Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 343

Uthappam: I can't think of any other time during this blog where I've gotten to try two brand new cuisines in one week, but that's exactly what happened this week. In addition to trying Ethiopian for the first time on day 339, I finally tried Indian cuisine today. I know I've eaten plenty of Indian items over the course of the blog, but I'd never eaten in an actual restaurant until tonight. Crazy, but true.

I'd heard good things about Saravanaa Bhavan in Decatur, and when Scoutmob issued a discount recently, I figured it was finally time for me to try. They specialize in South Indian cuisine, and their menu was all vegetarian. I have no problem with vegetarian fare as long as it tastes great, and I'd really liked all the packaged Indian food I'd had so far, so I was excited to find out how it compared.

In addition to lots of things I recognized (curries, samosas, etc.), I noticed something new that sounded really tasty: uthappam. The menu described it as a sort of pancake, served plain or with various fillings. I opted for the one filled with onions and green chiles, despite my low tolerance for spice. I guess I was in the wrong place for low spice tolerance.
Once our server brought the dish (served on a cool looking stainless steel platter), I was impressed. It looked like a large pancake, and I could see several pieces of red onion and green chile pepper studded throughout the dough. The utthapam was served with several dipping sauces, none of which I could easily identify. One was sweeter, one more spicy, and another was mild and almost cottage cheese-like. I was hungry, so I dug in.

My first few bites were good - the dough (made from rice flour) was cooked well, with a nice crunch on the outside. It was bit thicker and breadier than I expected, and after a few minutes, I started to feel the heat from the chiles. The sweet dipping sauce (pictured on top of the pancake) was my favorite, but I still can't quite pinpoint its flavors. Me and the GF demolished all of it quickly, expect for one small chunk with a large concentration of chiles. If you decide to order one, make sure you have someone to share with - it was extremely filling.

After I got home from dinner, I noticed that I'd actually bought a box of utthapam mix from the Buford Highway Farmers Market during my last trip, but I hadn't even remembered that when I ordered it tonight. That was bound to happen at some point, right?

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