Unless you have traveled to India or are of Indian origin, you’ve likely never experienced the spicy, comforting delight that is to be found in a hot Indian breakfast. Unlike the legendary American and English breakfasts, there are no bacon or sausages in the vegetarian Indian breakfast, but there are pancakes, or something like them, called dosas, along with a variety of other breads, curries and chutneys that will leave you warm inside and prepared to face the day ahead.
The northern outskirts of Dallas in particular host a substantial distribution of Indian restaurants, but there hasn’t been anywhere to experience an Indian breakfast outside of someone’s home until recently with the opening of Amaravati Indian Fine Dine in Las Colinas. Owners Malathi Gundala and Manjulata Kanneganti wanted to bring DFW a sampling of their native food from a South Indian region called Andhra Pradesh, an area known for its uncommonly spicy food. While a visit to the 20-item lunch buffet or the a la carte dinner service is recommended for its fiery stir-fries and curries made with Kanneganti’s own chili oil, getting there before 11 a.m. is a must for all lovers of Indian cuisine and eaters of breakfast.
The menu will be foreign to Westerners unfamiliar with Indian breakfast fare, so allowing oneself to be in the presence of a mystery while working around a circular thali of intense flavors is the best way to approach the meal. To get a sampling of more than one treat, arrive with an appetite and go with one of the four combos that max out at $8.99.
All combos include a dosa option. Dosas, the most emblematic of Indian breakfast breads, are commonly described as pancakes, but they are actually more like a rolled up crispy crepe the size of an arm. Made of fermented lentil batter, they can be served plain, filled with onions or spicy potatoes and then are often dipped in coconut chutney or sambar, a lentil-based stew cooked in tamarind broth. The sambar and the coconut chutney will be in separate pockets of your thali platter. Ask your server to guide you if you insist on the traditional pairings, or experiment and simply eat what you prefer. Become a Telugu (resident of Andhra Pradesh) and eat with your hands to experience the textures of the breads. Or use the silverware on the table.
There are also doughnuts — vadas, savory treats of deep-fried black gram batter that are delectable with a spread of the subtly sweet coconut chutney. Instead of the sometimes saccharine and now extravagantly topped doughnuts available in American breakfasts, the vada is another tempting way to get your doughnut fix.
Another bread with Western appeal is the puri. Deep-fried and fluffy, puris are soft chewy pillows of fry bread used in Hindu ceremonies as offerings and are also commonly served at weddings. But thanks to breakfast, you don’t have to be a bride or a god to eat them. Merely dip your puri in the accompanying yellow potato curry and give thanks to the cooks.
Along with the coconut chutney, sambar and puri curry, Amaravati also makes ginger, peanut and tomato chutneys for dipping the five other breads on the menu. While maybe not traditional for South Indians, newer restaurants have become more creative with their chutney varieties. The peanut is the spiciest, and the ginger has its own sweet-spicy bite.
A sweet South Indian coffee or the milder hot chai is the perfect way to bring your taste buds back to earth before walking back out into the Western hemisphere of wide open freeways.
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Breakfast is served 8-11 am every day and is also available to-go in the space directly to the left from 7:30 am to close.
Amaravati Indian Fine Dine, N. 5435 MacArthur Blvd., Irving.