipping sauce.

Chicken chili on a white plate.
Chicken chili at Masala Indian House: Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

I savored the chicken chilli, a delightful fusion Indo-Chinese dish featuring tender chicken strips, bell peppers, onions, and a zesty lime infusion. Priced at $7.99, this dish delivered a perfect balance of saltiness and mild spiciness, elevating its overall taste and texture. This was the favorite of most of the adults who grew up in India for its complex flavors. 

Paneer pakoda on a bed or lettuce with two side sauces.
Paneer Pakora at Masala Indian House; Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

Next up, I sampled the paneer pakora, priced at $7.99. These chickpea flour breaded paneer cheese delights, accompanied by spicy and sweet tamarind chutneys, offered a blend of flavors. While the paneer pakoras were lightly flavored on their own, the accompanying chutneys added a delightful variety of flavors, enhancing the overall taste experience.

Ginger chicken, chicken makhani, and shrimp dopyaza at Masala Indian House for dine in.
Ginger chicken, chicken makhani, shrimp dopyaza at Masala Indian House: Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

Moving on to the main courses, I delved into the butter chicken ginger masala and chicken makhani, priced at $12.50 each. The butter chicken ginger masala boasted a creamy tomato base infused with subtle ginger undertones, offering a delightful medley of flavors that were more savory leaning. Meanwhile, the chicken makhani, with its mildly sweeter creamy tomato sauce, scored higher with the kids. One of the highlights of the meal was the shrimp dyopyza, priced at $14.99. This savory delight featured succulent shrimp cooked to perfection, complemented by a medley of tomatoes, peppers, and onions. The savory spice profile of this dish was simply irresistible, making it an instant favorite. This dish reheated well the next day for dinner, and I loved enjoying it again. 

The naan bread at Masala Indian House
Naan at Masala Indian House: Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

Accompanying the main courses were fragrant servings of rice with cumin, offering an effervescent and fluffy texture, or the light and freshly made naan, straight from the tandoor.

On a black cast iron skillet, it's a grilled plate of meat at Masala Indian House.
Grill plate at Masala Indian House: Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

For those who want to eat a lighter meal, we opted for the Masala grill plate, priced at $19.99. This large platter featured an assortment of fish tikka, tandoori shrimp, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, garlic chicken, mala chicken, and lamb seekh kebab that came paired with a free lentil daal. Each item on the platter was unique with most dishes being very mild, with highlights including the smoky chicken breast cubes, tender spiced shrimp, and crispy yet soft tandoori chicken legs.

The curries at Masala Indian House.
Malai kofta at Masala Indian House; Photo by Rashmi Tenneti

Our last entree was the malai kofta, priced at $11.99. These delectable paneer potato meatballs, bathed in a creamy tomato sauce, offered a delightful burst of flavors, providing the perfect conclusion to a memorable dining experience.

Our dining experience at Masala Indian House was nothing short of spectacular. From the crispy and savory appetizers to the sumptuous main courses, each dish showcased very different styles of cooking and flavors. With its warm ambiance and impeccable service, Masala Indian House has undoubtedly earned its place as a culinary gem in the Indian food scene in Champaign-Urbana.

The exterior of Masala Indian House in Champaign.
Rashmi Tenneti

See the restaurant’s website here.

Masala Indian House
715 S Neil St
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. + 5 to 11 p.m.

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