ajanta on my brain
Posted by vegetablediaries on January 14, 2010
if you are in berkeley (solano avenue to be exact) and are in need of unique and delicious indian food for cheap (lunch=cheap, dinner=moderate), then i highly recommend eating at Ajanta. i’ve been to many indian restaurants and none of them can compare to Ajanta’s varied menu and awesome preparation of regional dishes. although they are not a vegan restaurant there are usually a few vegan lunch specials from which to choose. your lunch will include yummy aromatic rice (brown rice is an option for a little more money), kala chana (black chickpeas), or saag (pureed spinach). Ajanta’s menu changes weekly, so there are always new and interesting things to try. some things stay on the menu depending on season and popularity (i think), so if you fall in love with their sambhar like i did, then rest assured it’s been on the menu for a couple of months now… and hopefully they will keep it on! i’m also quite fond of the bheh, khumbi aur matar (lotus root, shiitake mushrooms, and peas cooked with caramelized onions, ginger, garlic and spices). however i think my favourite is their hyderabadi baingan baghare (organic eggplant slices sauteed and cooked in a sauce made with onions, sesame seeds, tamarind, coconut powder, cashew paste, ginger, garlic, and spices). i don’t have a photo but take my words that you MUST order the baingan baghare if you see it on the menu. it is so rich and the eggplants are like tender little gems that explode in your mouth.
i’ve visited Ajanta for dinner, too but nothing can beat the fantastically cheap and filling lunch specials ($10 or less!).
i love the caramelized onions on the rice…
the sambhar is a south indian dish and includes toor dal (lentils) cooked with spices, tamarind eggplant, okra, carrots and potatoes. i didn’t mention this yet but Ajanta is prepared to serve your food spicy HOT if you so desire. i ordered the sambhar “hot” but for the other dishes i recommend ordering them “medium” if you’re not used to the heat. if you like the heat then by all means you should go for HOT!
1888 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707