The Dish: Sindhu's ethereal Chana saag

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I’ve eaten myself into oblivion many a time at Sindhu, but have had to limit myself to the FDA-approved entrée portions. Until one foggy Monday afternoon, I transcended my stale consciousness of lunchtime fast-food after landing on Sindhu Indian Cuisine in the Hannah Plaza off Hagadorn Road.

I can hardly consider my past self a fan of Sindhu, considering I wasn’t privy to their afternoon lunch buffet. Upon entering the tranquil space (no overhead music, clanging kitchen or amplified chatter) my eyes immediately darted to the back of the dining area where coils of steam rose out of large metal pans.

Seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sindhu is serving a hot spread of its most popular menu items.

The star-studded lineup features the Indian outlet’s most popular poultry dishes including Butter Chicken, Chicken Tandoori, Chicken curry and Chicken Biryani. Basmati and lemon rice held down the grains, as well as the beloved naan.

For my plate, I took the opportunity to load up on my favorites (butter chicken and lemon rice) and try something new, the Chana Saag. The curry dish contains chickpeas, ginger, onion and loads of spinach. Chana means "chickpea" in Hindi and Urdu. It is a popular dish from the Punjabi region of India and is loaded with protien, dietary fiber and zinc. The spinach packs another punch of vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium and iron.

As someone who was never invited to homecooked Indian meals, I can only guess that the chana saag was perfection. However, it lacked the spice of garam masala, or at least the quantity one might get as an entrée dish. What stuck out was a hint of sourness.

The only downer about the supreme spread is it does not cater to those who love the cuisine for its out-of-this-word flavors. The buffet is spice less, enough to make fans of Indian cuisine weep in its absence.

Regardless, while reality was telling me to stop after my first serving, something in the atmosphere pushed me for another round. I asked for my bill and when my waiter appeared, it was then that I could've sworn I saw Siddhartha appear before my eyes. The total of my bill read $10.99. A divine number for a divine delight.

Sindhu

Daily

11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

4790 S. Hagadorn Road, Ste 132, East Lansing

(517) 351-3080, sindhurestaurant.com

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