Consistency. Let's talk about it. Not mine or my lack thereof. The consistency of the food I ordered the other day.
I'm not a takeout kind of gal, but I had been eyeing Masala Dabbas for a while and I am happy to say that I finally, recently got to try the food.
I was expecting to see my cute little Idli packaged in a bag as my roti was, but they were actually sitting in the sambar (a spicy lentil and vegetable stew) like tiny islands, much to my surprise. Some people really fly the flag for food segregation. Food touching does not tend to bother me, but I prefer to be given a choice. I've done a bit of research and sometimes Idli is served submerged in the sambar; sometimes it is not. I would have preferred the two to be separate considering how porous idli is.
The idli still kept its integrity whilst swimming in the sambar. I say swimming but it was actually quite stationary. The sambar swam. In the mouth, the idli was spongy and fluffy. It had that beautiful slightly sour taste to it that occurs as a result of the fermentation process.
The sambar was thick and hearty. It was patterned with carrots and chillies. It was not a smooth sambar. The carrots and the green vegetables (though there were very few whole pieces of them in the sambar) were velvety.
Enjoyable starter. I would have preferred a thinner sambar, and for the idli to be packaged separately but I am sure that if I had requested the latter, it would have been a respected wish.
Bankaya Pulusu Korra (Tamarind Aubergine)
I ate this with pearl barley (don't ask) and Masala Dabbas' wholemeal tandoori roti, which I will speak about later on.
When it comes to keeping the heads of vegetables on, I don't want to be a proponent of that. I want every head GONE. So, eating this dish came with a few challenges. The aubergines (I think they were baby ones) were deliciously smooth and creamy, but I had to behead all of them before I could really get down.
Such a great dish. I definitely could taste the tamarind. There was a pleasant tang there too. More of a kick, however, would have been good. I could feel the beginning of a kick with each mouthful but it always stopped abruptly.
Perhaps there was coconut in there as well - who knows? It would have explained the pleasant creaminess of the stew. I could have eaten this meal a few times over.
(see previous section for photo)
I was so happy with this. I don't normally see wholemeal roti on menus so I was very pleasantly surprised.
As is normal with wholemeal alternatives, the roti was more on the solid side. Yet, it was still quite soft, quite flaky and had a bit of pull to it when being broken apart. There was also plenty of it. I also liked that the taste was very neutral; it carried the starter and the curried aubergine very well.
All in all, a solid meal. Some really great flavours, fair portions and the service was also very good. Great meal for winter and I loved the fiery, deep orange hues of both of my meals.
There are quite a few vegan and dairy-free options for those who are wondering.
If you'd like to find out more about Masala Dabbas, then check out their website: http://masaladabbas.co.uk