Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Woodlands Indian Cuisine

Indian food was one of the driving factors in my decision to go vegetarian in 1994. My best friend Purvi moved to my small Arkansas town from India in the 8th grade, and she was vegetarian. When her family moved to Oklahoma the next year, I spent a week visiting them. While I was there, I only ate vegetarian food since her family is veg. Her mom didn't make much Indian food for us at home (mostly grilled cheese sandwiches), but on my last night, we ate at an Indian restaurant. One bite of a samosa and I was hooked for life. I'd wanted to go veg since the moment I realized meat came from animals, but it wasn't until that experience with Indian food at age 14 that I knew I could do it. I gave up meat and never looked back.

Fast forward to now: I still love, love, love Indian food. And I especially love South Indian food thanks to all the fried goodness and dosa. Woodlands Indian Cuisine is, hands-down, the best South Indian joint in Memphis. They don't use ghee in many of their veg dishes, and their dosa is to die for. Woodlands used to be a totally-veg establishment when they opened, but they added meat to the menu a year later because Memphis is a dumb, meat town that can't sustain a totally-veg restaurant. Thankfully, the menu is still ripe with veg options.

Last Thursday, I met PPK-er Jody, her friend Julia (both from Boston), Stephanie (Poopie Bitch on the PPK), her husband Richard and their Poopie Baby Peter at Woodlands:

I strayed from my usual Gobi Manchurian for this delicious Mysore Masala Dosa. Look how big that dosa is!

The dosa was stuffed with hot sauce, potatoes, onions, and spices and served with coconut chutney and sambar soup. I rolled it up burrito-style and gobbled the entire thing:

And if that wasn't enough fried food for me, I also ordered this appetizer of Vada Sambar (fried savory lentil donuts with sambar soup):

I was totally stuffed after all of that, but Stephanie brought a tester apple pie from Isa and Terry's upcoming pie book (the completion of the cupcake/cookie/pie trilogy):

Nothing says multicultural like Indian food and apple pie, right?

Woodlands Indian Cuisine is located at 4205 Hacks Cross. Call 901-737-9914.

And don't forget to enter my Speed Vegan cookbook giveaway!!


vegan.in.brighton said...

Oh man, that pie! I cannot wait for the pie book!

Mihl said...

I love Indian cuisine, too. My bf lived in Nepal for some time and also made visits to India. He always says that it is a shame how meat centric German Indian restaurants are. The always told me about hundreds of different vegetarian dishes he could get there.
Indian definitely know how to treat vegetarians and vegans!

Debra said...

I have got to learn more about indian cuisine.. it looks good.
Blessings, Debra
Raw Vegan Diet

VeganCraftastic said...

Yum, that all looks amazing, I love Indian food! And the pie looks yummy too!

Rikki Cupcake said...

what? awesome, we have a Woodlands here in Tempe, AZ too! They are crazy tasty and super inexpensive!

Lesley Eats said...

I wonder if it's related to the Woodlands in Nashville or if that's just a common name for southern Indian restaurants. Regardless, I'm glad Memphis has access to dosas and other southern Indian specialties now! Woodlands here in Nashville has completely spoiled me.

SarahRachel said...

I've been trying to figure out how to get around the creamy curries and ghee in Indian food, and this sounds awesome. Indian food has got to be hands-down my favorite kind of food. Is there any way to get vegan naan? Most of it is made with yogurt and butter.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oh man, I LOVE Indian food!

Tender Branson said...

Samosas are awesome, probably my favorite indian food. coupling it with an apple pie is a nice move.

Anonymous said...

I just ate at the Woodlands in Phoenix, and had dosa and sombar also! My fiance is Indian, and this restaurant seriously rivals with his mom's cooking. Thanks for posting!

Kara Hadley said...

I freaking like dosas, and that's only partially because there's one called Kara dosa.

Brian said...

as you can see, i'm behind in my blog reading :)... i love indian, and we have a great southern indian place near where i live in cincinnati. i will def put this on my map before i come into town!