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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Ruta’s Fresh Indian Fare: Focuses on Approachable, Healthy Dishes

Mar 01, 2024 12:00AM ● By Sheila Julson
Ruta Kahate, Ruta's Fresh Indian Fare

Ruta Kahate

Ruta Kahate of Ruta’s Fresh Indian Fare has worked in almost every aspect of the culinary world while living in India, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Milwaukee. At Ruta’s Fresh Indian Fare, her restaurant in the Walker’s Point neighborhood, she strives to demystify Indian food by creatively highlighting its healthful Ayurvedic properties.

“I make what I would eat at home,” Kahate says. “Indian food is often misunderstood. I try to showcase the regional diversity of Indian cuisine.”


Kahate ensures that every flavor combination is foolproof, with curries and spice blends to accommodate different tastes and dietary preferences. The restaurant’s build-your-own-bowl model lets guests choose a grain, naan or salad base, and add a protein such as steak, chicken, pork, tofu and chickpeas. Guests can then choose a curry sauce, four vegetable sides and a relish.

Almost everything on the menu is made from scratch. Kahate and her staff grind the spice blends and make the curries, relishes and drinks in-house.


“Our guests get to experience the food, yet tailor it to their tastes, whether it’s spicy mirchi sauce or a mild coconut sauce,” Kahate says. “I’m vegetable-forward and offer a choice among nine, colorful, vegetable-based sides. The staff is trained in presenting food in ways to make it enticing for people to try new things.”

Kahate is not a trained Ayurvedic practitioner, but she grew up with Ayurvedic principles and learned how to combine ingredients in ways that support the body. She uses colorful foods that offer the six tastes of Ayurveda: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent.

“The goal is to nutritionally balance the menu so every spice, ingredient and flavor profile has a reason for being. The turmeric carrots stimulate digestive juices, while the yogurt raita will cool you down after sampling the pickled chilis,” she explains. The drink menu is crafted in similar fashion. Kahate’s Immunitea is made with an immunity-boosting spice blend that includes turmeric and ginger.

New menu options include seasonally inspired grab-and-go bowls and a kids’ menu. “I believe that kids need to start eating right from a young age and should be introduced to flavors early,” Kahate shares.

Kids can choose a rice bowl or a naan melt. Both are milder, and the rice bowl features an allium-free dal (legume dishes free of vegetables in the onion family). Choices include tofu or roasted chicken, and the bowl is topped with a colorful, crunchy chopped salad. The kids’ naan melt is pizza-inspired, with a tomato masala, chicken or tofu, and cheese, served with dipping sauce.
Kahate added to her menu Goa Pulled Pork Melt, Hot Roasted Chicken sandwiches and the vegan Yogi, which were customer favorites from her former stand at Crossroads Collective food hall. She offers catering for baseball teams to small weddings, and boxed lunches and naan melt trays for corporate events.

Kahate will soon offer cooking demos at the restaurant and will continue her partnership with the Milwaukee Public Market for cooking classes. In her latest cookbook, 6 Spices, 60 Dishes: Indian Recipes That Are Simple, Fresh, and Big On Taste, Kahate shows readers how to use six basic spices in a variety of ways that make Indian cooking friendly and accessible. The cookbook and the featured spices are available for purchase at the restaurant.

Ruta’s Fresh Indian Fare is located at 207 W. Freshwater Way, Milwaukee. For more information, call 414-509-6802 or visit