Monday, May 28, 2007
OoohMmm good! I enjoy Indian food, but have not explored much of the background, letting its many regional cuisines meld together in my mind. The first time I become curious about Indian regional cooking was when falling in love with dosas at Neelam's in Seattle's University District (now "Jewel of India"). I was finding that dosas were rather rare elsewhere, with the staff at various other restaurants all over the US explaining that they were 'southern' Indian cuisine whenever I inquired. Having the region spelled out in the name of "Om South Indian Cuisine", gave me reason to ponder these differences again, and do a little research.
My beloved dosas (or dhosas) are indeed from South India, and South Indian Cuisine encompasses the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. And I understand that Om South Indian Cuisine is run by a family from Tamil Nadu. The main difference between the food in these four states is the spiciness (hotness) of their respective dishes, and what distinguishes the region's cuisine from that of other states is the use of rice as a staple food, the use of lentils and mild spices (as opposed to the strong, pungent spices used by North Indian cuisine), and incorporation of dried red chillies and fresh green chillies, coconut and native fruits and vegetables such as tamarind, snake gourd, plantain, ginger, and garlic. And to my surprise, at Om there were several choices of dosa! I decided to try my favorite Masala dosa (filled with a mildly spiced potato mixture), which came out looking just like those I had enjoyed more than 10 years ago in Seattle, bearing the same accompaniments, delicious Sambar, and condiments of tomato-ginger and coconut chutney. OoohMmm good!
My lunch companion ordered the vegetarian curry, and said it was chock full of delicious fresh veggies and was nicely seasoned. This place seems to be a winning place for vegan diners, or those who have a gluten intolerance because of the variety of other grains offered. I'll be back!