Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cumin India

Anyone who follows this Blog knows I'm a big fan of Indian food, so when a new Indian restaurant opened recently just up the road from me, I couldn't wait to check it out.  Cumin India has set up shop in the former IHOP restaurant on Skiff Street in Hamden.  The blue A-frame roof is still there, but inside you'd never know this used to be a pancake house.

I love the heady spices and flavorful cuisine, and am always on the lookout for a place that serves Dosas.  When I discovered that this South Indian treat was on the menu at Cumin India, I couldn't wait to go.  So I went last week in anxious anticipation of digging into a giant rice flour crepe stuffed with savory curried potatoes.  Alas, I was disappointed to discover there was only a limited menu available during the first month as the kitchen was not yet equipped to prepare this item.

Although a little thrown by this revelation, I decided to order a couple of stand-ins which turned out to be quite delicious.  The Aloo Tikki are spiced mashed potatoes which are hand-formed into little patties, dusted in chickpea flour and panfried to crisp perfection.  I topped these with various chutneys served along with the complimentary pappadom lentil wafers.

For my entree I went with the Chana Masala stand-by, which arrived in a huge bowl along with basmati rice.  The sauce was thick, rich, and savory, and had a homey quality which made me feel like I was sharing lunch in someone's kitchen rather than a restaurant.  I'd definitely order this again.

My friend ordered the lunch buffet which, at $10.95, was a bargain as long as you're not a vegan.  There were plenty of fresh looking items displayed in the chafing dishes, and this would make a substantial  meal that could eliminate the need for dinner.  For vegans, there was a coconut cabbage (yum!) and curried mixed vegetables, which contained a ton of cauliflower which I was happy to sample.  There was also Gajar Halwa for dessert, a sweet Indian pudding made with shredded carrots.  I tried a forkful to determine if it was delicious (it was), though highly doubtful it was vegan.

Once the full menu is up and running, I look forward to a return visit!


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