Happy All Saints Day, dear readers! Did you dress up yesterday? For once, I didn’t dress as myself this year; I was a Professional Procrastinator!
…I’ll be in the corner ducking bricks now, thanks. But if my Halloween was any indication, you’re probably filled to the brim with candy and chocolate and other good tasting but not so healthy food.
So how about some good tasting AND healthy food to start the week off? Think of it as a continuation of Nutrition Week.
I stumbled onto Veda about two years ago, when I got lost at the basement of Galbraith/Sanford Fleming. (I really don’t understand why you need two distinct names for one interconnected building.) I was tired, hungry and all of a sudden, I smelled curry. I wasn’t hallucinating! There it was, tucked away in the corner, an Indian place. The sign said they were “Healthy Indian Takeout” and my interest was piqued. My experience with Indian food has always been heavy flavours and pungent spices. It tastes great but I wouldn’t call it healthy (especially not with the amount of gulab jamun and rice pudding I tend to consume for dessert!).
So I ordered a small Butter Chicken Curry Bowl. Before I get onto the taste, I have to say I love their pricing – $5! The Chinese/Hamburger and fries trucks outside Sid Smith cost more!
Okay, the taste. It was better than the butter chicken at The Host. Seriously. It’s creamy and spicy (spicy as in full of spice flavours and not ow-omg-hot-my-tongue spicy) but without the heaviness. The small bowl was filling but I didn’t fall asleep in the really comfortable chairs of my lecture right after either.
“It’s because of the way it’s made,” says Matt Surlaya, General Manager, “we don’t use butter or ghee, and the only oil we really use is to fry the onions.” No butter in butter chicken? Le gasp! Apparently, Veda uses low-fat milk instead, as well as a bunch of other “secret” ingredients that Matt wouldn’t tell me, no matter how much I plied.
I’ve gone back almost every week since then and by now, I’ve pretty much tried their entire menu. Everything else is just as tasty. Their samosas are baked (in fact, none of their food is deep fried!) and their signature Currito is incredibly filling. I’ve never been able to finish a whole one and I have a pretty big appetite.
I’ve also dragged most of my friends there (hi Lucy!) and from what they’ve told me, they’ve dragged their friends over too. I discovered when my butter chicken tasted a tad different (but just as good!) that they make their food fresh every day – they even make their mango lassi (a kind of yogurt drink) with mango puree instead of powder! Bubble tea places need to learn that powder does not equal good taste. There’s a reason I’m willing to walk to Sanford Fleming for lunch in the winter time, even though Sid’s Cafe, the trucks, Reznikoff’s, and Sammy’s are closer to where I have class.
Like Hot Yam, Veda is U of T-grown and it’s grown quite a bit. “A lot of people have a perception of what Indian food should be,” Matt explains, “we want to re-educate them by making guilt-free Indian meals that are quick, easy, affordable, and delicious.”
Veda started as the owner’s thesis for the Rotman MBA program five years ago and this year, they opened their third location at Koffler Institute. With vegan/vegetarian options, no nuts, no gluten and being 100% halal, Veda’s the perfect compliment to the Multi-Faith Centre. The name, Veda, is Sanskrit for a sense of healthy living through the knowledge of mind, body and spirit.
Do you have favourite healthy food places you go to eat on campus? Let me know in the comments!