Southern Indian Brunch

Our friends, who happen to be from Southern India but live in NYC, invited us to have brunch at Saravanaa.  They say it is the closest thing in NYC to the real deal Indian brunch.  We went early and the place was almost packed by the time we left. 

Aside from the food, I always love getting together with these friends because not only are they incredibly bright, it is interesting to hear them talk about India today.  Certainly you have to always talk about history in order to figure out how India got to where it is today.  How the country runs, the different dialects, the differences between the North and the South and the booming economy that is pulling many people back home were just a few of the conversations.

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We started off with 2 different dishes.  Each had the same dipping sauces but the item you dip with is different.  The first one is called Iddly which is basically a steamed rice puff.  Interesting in texture almost like a dry barely baked bread.  The sauces are fantastic.  The white one is coconut but has the consistency of a chunky yogurt.  The biggest dip is a spicy lentil sauce which you can mix with all the others.  The green one had a Thai flavoring to it maybe had a green chili base.  The red one definitely had a red chili base to it.  Nothing too spicy.  All vegetarian. 

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This particular bread is called Vadda.  Deep fried flour that is like a dry plain donut with pieces of black pepper running through it. 

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We also had some lassas.  The mango was sweet and rich like a delicious thin ice cream shake.  The other was buttermilk based and salty.   I preferred the mango. 

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Next round were dosas.  I know dosas from Hampton Chutney which is definitely one of my favorite summer haunts in Amagansett.  The dosas here are beautiful.  A semolina flour mixed in a batter and then prepared like a crepe.  The dosa had nothing in it with the dipping sauces on the side.  It was so big that I couldn't even capture the entire thing in the picture.


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The other dosa was stuffed with a mashed potato, pea and vegetable mixture.  Probably some tumeric in it. 

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Last out was the coffee.  Delicious.  The coffee comes in a small cup, super hot, and placed inside a bowl.   You take the coffee from the cup and pour it in the bowl and then continue to go back and forth, over and over until the coffee has cooled to your liking.  Yum.

So glad we went.  A total treat.  Right down the street from one of my favorite stores, Kalustyans where you can find pretty much anything for your pantry including foods from a variety of different countries that nobody else carries. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Shripriya

    Great pictures and very nice write up!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Lots of fun, as you know.

  2. JMathew

    Your South Indian friends did not steer you wrong. As another south Indian, I can vouch to the authenticity of their food. Their service is not that great, but if you can put up with that, it’s worth the hassle. I used to frequent it once or twice a week when I worked nearby. I miss the food now that I’m across the river in Hoboken.

      1. JMathew

        I think it’s the same food for lunch or dinner. Maybe larger portions?

  3. neilredding

    Absolutely love the Thali at Saravanaas – highly recommended comfort food, all vegetarian.

  4. rebeccastees

    innovative pic of the inside of the dosa!reminds me of surfing a wave.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Me too!

  5. Vijay Basrur

    Hi Joanne,Nice to know that Indian food is getting quite popular there. Just to help identifying the dishes a bit more, I’ll take the liberty to elaborateIddly is actually called Idli (pronounced as id-lee)The lentil sauce is called sambaarThe other sauces are actually called chutneysVadda is called Vada. The one that you had is specifically called Medu Vada which is a south indian specialityThe mango drink you had is called Lassi. Its a north indian version of milk shakeHope this helps 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      Excellent. Thanks for this.