Curry in Hurry A Delicious Dream

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By Emma Young | Photos by Delia Engstrom

Perhaps it’s the traditional Nepalese spices: cardamom, cloves, cumin, turmeric and hot chili peppers. The fresh herbs add to this enticing blend: garlic, cilantro, and ginger, all creating a beautifully pungent perfume, a smoky base, a touch of heat or sweetness, and gorgeous, rich color to the delicacies served.

It could be the wisdom in authentic cooking and preparation. Traditional clay tandoor ovens slow roast meat PWLIVING Jan 16 curryinhurry.deliaengstrom (6 of 10)that’s been marinated for hours and massaged by hand by a professionally trained chef hailing from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The chef has more than a decade of experience working in some of the finest Indian restaurants in the region. Each detail is overseen by well-traveled Nepali owners with business and hospitality degrees and experience professionally catering.

Or maybe its 5 p.m., you’ve fought the day, and the traffic, and now you’re hungry. You want the finest food, but you want it fast. And Curry in Hurry delivers, the only Indo-Nepalese restaurant in the region to do so.

Whatever the reason, Curry in Hurry, the Dumfries-based Indian and Nepalese Restaurant and Bar, has gained a loyal and growing following.

PWLIVING Jan 16 curryinhurry.deliaengstrom (10 of 10)Popular Dishes
“Whoever has our Lamb Chop Kabob is married to it,” said Atin Pradhan, who, together with his wife Sanjuna Lama
Pradhan, owns and manages Curry in Hurry. “They come back for more, again and again,” he said. Pradhan described the kabob: “We go the extra mile to get the flavor. The total marination process takes about 18 hours. At the 12th hour, Ananta Bikram Bista, the chef, takes the spring lamb out and massages the meat for a good 30 minutes with a handmade paste of gram flour, fresh herbs, and sour cream. Then it goes back to marinate for another 6 hours. Finally, we cook it using traditional methods in the tandoor [a clay oven]. It’s one of our most popular dishes.”

“I love the Butter Chicken,” wrote Tracey Smith of Montclair in an online post. “The dish consists of tender chicken pieces in a rich, fragrant tomato-based curry sauce. Every table is given a basket of warm, fresh Naan bread
to complement the meal. I find this delicious to dip into the buttered chicken sauce,” she said.

Pradhan explained what makes the dish so special. “First, the ingredients. We use fresh herbs. We roast our own fresh spices, let them rest, grind them ourselves and create our own blend. We use this in our own tomato-based gravy. Our chef has a little secret twist to make it better than any place else.” Next though, fresh cream is added to the sauce. “You have to get the perfect balance between the cream and the sauce,” said Pradhan. The capstone is cooking the chicken, “the authentic, traditional way; marinating the chicken overnight, barbecuing [it]in the
clay oven, and then pulling the meat apart and placing it in the freshly-prepared exquisite sauce in the pan,” Pradhan described. Though preparation is labor-intensive, the dish remains priced at just $10.99.

Dine-In, Take-Out, or Delivery

PWLIVING Jan 16 curryinhurry.deliaengstrom (1 of 10)The restaurant seats about 50 and the Butter Chicken has become a staple on Curry in Hurry’s dine-in all-you-can-eat daily lunch buffet offered from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and priced at $8.99. Montclair resident Yukiko Dove loves the buffet. She went three different days for lunch less than two weeks after they started offering it. “Every day they have different items. Their food is fresh and delicious,” Dove noted.

One of Dove’s favorite items is often ordered by patrons as a quick take-out: Nepali coffee. “The amount of coffee is perfect. It is milk-based and already has some sweetness,” said Dove. She believes the secret is in the spices. Pradhan described its uniqueness: “We boil the milk with cardamom and our spice blend, and combine it with ground coffee whisked with sugar until it is a golden brown.” They regularly have customers who have four or more coffees in one sitting, and employees of a nearby coffee shop frequently come by and say it’s the best coffee they’ve ever had. “It’s a great drink for cold days,” noted Dove. The price is as extraordinary as the coffee: only $1.99 for a 12 oz coffee to-go.

