Eating to Live on the Outside: Paru's Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

Phew! Over the past few weeks I feel like quite the cross-country enthusiast. It started with a New York subway ride to Just Salads, then I rolled into Sin City to check out The Go Raw Café (sorry I didn’t have time to check it out during my recent real-life trip to Las Vegas), and now I’m back on the west coast for some exotic dining at Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant.

Now, I’m really into eating, I love good food, but in twenty-five years of stuffing my face, I’ve never had Indian food. I’ve done Chinese, Japanese, grew up on Italian food, Korean, Portugese, Brazilian, Irish, Greek, German, crappy American food, and yes, I even like the occasional serving of Sushi, but no Indian. So let me check out Paru’s online menu and see what I might order if I found myself seated in its Hollywood California location.

Okay the names of the dishes are tough to decipher, looks like someone blew up a scramble board (Paru’s glossary should help), but they still look pretty darn appetizing. Being that this place is already vegetarian, and in some cases vegan, I don’t think an Eat to Liver is going to have a hard time choosing a healthful meal. Personally, I the only things I would outright avoid are the few dairy selections and foods prepared with hot spices. That’s double trouble for me.

I really like Punjab’s Glory, it comes with Poori, vegetable curry, peas, rice, Papad, and Raitha. Raitha, Poori, and Papad, you don’t say? Yeah I didn’t know what they are either. According to the glossary Poori is stuffed round bread, Papad is crisp lentil cracker, and Raitha is a yogurt salad. I’ll have to ditch it because dairy does not do my body good, but I am digging the lentil cracker, sounds interesting, vegetable curry sounds cool and peas, peas, who doesn’t like peas! I also hope the rice is brown rice and not nutrient devoid white rice, but given the healthy vibe of this place it probably is. I’m cool with eating the round bread (there’s my concession), but I’m curious to know what it’s stuffed with; a good question for the wait staff.

The Bengal Bahadur is also looking mighty tasty. It’s prepared basmati rice, vegetable curry, Sambar, and Raitha. Well first off I have to ditch the Raitha again, but Sambar, what’s Sambar? The glossary defines it as vegetable gravy used for dipping that can double as a soup. Sounds good to me! Another cool dish is Yogi’s Delight (smarter than the average bear), it’s made with chickpeas, curry, beans, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, Paratha, and other vegetables. Now this is a nice array of vegetables, we’ve got a virtual garden of phytonutrients here—very cool! Oh, and Paratha is a chewy Indian flat bread (hello concession), I’ll keep it, sounds interesting. To be honest, Yogi’s Delight would be my most logical choice, I always get nervous trying new food, so my first time I like to play it safe and with all Yogi’s veggies I don’t think I can go wrong.

Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant has definitely inspired me to give my local Indian restaurant a try. If I do I’ll try and get a follow up Eating to Live on the Outside as soon as possible.

And as always we want your feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out Paru’s menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at
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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Helena - September 2, 2006 2:54 AM

I love papads! They are not that unhealthy (mostly just lentil flour), except for the fact that they are very high in sodium. In restaurants they are usually deep fried though... (at home, you can just dry fry them in a non stick pan).

I have never seen brown rice in an Indian restaurant, but maybe Indian restaurants in the US are different? I don't think white rice on occasion is a bad thing though, but I would choose between either rice or bread. From a health perspective, I'd say white rice is a little better than white bread, especially the long grain white rice they use in Indian restaurants.

I love Indian food, but I am afraid Indian food in restaurants is not, in general, very healthful. Everything is loaded with ghee (clarified butter). I am sure they could veganize the meals by using vegetable oil, but it'd still be fat.

I'd love to be proven wrong about this particular restaurant, just want to warn readers that in general, Indian places look healthier than they usually are.

Leanne - September 4, 2006 12:25 AM

There are lots of Indian restaurants here in Australia, and while they do offer many vegetarian (and often vegan) options, they're usually *loaded* with fat and grease. Definitely NOT Eat-To-Live friendly! While I love a good Indian meal as much as the next person, I avoid pretty much all Indian restaurants and menu options these days, unless it's a curry I make myself from scratch. Just too risky when it comes to weight gain and bad health.

Bruce Hamilton - September 6, 2006 1:59 AM

I agree with the above comments. I have never heard of a vegan (as opposed to vegetarian) Indian restaurant. For relatively healthy ethnic food, I think Ethiopian is the best you can do (but as always, beware salt and oil).


Sara - September 6, 2006 2:01 PM

I see I'm not the only one but I couldn't let this one go by. I just read your Indian restaurant review. Indian restaurants are usually NOT a good place for Eat To Live people, despite being vegetarian. Poori is deep-fried bread that puffs up, probably made from white flour to boot. Papads are usually deep fried and often very spicy. Usually you can get vegetable curry made "very mild". However, rice in an Indian restaurant is almost always white, and often seasoned. Sambar is a spicy soupish dish that you dip certain other things (idlis, vadas, etc.) into. They usually cannot adjust the spice as it is cooked in large batches in a big pot. I think parathas are usually fried as well. A roti would possibly be a bread that's not fried. I don't want to burst your bubble but I used to get many stomach aches from all the fried food in Indian restaurants. I agree most definitely with Helena and Leanne. I make my own curry too with no oil.

Sujay - August 6, 2008 6:21 AM

Yes. As an Indian , i must admit that the food we eat on a daily basis is completely different from restaurant food - there are thousands of healty everyday indian dishes not found in restaurants - they're much less spicy too ... this is a new area with plenty of potential in the future

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