If there’s ever a haven for vegetarians, this is it! It’s a well known fact that Asian food, and especially Indian is manna for vegetarians, who always get the blunt edge of the knife, often being limited to risottos, pastas and the sort. I know Woodlands from my school days in South India where they have numerous outlets serving the finest dosais (or fermented rice and lentil crepes). Having just returned from an extended vacation in Europe, the craving for good nutritious vegetarian food was unbearable and even more intense was the calling towards a masala dosai.
We had a starter of various crispy fried vegetables and cashewnuts and aaloo chaat, which is a tango potato salad on wheat crisps, drizzled with tamarind and yoghurt. Yum! As they give you a choice of dosais, mine was a masala rava onion dosai which is the same fermented lentil and rice pancake but with the addition of semolina and onions (the semolina allowing for it to be a little thicker but incredibly crispy). All masala dosais come with a stuffing of spiced potatoes and all dosais come with sambhar (slightly soured lentil and vegetable ‘curry’), and coconut chutney. The thing about a dosai is that it has everything you need and it’s vegetarian – one doesn’t even miss meat. This is one of the things I could have every day of my life and be tremendously happy.
For desserts we had their dessert platter which comprised of semolina and saffron halwa, carrot halwa and ras malai – semolina and saffron pudding with nuts and raisins, carrot ‘fudge’/pudding and milk cakes poached in a pistachio flavoured milk (eggless) custard. The English descriptions/translations sound rather paltry and ordinary, but sometimes there are things that always get lost in translation. These mini desserts were lovely – classics that I have grown up eating and love. Ras Malai, however nice it may be anywhere in the world, for me, will never compare to that from a little shop, Sweet Hut in the city where I grew up – it’s only from that shop that I can eat Ras Malai with every meal and never tire of it. Woodlands’ ras malai, was rather nice and enjoyable nonetheless!
Woodlands is another one of those places that I have been to countless times in the past and am sure will return on many occassions!