The easiest (and most pleasurable) way to eat vegetarian is to go Indian. With the spices, the curries, and the breads, who needs meat? Not me! Swad is my new favorite place. Located in a rundown strip mall at 9515 North Lamar, it’s nothing to look at.
The inside, like the outside, is shabby and humble. You don’t always get a plate, you pick up your own silverware and napkins. There are plastic cups and pitchers of ice water that you get yourself, too. You order at the counter and your food is delivered to your table shortly afterwards. Completely informal, Swad isn’t about the ambiance. It’s about the dosas!
The masala dosa is a long thin, crispy crepe made from lentils and stuffed with spiced vegetables. The dosas at Swad are oversized and mostly hollow. The filling in concentrated in the center. You eat them with your hands, tearing off the slightly sour crepe and dipping it into the curries and sauces. Swad’s menu doesn’t describe the sauces, so you just dip and hope for the best. It’s a culinary adventure!
My favorite dosa is the mysore masala. The crepe is soaked in a red chutney, making it less crunchy and spicier than the masala dosa. Once again, Swad’s version is so large that it hangs off the tray.
Here’s a shot of the spicy potato filling:
Another great offering is the Thali Special. Only ten bucks, this is a meal for two. A selection of breads and pakora to dip in various chutneys and curries, this is a great way to taste lots of different flavors.
The samosas are the best I’ve ever had, the triangular pastries stuffed with fragrantly spiced veggies, potatoes and lentils.
Panipuri are small little puri fried crispy. You poke a little hole in the balls and fill with mint water, potatoes, and tamarind chutney. This is a popular street dish in India and fun to eat.
Another dish that allows you to sample lots of flavors is Paratha-shak.
If you haven’t been to Swad, definitely go and check it out. Most items on the menu are $7 and under. This is a great place to go with a group of friends and order a bunch of unfamiliar items to share. I promise, no one will miss the meat.