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Given the number of dishes to choose from at Curry Corner, you'd think there'd be some overlap — you know, different main ingredients, same curry sauce. Not a chance. All of Khalid's curries are unique to each individual dish. The roasted chunks of chicken peeking up from the tikka masala are bathed in a creamy, rust-colored sauce that's rich in taste with a note of spiciness emerging at the end of each bite and disappearing before the next one. The Punjabi handi, with chicken, has a more garlicky taste, and the traditional curry with lamb, a rich red and served steaming like incense, has the distinct presence of ginger.
With a solid selection of tasty dishes (with not one priced over $9), it's easy to order up a few to try, or better yet, share with friends. And when it comes to desserts, don't pass on Khalid's halwa, a warm, sweet, creation of shredded carrots, almonds, and semolina, an ingredient used in breakfast cereals and which, I'm convinced, made this exotic treat taste like the Pakistani version of Cap'n Crunch.
Keeping prices low for her steady stream of locals means no designated servers to speak of, so service can be slow depending on the crowd. Relax. Khalid, her son, or one of her small team will take your order, cook your food, serve your food, and bus your table as quickly as they can. And with Khalid's high standards for quality, don't be disappointed if she won't serve you a dish — there's probably a good reason for it.
1212 E. Apache Blvd.
Tempe, AZ 85281
"If we don't have a fresh ingredient, I don't serve it," she says. "If the naan is a little burned or I don't like the color of a curry, I throw it out."
Chances are you'll meet Khalid when you visit Curry Corner — that is, unless she's left for her annual trip to Pakistan. There, she'll visit friends and family and tour neighborhood eateries looking for a new dish to bring back to her Tempe restaurant. One that will, for some, make the eyes wet with nostalgia or, for the rest of us, including yours truly, offer one more reason to stop by.