In Watertown, healthy Indian food with a few surprises

India Kitchen offers a new spin on classic dishes

The Bollywood Wings appetizer at India Kitchen in Watertown.
The Bollywood Wings appetizer at India Kitchen in Watertown.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Where to India Kitchen in Watertown, which opened in November.

Why For healthy spins on classic Indian dishes, especially for takeout.

Chef-owner Siva Kumar (left) and Naga Raj, chef.
Chef-owner Siva Kumar (left) and Naga Raj, chef. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The backstory Chef-owner Siva Kumar runs Newton’s Walnut Grille; it specializes in vegetarian and vegan food.

“Being an Indian, from Madras, I always wanted to do Indian food — something different, the way you eat in India, with the same consistency,” he says.

He also wanted to serve healthy options: In addition to chicken wings cooked in yogurt and chicken “65” (his favorite dish: spicy, juicy, and deep-fried), you’ll find different twists on familiar choices.

“I created a pakora, normally made with onion, but I use kale,” he says. There are also bowls — everyone likes bowls! — incorporating protein, vegetables, and brown rice or quinoa.


“Those aren’t Indian, necessarily,” he says. But people love them.

The Mantra house bowl.
The Mantra house bowl. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

What to eat Indeed, you’ll find plenty of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly choices here: quinoa and kale salad ($8); vegan “meatballs” in tomato sauce ($8); and those house bowls — the gluten-free Yogi ($13) is made with chickpeas, whipped spinach, brown rice, and soy cutlets; the Ayurveda, also gluten-free, has spiced tofu and roasted almonds on a bed of cumin- and turmeric-laced brown rice ($12). But there are plenty of vices, too, like a rich, vinegary vindaloo ($12 and up); korma, a velvety, creamy, cashew-based sauce best paired with tender chicken ($12 and up); and buttery, garlic-spiked naan ($3 and up; there’s also a pesto version). Another surprise hit: Gobi Manchurian, crispy little bits of cauliflower splashed with sweet tomato sauce, cilantro, and scallions ($8), a lovely pre-meal snack. India Kitchen also offers corporate catering.

The Madras curry with chicken.
The Madras curry with chicken. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

What to drink You’ll find the usual array of sodas, bottled water, and mango lassis.

The Takeaway The restaurant itself is a small, happy place, painted in mint green and orange with inscriptions of various Indian cities on the walls, plus a handful of tables. (Takeout is popular.) It’s a welcome addition to a quiet Watertown corner, with helpful hospitality (ask for recommendations) and fast service. If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s worth a stop — especially if healthier eating tops your New Year’s resolution list.


India Kitchen, 45 Lexington St., Watertown, 857-760-7176, www.indiakitchenma.com

The Kale Pakora appetizer.
The Kale Pakora appetizer. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.