Bringing a new flavor to the Edina culinary scene is long-time Indian cuisine restauranter Diljit Singh. Wanting to provide the community with authentic Indian flavors, he opened his sixth restaurant, Tamarind Indian Cuisine, in March 2020. “Edina has always been a dream of mine,” he says. “It is a great place and is one of the best areas to come for a variety of food. [It’s] a dream come true, community-wise.”
Starting his journey in the restaurant industry at just 23 years old, Singh opened his first restaurant, India Palace, in Roseville in 1998. Since then, he has expanded his reach to three more India Palace locations—in Woodbury, Burnsville and Uptown Minneapolis. He also opened Namaste India Grill & Brewhouse in Arden Hills and now Tamarind Indian Cuisine.
As someone who has always loved food, Singh says this industry was appealing not only because of food but also because it provided him with a way to connect with others. “I love cooking and serving people in hospitality,” he says. “This is what makes me happier than anything.”
Founded on his Indian roots, the flavor of his food sparks from native family recipes passed down through generations. With his grandmother’s recipes as the backbone of his businesses, Singh values the power of locally-sourced ingredients, home-grown spice blends and authentic practices to ensure the freshest bite to every dish.
Appreciating the way that food can bring people together, he says he has enjoyed seeing customers from all different backgrounds try new things or connect with their cultural roots. “You can connect with the world,” Singh says about the power of a good meal.
Combining his passion for tradition with his love for sharing with others, Singh puts a new twist on traditional Indian dining. With crisp white linens, elegant place settings, modern fixtures and cozy leather booths, Tamarind provides the perfect atmosphere for a great mealtime experience.
However, the beauty of this venue was abruptly put on hold after opening at the start of the COVID-19 shut-downs in 2020. Singh says that he has learned a lot about the value of his customer base since then. Shifting from a consistent 80 percent of his sales from in-person dining and 20 percent from take-out at his other restaurants, he says this ratio flip-flopped when Tamarind first opened but has since gone back to normal. Unintentionally taking a bizarre route to a grand opening, Singh says he was happy to know that he had a supportive following to keep his passion afloat. “What makes the Edina community so special is their dedication to small business and supporting local,” he says.
As for the future of Singh’s restaurant endeavors, he doesn’t plan on opening any more locations for the time being, but he hopes to maintain a consistent customer base among all of his six restaurants. “In life, you have to do something, and in the end, this is what I love, and this is my passion,” he says.
Get a taste for some of Tamarind’s classic Indian favorites.
Spring chicken marinated in special sauce blended with rich garlic and herbs
Crispy pastries stuffed with potatoes and peas that are lightly seasoned with a blend of spices
Mixed vegetables cooked with cashews, raisins and cream sauce mixed with homemade cheese, served with a side of basmati rice
Chicken Tikka Masala
Fire-roasted chicken, sliced onion and bell peppers with tomato sauce and a touch of cream, served with a side of basmati rice
Shrimp Karara Balti
Stir-fried shrimp and assorted vegetables in a spicy, coconut-infused sauce
Homemade milk fudge in a rich, cardamon-infused sauce consisting of reduced milk and garnished with pistachios
Spice it Up
Jazz up your seasoning selection with these bold flavors commonly found in Indian cuisine.
Bold in color and in taste, turmeric provides an earthy touch to any dish. Derived from a root in the ginger family, this seasoning is a major ingredient in curry powders and is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Derived from a dried seed, cumin is a member of the parsley family. As a strongly aromatic spice, cumin provides an earthy, roasted flavor to any dish.
Cardamon (green and black)
Containing the same scent, the only difference between the two types of cardamom stems from the process in which they are prepared. Roasted and dried over open flame, the cardamom seeds are blackened and develop a rich smoky flavor.
The most common is the Indian red chili, which is comparable to a cayenne pepper. Ranging in heat from medium to hot in taste, the spice level truly depends on how and where the chilis are grown. Packing a pungent punch, these peppers are the perfect finishing touch to any dish.
With a similar flavor profile to fennel, star anise is a popular frying spice that provides a slightly sweet and floral taste. Pairing well with savory meat dishes, this spice is commonly found as the source of flavor for many accompanying dipping sauces.
Native to parts of Asia, ginger is a spice that comes from the underground stem of a flowering plant. Hoppy and bright in taste, this spice is also notorious for helping relieve nausea.
Pass the Plate
Serving up traditional Indian fare, the Tamarind menu features classics like tandoori (an ancient method of cooking over charcoal in a clay oven to provide a subtle yet rich flavor), chicken tikka masala, curry, samosas and eight varieties of seasoned or stuffed naan.
However, the options don’t stop there. The menu also features over 30 appetizer options and 80 different specialty entrées with chicken, lamb, seafood, beef, goat and vegetarian selections. In addition to the wide variety of meat or meatless options, Tamarind is also mindful of spice tolerance (offering mild, medium or hot for each dish), uses no added sugars and is gluten conscious. Singh says there are only two things on the menu that require the use of flour. “We cook everything from scratch, and [it’s] fresh,” he says. “It is very flavorful and healthy.”
Priding himself in creating an environment that is mindful to dietary preferences and restrictions, Singh says Tamarind’s menu provides a little something for everyone.
Tamarind; 3875 Gallagher Drive; 952.681.7735; tamarindmn.com
Tamarind Indian Cuisine @tamarindindiancuisinemn @TamarindMN