‘Dosa’ is a famous south Indian food. This crepe pancake, made from rice and dhal batter, can take various shapes based on our creativity and imagination.
The plain homemade dosa has gone a long way to establishing itself as hundreds of varieties of Dosa. These days, Dosa festivals give more opportunity for chefs to experiment with different varieties of dosa and please the connoisseurs.
My Mom make Dosas more interesting!
I remember as a kid when I refused to eat, my mother used to prepare dosas in various shapes including cat shaped dosas and clock shaped dosas to make me eat. I do not remember any other household dish which gives such flexibility to moms.
Sometimes she would prepare dosas in the shape of continents such as Africa & Australia! Can I say that my exposure to continental food began with Dosas?
For the purists, there are the traditional dosas
set dosa etc.
But for those open to experimentation there are a plenty to choose from.
Be it the straightforward cheese and pepper dosa or the slightly complex paneer-capsicum or the multi-cuisine Schezwan dosa.
Cheese Pepper Dosa
The cheese-pepper dosa was a marriage of melted cheese and coarsely ground peppercorns, a ‘simply’ delectable combination especially when you chew the pepper.
The schezwan dosa is a take on the regular ‘Chinese’ spring roll filled with mushrooms and assorted veggies with a delicious coating of schezwan sauce. Similarly, the paneer capsicum dosa is the one that comes with the desi-goodness of paneer. These are just a few samples of the rather extensive variety of dosas.
Dosas are just not necessarily vegetarian!
There are enough varieties with non-veg combinations too. The chettinadu kozhi dosa, with its mix of authentic chettinadu spices, and kuttanadan chemmeen dosa are few examples.
Crispy dosas, stuffed with various exotic fillings, and sensational chutneys, add coffee to the equation…an utter delicacy!
Side Dish For Dosas
Coming to the side dish for dosas, there are a variety of colourful chutneys
green (mint and coriander),
red (tomato, onion and red pepper),
brown (groundnut) and so on.
Variety of Gravies for Dosa
There are also a variety of gravies like sambar, vegetarian and non-vegetarian kormas to choose from.
The chutneys that accompany dosas depend on the filling. The age-old sambar with the chutney is always a welcomed combination by most of us.
Podi – a great accompaniment
Podi (a coarse powdered mixture of ground dry spices that typically contains dried chilis, urad/white lentils, chickpea, and sesame seeds), which is used since our great grandmother days, is also a great accompaniment.
Dosa for Health-conscious People
For the health-conscious folks, there are the duck egg and quail egg dosas, much like the ‘mutta dosa’.
Eggs done sunny side up tucked inside two folds of the less oil or oil-free (depending on how you look at it) make for healthy eating.
Podi dosa, keera dosa, tofu (soya paneer) dosa, onion or plain rava dosa are some other varieties.
For those who cannot live without moong dal (whole green gram), there is ‘the pesarattu’ from Andhra.
The same pesarattu, christened as upma pesarattu or MLA pasarattu, comes in a mega size.
What is Roast Dosa?
In the western part of Tamilnadu, particularly in the Coimbatore region, they call dosa as ‘roast’ instead of calling it dosa. The name itself suggests that they are very crispy. Ghee roast, masala roast etc are the additions to the list.
Family Dosa – One single Dosa for all in a family
In Kanyakumari, there is a restaurant that prepares a family dosa, which is about 5 feet long. Just one dosa is a good meal for a family of say 4 to 5 people.
This is a great attraction to tourists.
Kal Dosa & Set Dosa
There, the dosa festival is round the year! Chettinadu kal dosa is very unique. It’s is not crispy but thick and soft. Even the set dosa, is almost the same taste but the only difference is it is served always in a pair.
Teeka dosa is for the spice lovers, it has spicy chillies, garlic and curry leaves.
The display of dosa is so mouth-watering, starting from simple plain dosa to triangular shape or rolled paper roast to the conical display resembling that of a king’s crown (maybe that’s why it’s called the king of south Indian dishes). The chettinadu kozhi dosa is folded like a masala dosa, while the kuttanadu chemmeen dosa is folded into a square and the cheese pepper dosa is rolled. The different shapes keep up the curiosity quotient of everyone attending and eating dosas at the festival. It makes them feel like they are eating different things.
These days dosa gives enough room for experimentation so that the chefs could express their creative talent for attracting and winning the hearts of dosa lovers during such festivals. Dosa festivals are organised in almost all leading hotels and restaurants across South India and it receives huge customer appreciation.
So, when you come across a dosa festival next time, be the first to drop in and try out various mouth-watering dosas that are served hot and spicy.