But to me, one of the benchmarks of great Indian cuisine is the bread.
|The colors: Wednesday night veggie buffet at Woodlands|
The adventure starts at the buffet table, where you can fill your metal tray with a bit of everything. Woodlands, which describes the spread as "Indo- Chinese," includes a Manchurian dumpling in a savory red sauce called idly. The name also refers to small rounds of a white and spongy bread with a texture reminiscent of Ethiopian injera or Filipino puto. A fiery soy sauce-based vegetable stir-fry adds color to the tray, as does a salty lemon chutney and fresh mint sauce to drizzle onto crispy pappadums.
|Dosa-do: My tastebuds do an allemande left with the fiery mysore masala dosa.|
But it is the fresh dosa, each made freshly to order, that is the star of the buffet firmament. Harvey and I started with masala dosa, a large crispy lentil and rice-based crepe filled with saffron-hued mashed potatoes, and a version of the same thing with sauteed onions. The second round included the whimsically-named paper masala dosa, which was a masala dosa made with rice flour only and the mysore masala dosa, which promptly set my mouth on fire and heightened my anticipation of dessert.
And what a dessert it was. Payasam is a gentle concoction of vermicelli noodles cooked in milk and enhanced by cardamom. I brought up two half- filled stainless steel cups of the pudding-like dish to the table, just in case we ended up not liking it. We loved it, but were too full of dosas to want more.
|Sweet relief: Payasam or kheer helped put out the smolder of the mysore masala dosa.|