WTH Are Doughnuts Doing on an Indian Buffet Line?

vada at spice route.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Health food doughnuts? Vada are made with lentil flour, so they must be good for you, right?
I know what you're thinking, but this is no April Fool's Day prank. There were doughnuts on the buffet line at Spice Route in Bellevue.

Inspired by Laura Onstot's new column called Holey Shit, I knew I had to try them, but first I wanted the 411.

Now the thing I love about Spice Route, which is swarmed by Microsofties during the lunch rush, is that it's not just the same-old, same-old stuff on the steam tables. But the thing I do not love is that only about half the dishes are labeled.

These golden gems were not. So I asked the nice lady across the sneeze guard if she knew what they were: "They're called vada, a specialty of Southern India. They're made with lentil flour, so they're full of protein." Hot damn! A doughnut that's good for you? I'm so all over that!

I had already eaten a plateful of curried okra and lamb vindaloo, so I had been on the hunt for dessert. This savory ball of fried lentil flour was going to do it. I fixed myself a salad sundae, putting the vada on top of a heap of greens I dressed with raita, the cooling cuke/yogurt combo. It was fantastic! I think I just invented an instant classic.

Any other savory doughnuts from around the globe I should know about?

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