Chennai Masala

December 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm 2 comments

After wine tasting at Renaissance we had the usual debate about dinner locations and decided on Chennai Masala as M’s sisters had not been there.  It is my favorite Indian food restaurant in Portland.  There are many tasty places to eat Indian food, but Chennai Masala specializes in South Indian fare.

I lived in South India for six months, residing in Pune for most of that time.  Pune is roughly four hours east of Mumbai (Bombay).  It is an important center for both the software and automobile industries and is also well known for its educational institutions.  The food is amazing.  When I get home sick for Indian food it is the food of Pune, both what you find in restaurants and the food that my aai, my Indian host mother, would cook for me at home.  After school each day my fellow students and I would pile into rickshaws or walk down the street to one of the cafes to feast on South Indian snacks and fresh lime sodas to tide us over until the supper hour, which was more at the European hour, say nine o’clock at night.

Chennai Masala specializes in South Indian food and has a substantial menu of South Indian snacks, hard to find most places that I have been in the US.  Dosa, idli, uttapam, sambhar….  Just thinking about them gets me salivating.

We ordered the spinach dosa to share, and then each ordered something on our own.  If you have never had dosa before, it is fun food.  A giant thin crepe is loosely rolled around a filling or folded over in half over it.  The flour is a combination of rice and lentil and has its own particular flavor, being a little earthy and nutty once fried.  You can get a variety of fillings put in them and they usually come with a number of accompaniments for dipping.  Our came with a spicy spinach filling and had sambhar, and two chutneys on the side.

I don’t recall what everyone else got, but I ordered aloo gobi (an indian curry with cauliflower and potatoes) for my entree, which was quite tasty.  Our meals were served with naan.  I am more partial to chappati for eating with, though I certainly enjoy eating naan, especially if it is garlicy and has butter.

I highly recommend that you go and check out Chennai Masala, located in Hillsboro.  They were even written up in the Willamette Week restaurant ratings.  All of their food is great, but go and try the South Indian snacks.  They are stellar and will get you wishing you could travel to Pune to eat in the cafes.


Entry filed under: restaurants. Tags: , , , .

Wine Weekend – part one Snacking Away

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. elizabeth  |  December 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Mmmm. I love Chennai Masala. You’ve reminded me that I haven’t been there in several months – time to go again!

    • 2. Delicata Indulges  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm

      Yeah, I think that it is probably my favorite Indian restaurants, due to the South Indian snacks. Luckily it is crazy cold or I would be tempted to ride my bike up there and have some for dinner tonight, and I am supposed to head home and eat a responsibly priced home cooked meal. =)


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