Sunday, November 11, 2012

Indian Vegetarian at New York Ganesh Temple

I can’t imagine what life would be like without the love and friendship of my sisters.  Yesterday was my youngest sister Candice’s birthday and we spent the day doing what we both enjoy. That is eating out at places that are clearly off the beaten path.  This afternoon we had lunch in the basement of the New York Ganesh Temple.  Situated on a quiet street in Flushing, the temple is one of the oldest Hindu places of worship in the United States.
The basement of the temple houses, a kitchen with a row of folding chairs and tables called Temple Canteen.  The menu is vegetarian which consists of a variety of Dosas and specialties from Southern India.

Not convinced that we would become full, sans animal protein, we got the works.    It appeared the most popular dish was the paper dosa. It was on everyone’s table.  Therefore, my sister and I ordered that along with idlis -the steamed rice flour bread traditional, tomato uttapam-aka Indian pizza, medu vada –savory donuts and Bisi Bele Bath-a lentil, rice and vegetable stew. While waiting for our lunch, the cashier asked if we wanted something to drink.  I ordered a mango lassi for my sister and a chi tea for me. My tea was prepared with whole milk.  I haven’t had full fat milk in years.  I almost forgot what it tastes like-absolutely delicious.  Candice’s mango lassi was very good too.  It had just the right balance of mango, yogurt and milk.   

After about ten minutes, we heard our number, “73.” The paper dosa, medu vada and idlis were ready first.  The dosa clearly earned its name - paper thin, light and crisp.  I couldn’t wait to get back to our table and tare into it so I bit a piece as I walked to my table.  It tasted a lot like a tangy crepe.  I broke off another piece and plunged it into the curry sauce, which was the perfect compliment.

My sister started on the medu vada.  Her first response was that they were a bit salty.  She has a high tolerance for salt, her saying that made me take note.   Yes, they were a bit salty but when dipped in the yogurt sauce, they didn’t seem so briny.  Unable to separate from the dosa I dip a piece of it into the lentil stew.  That was good too. Now on to the idlis which was very light and airy.  I have seen them in other Indian restaurant but never tried them.   They came with a tangy coconut milk sauce that completely absorbed into the steamed rice bread when dipped.   

We hear our number called again.  It must be the lentil stew.  Candice went up this time while I continued eating the dosa and curry sauce.  She returns with the Bisi Bele Bath. 

Our number is called one more time.  By now, we’re starting to get very full. I thought, “What else had we ordered?”   It was the uttapam.  Steaming hot and full of tomatoes and onions, this also came with the same curry sauce as the paper dosa.  It too was very good but in hindsight, I think we would have been fine without it.  In any event, I was glad that I tried it. 

I would recommend Temple Canteen and all of the items we ordered.  I never thought vegetarian could be this filling.  I didn’t eat for the remainder of the day. I am inspired to prepare my version of Indian Vegetarian next week. Oh and how can I forget the cost of all of this $21.32.

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