Happy Hour is offered from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. for those who prefer other drinks. Beer, wine, whiskey, Long-Island Iced Teas, even an “Everest Sunrise,” a play on a Tequila Sunrise, is half off.

Patrons will watch the game on the in-house television and order finger foods to pair with their drink, such as BBQ chicken wings prepared Nepali-style with freshly ground, roasted and blended spices on site. “We take pride in hand-making our own spice blends,” Pradhan said. “No one is offering the authenticity of how we do our dishes. It’s fresh spices that goes in the food and
it makes the difference,” he noted.

For dine-in customers, Kids Eat Free is offered Mondays through Fridays, with a minimum $20 order. The Butter Chicken is on the Kids Menu, along with Aloo Saag (a popular mild spinach and potato dish), Chicken Korma (chicken in a fragrant cashew nut and cream-based sauce), and Peas Pulao (a mild blend of peas, spices and rice).

Though dining in has its benefits, “80% of our business is takeout and delivery,” said Pradhan. The restaurant delivers within a 4-mile radius of their location in Dumfries. “They’re our go-to delivery service,” said Nicole Wilberg of Montclair, who often orders curries and “always kheer [a sweetened rice pudding]for dessert.” “We did a demographic study of the area,” explained Pradhan. “We saw the potential in this location. People wanted something on the go. We’re the only Indian restaurant that delivers in the area,” he said. “We order [delivery]from Curry in
Hurry frequently. Their spices are wonderful. The food always tastes fresh and homemade,” Wilberg said.

Prepared Fresh to Order

“Everything is made from scratch to order,” said Pradhan. This ensures dishes are customized to your tastes and needs, including spice levels, which are offered on a scale from 3 (the most mild) to 10 (“extra hot”). Pradhan has been surprised at how many order higher spice levels, sometimes even requesting above 10. “We make fresh chili paste to add heat to the vindaloo [a fiery Indian curry dish],” Pradhan explained. “It’s surprising how much we make and how fast it goes. The residents love the heat,” he said. “People here are well-traveled. We have Quantico and D.C. so close. We’re surprised by how many have been to our country. They’re well-aware of our food,” Pradhan said.

Since items are cooked fresh to order, the restaurant is allergen friendly as well. “If someone is allergic to nuts, we won’t add the cashew-based sauce to a particular dish,” said Pradhan. “This is where the chef’s experience comes into play. He finds a way to bring out the same flavor without adding the cashew sauce to the chicken korma for example,” Pradhan explained.

A Dream Come True, Faith Realized

“America is the land of opportunity,” Pradhan said. In 2012 he had already earned degrees in hospitality management and his wife, Sanjuna Lama Pradhan, was finishing her M.B.A. They were professionally catering Nepali food for private events while working elsewhere. “We decided we have to start something,” said Lama Pradhan. “My goal was to open a restaurant,” said Pradhan. “I always liked cooking. Food was my thing.” They signed the contract on the Dumfries location in 2013. Opening a food business is difficult though.

“At some point you have to take a risk. Get out of your comfort zone and give your dream a shot,” said Pradhan. “Only two things can happen. If you fail, you fall, and learn the lesson so you rise again. If you succeed, you leave a legacy. Never give up hope. As long as you have your full effort and are consistent, the One Above takes care of us. It’s just a matter of time.” The couple continues to look to the future, making plans to add additional traditional meats like bison/buffalo to the menu, and create special evenings, such as live entertainment on the weekends and karaoke nights. “We’re excited. The future is promising,” Pradhan said. Judging by local response, that’s a delicious future indeed.

Curry in Hurry
17173 Wayside Drive, Dumfries
Phone 703.441.1110
Hours of Operation: Sunday through Thursday:
11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Closed Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Happy Hour 5 p.m.– 7 p.m.
Daily All-You-Can –Eat Lunch Buffet 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Emma Young ( is a freelance writer, stay-at-home mother, and Dumfries resident who frequently orders the Malai Kofta from Curry in Hurry: a sumptuous vegetarian dish of potato and cheese croquettes, battered with bread crumbs and simmered in a lightly spiced onion and cashew nutbased
cream sauce that temptingly calls to her as she writes these words. She recommends visiting their Facebook page Curry in Hurry VA, to see up-to-date offerings and specials.


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