Tiffin Asha is a South Indian food cart on NE Alberta St. (near 13th Ave.) in Portland, Oregon.
Elizabeth opened this food cart in mid-May serving snacks one may find in Southern India. The food here is probably not what the general public thinks when asked about Indian food. I know when I first glanced at the menu, none of the dishes were familiar to me.
But hey, I can easily fix that problem. Might as well order Tiffin's Trilogy ($8) and get a sampling of several items!
The paper dosa is a fermented dal and rice crepe, brushed with neyyi (clarified butter). It's served with sambar, a spicy dal soup made with seasonal vegetables and tamarind. It reminded me of India's take on the grilled cheese and tomato soup classic pairing. I picked up a cheesy-like quality in the dosa that made me want to keep eating it. To me, the sambar had a creamy-like taste but remained dark red in color.
Idli is a rice cake also made with fermented dal. There is a noticeable fermented taste, but I found it quite pleasing. It goes pretty well with the sambar.
Vada holes are savory dal doughnut holes sprinkled with coconut-chili fleur de sel. Extremely fluffy, with that crunchy exterior. I could eat at least 50 of these and not feel guilty.
There's a chutney bar that people get access to when ordering an entree. The homemade Indian ketchup caught my eye. It's got a heightened sweetness to start, and the Indian spices announce their presence on the back end.
|Peanut; Coconut; South Indian Ketchup|
I'm very intrigued by the brunch dosas that you can order at this cart. Basically, these are India's take on wraps and are served daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The "B.A.T." ($7) has smoked applewood bacon, baby arugula, and oven-roasted tomatoes. The "Smokey Shroom" ($7) has a fried egg, local mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Rogue's creamy blue cheese. Wow.
The "Hot Chick" ($7) has been a popular menu item. A dosa contains pakora fried chicken, black cardamom-infused honey, pickled greens, and creamy yogurt cheese. The dosas in general are quite massive, so you're getting a great value here.
Tiffin Asha is another great Portland food cart! 8.5/10