S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

South Indian Cooking

Last night, a group of five of us drove way out into the suburbs on a whim. Our driver said she knew a very authentic South Indian restaurant. She didn't know if we would like it - she said it was very good, but only if you like South Indian cooking. The Hopper Hut is located in a strip mall, somewhere out in North York or Scarborough - I don't know exactly where, an unprepossessing place with a takeout counter in front and a room full of tables in the back. As it turns out, we all liked South Indian cooking, once we knew just what it was. And with the exception of my friend who decided to take us there, none of us had ever tried any of these dishes before.

Mutton Rolls - They were meant to be an appetizer, but they arrived when they were ready, after a few other dishes. It didn't matter. They were sort of like Indian egg rolls, deep fried, stuffed with vegetables, spices, and mutton, only at least twice the diameter of the average egg roll. A few of those would make a very nice lunch all on their own.

Hoppers - We left the ordering to Jen, who knew what she was doing, as you might gather from all the other cryptic names of dishes we ate. This was the first to arrive. Apparently, it's an Indian breakfast food, but servable for dinner as well. Hoppers are sort of like bowl-shaped savory pancakes, very light, and a little spongy. The combo platter included two plain, one sweet milk one, and one egg hopper. All that means is that the egg (or the sweet milk) is cooked onto the middle of a plain hopper. The hoppers went quickly, since it was the only food on the table and we were hungry. And they were good.

String hoppers - Mmmm, string hoppers. They were my favorite part of the meal, very tasty confections. They're like savory, non-puffy funnel cakes, like a pancake made up of densely packed lentil noodles. They came with a ghee sauce, and could be dipped in curries or chutneys. If the other food hadn't made me so full, I would have eaten even more of them.

There was also a spicy mutton curry - I could eat small amounts, but had no desire for large quantities, since the spiciness killed my taste buds. I think it technically came with the string hoppers.

Chicken lamprie - A lamprie isn't a fish at all, it's a sticky rice dish cooked in with a curry inside of a banana leaf. It's an Indian risotto. It was good and tasty, particularly since we ordered it mild to be sure I could eat it - I was being cautious.

Ittly - Ittlies are donut-sized patties made of some sort of flour, good for dipping in curries, although they too are more normally used as a breakfast food. It came with all sorts of dipping sauces.

Kotu Roti - This was a very tasty dish, an Indian-spiced stuffing-type confection. We ate it all.

I also had the best sweet lassi I've ever had in my life there.

And the price for all this decadent and bountiful eating? With taxes and tip, we paid CA$55 for 5 people for dinner, including drinks. It was a good meal all around.

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