Veggie Girl: Little India lunch buffet

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I've always loved Indian food, and since becoming a vegetarian six years ago, I've fallen for it even harder. The cuisine offers an abundance of exciting vegetarian options, including my standby dishes of saag paneer (cheese cubes in creamy spinach) and samosas. But every Indian restaurant I visit seems to have a stand-out dish that becomes a new favorite. At Little India, it's the Navratan Korma, whose rich, spicy, cream-based sauce is filled with veggies and nuts.

Sadly, when I visited the Little India on Sixth Avenue earlier this week, the korma wasn't included in the excellent lunch buffet -- but there was still plenty to enjoy. I loaded up my plate with fragrant basmati rice and piled on heaping spoons of excellent alu mutter, peas and potatoes in a mildly spicy sauce; perfectly spiced saag paneer; and some merely okay dal mikhni. The big surprise was the soy bean and potato, which had no soy beans but rather small, Boca-like meatballs in a spicy sauce with peppers, onions and potatoes. I'm not a huge fan of fake meats, but this dish could make me one.

I also enjoyed the crisp and spicy fried vegetable pakora. As much as I love my samosas, this was a nice change of pace, particularly when dipped in the tamarind and mango chutney.

I finished the gargantuan meal off with a small bowl of mango custard and kKheer, a basmati rice pudding. There were several more vegetables and fruits at the salad bar, but by now I'd run out of room; I guess I'll have to go back.

The Little India lunch buffet is offered Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and runs $8.99. There are three locations in Denver -- 1533 Champa Street, 330 East Sixth Avenue and 2390 South Downing. -- Aubrey Shoe

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