I'm a pretty adventurous eater, but I lean hard on tacos and burgers. My husband and I wanted to try something different than our usual takeout, so we ordered Himalayan Chimney. Only slightly familiar with Indian food — and a lover of naan bread, I wanted to order lots of dishes to taste the full gamut of options from their menu. 

There's a lot to enjoy on the Himalayan Chimney menu. The appetizers, or starters, include paneer chili and aloo tiki. They offer entrees with chicken, dishes with lamb and goat, seafood dishes, and many dishes that are vegetarian. They have a dedicated part of the menu for Taste of the South (of India). The menu also includes bread offerings, soups and salads, biryani, and dessert. 


For our dinner, we ordered appetizers, main dishes, and naan, of course. We used the online ordering system on Himalayan Chimney's website. When you select your pickup time, it defaults to the hour, but I clicked to change our pickup from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.. This proved troublesome because when my husband arrived at 5:30 to the restaurant to pick up our order, it was not ready, and the staff told him it would be ready at 6, even though my online receipt said 5:30. Not a terribly big deal, so my husband took the car to get gas and a car wash before circling back to pick up our order from Himalayan Chimney.

When my husband arrived home with the food, I laid out all the dishes on the table. They labeled each container with the name of the dish.

A collection of takeout containers from Himalayan Chimney are scrawled in black ink the names of the dishes on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Our order contained dishes that we'd never had before in addition to two that we've had before (and loved too much not to order again).

Takeout containers are open to reveal the inside of the dishes: rice, lamb korma, malai chicken, garlic naan, papadum, lassoni gobi, and roti are all uneaten on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Let's talk about the naan first, okay? We ordered the garlic naan ($2.99), and it was probably the best naan of my life. It comes with one gigantic piece of naan bread, charred in places, sprinkled with chopped cilantro, and it was fragrantly garlicky. It was wrapped in tin foil, and it was still warm when we ate it.

A large piece of garlic naan bread has chopped cilantro and charred bits as it lays on a piece of tin foil on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I love naan, but this naan is next level. It tasted a bit like garlic pizza. It was buttery, soft, and easy to tear into smaller pieces to soak up the provided sauces. 

Next to try was another appetizer: samosa ($5.99). It came with two large, triangular pieces of Indian goodness. 

Two samosas from Himalayan Chimney sit in a small, white styrofoam container on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

It also came with a green sauce that had a minty flavor with hints of cilantro. The samosa had very thick breading wrapped around a soft middle with cooked potatoes, peas, and cardamom. It reminded me a bit of a hand-held pot pie, and we really enjoyed it.

We also ordered the paani puri ($4.99). Paani puri is a type of snack that is one of India's common street foods. Our order of paani puri included seven ball-shaped, hollow puri filled with a mixture of chickpeas, potato, and cilantro.  

Seven small spheres are cracked open at the top revealing chickpeas and cilantro in a circular tin carryout container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I'd never had anything like this before, and I thought the spherical boats were adorable. The outside of the little balls was a very thin, crunchy shell, and the middle tasted like a dip. This paani puri gave me hummus vibes; a bite with the chickpeas and crunchy shell reminded me of dipping a cracker in hummus. I liked the texture and flavor combination, and it felt fancy to eat.

We also ordered lassoni gobi ($8.99). This dish literally means garlicky califlower. It is a batter-coated califlower, fried, and tossed in a red sauce.  

Lassoni gobi covered in a dark red sauce sits in a circular tin carryout container on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

My husband has had this dish at Himalayan Chimney with colleagues (R.I.P. The Before Times) and loved it. However, the carryout version isn't the same. As with anything fried and then covered — and driven across town for 15 minutes, it was not that crispy when we got to eat it. It would definitely be better fresh from the fryer, but it still was quite delicious. 

A close up of a portion of lassoni gobi on a white plate with a silver border. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The califlower was pretty spicy as you could probably guess from the bright red color. It had some chicken wings or General Tso similarities with the batter and thick sauce, and it was quite tasty. I needed a chaser carb to cut the heat, but I was happy to chow down on more of that garlic naan.

An overhead shot of lamb korma shows the dark orange sauce with flakes of herbs in a plastic container on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

We ordered lamb korma ($15.99) as a main dish. I've had vegetable korma and chicken korma before, but the lamb korma was fantastic.

A close up of a portion of lamb korma sits on a white plate with the korma sauce spreading apart from the lamb and onto white rice. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The lamb was cut into thick chunks that were bigger than a biteful. The meat was so tender that it practically melted in my mouth. The korma itself was mild — not spicy — and full of flavor from spices unfamiliar to me. I quite liked the flavors, and I really enjoyed the texture of the korma: creamy and thick like a curry.

We ate it with the poori ($2.99).

Two pieces of roti lay in a tin foil wrapper on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I put the lamb korma over the rice and used this still-warm, tortilla-like bread to scoop the korma into my mouth. I learned at Japan House's Ananda special event to tear bread into a small piece, and I scooped up the korma like a teeny, tiny lamb taco. The poori came as two large pieces. The poori was fried, but in the carryout, it was not longer puffy; it deflated in the tinfoil. It was still fantastic. It was thin like a tortilla, and it made a great vessel for scooping the flavorful main dishes.

We wanted another meat dish to share, so I ordered malai chicken ($15.99).

An overhead shot of malai chicken in a plastic container on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

It was probably my favorite dish of the evening. The malai chicken came in a large plastic container with chicken, onions, peppers, and lots of the white sauce. It was a creamy sauce that was thin. The onions and peppers were expertly cooked — and sliced into big pieces, so they are easy to avoid if you don't enjoy onions or peppers. The tender chicken was cooked in a clay oven. This dish was for my child with allergies, so I was pleased when the chef called to verify that the ingredients in the dish were safe before he cooked it.

Chicken pieces are covered in a thin, white sauce with pepper and seasonings visible in the sauce on a white plate with other foods. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The flavors were delicate with notes of cardamom. I can't really place all of the seasonings I tasted, but I enjoyed every nuance of the flavors. It was a great comfort dish that was perfect over rice. I think the rice was the perfect vehicle for this yummy sauce. The white sauce looks a bit like alfredo sauce, and it has similarly decadant savor.

A heaping portion of white rice sits in a square styrofoam container on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Rice was provided at no charge, and it was a lot of rice. We loved having enough rice to serve with the lamb korma and malai chicken, and it was the perfect chaser to the spicy lassoni gobi. It soaked up all the sauce on my plate, and it was great to know there was enough for everyone to get their (ample) share.

A folded papadum sits in a square styrofoam container with two small cups of sauce (one red and one green) beside it. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Lastly, we also ordered papadum ($2.99). It came with two big, crispy pieces folded in half. They were thin and wispy like a cracker. We used it to scoop up some lamb, and we also ate it by itself. It was a great crunchy texture with a very mild flavor.

I made sure to get a bit of everything on my plate.

The author's plate of a little of everything from Himalayan Chimney carryout on a white plate on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The food carried out well (apart from the lassoni gobi), and our meal was still warm and delicious when we ate it. The dishes had large enough portions to have leftovers — which we happily ate the next day for lunch. If you're looking for a family-style dinner, Himalayan Chimney is a great option. They offer a large variety of dishes with several options for both meat-loving and vegetarian diners. You can order online here.

Himalayan Chimney
134 W Church St
Champaign
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 to 10 p.m.
Su noon to 3 p.m., 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.