The story of Dosa
Ask any south Indian, his favourite food would be Dosa made by mom. That is why one cannot wonder at the sight of a Dosa outlet or a south Indian restaurant in almost all the corners of the world. If you think only south Indians enjoy this delicacy, go to the streets of Delhi, you can see crowds infront of those tiny carts selling Masala Dosa. Recently, while scrolling through Facebook timeline my eyes stuck to an intersting story of the ‘Dosa Man’ Kumar who by selling dosa from a small cart changed the culinary culture of NewYork’s denizens.
What is it about Dosa that we love so much? A fermented thin, tangy, crispy crepe or pancake made from rice and lentil (urad dal) batter cooked on a hot girddle. Originally dosa was made only of lentils to which in course of time rice was added. Later evolved different variations to the basic theme.
According to food historian K.T Acharya, first reference to dosa (thosai) is seen in sixth century AD Tamil literature. The sanskrit classic Manasollasaby western Chalukya king Somesvara III (1129 AD) describes Doshaka made of lentils . However, writers like P. Thankappan Nair, Pat Chapman and lisa Rayner gives Udupi, the Karnataka town, credits for making first dosa. Well, it may be probably because of the Udupi restaurants which brought dosa to Mumbai and other north indian cities. Paula Richman says that a Tamil folk song mentions dosa as one of the dishes Dasaratha’s pregnant wives crave for.
There is more than hundreds of varieties of dosa available now a days. Basic form is the plain dosa made of rice and urad dal batter. It is not spicy but yet tangy and tasty. Usual breakfast item in south indian homes and the cheapest dosa in restaurants. In the southIndian state of Kerala, dosa is thicker and smaller. It is not crispy but spongy. This smaller and simpler variety of dosa is the most favorite street food in Kerala known as ‘Thattu dosa’. Restaurants of Karnataka serves ‘set dosa’ — simple, spongy dosa in a set of more than one per plate. Thinnest dosa with plain rice batter is called Neer dosa which would be the easiest to cook as it requires no fermentation. Utthappam or dosa version of pizza (if i say so) is again a dosa over which vegetables are spread while cooking. Andhra special dosa is Pesarattu made of moong dal batter. King of all dosas Masala dosa, fosterd by north Indians, has crossed seven seas and spread it’s fame through out the globe. Dosa filled with a spicy concotion of fried onion and mashed potatoes folded and eaten with chutney and sambhar. There are many innovations in the basic form of masala dosa by experimenting with the filling using meat or other vegetables.
We havenot seen a ‘Mc dosa’ yet but wherever it has gone, dosa made it’s impact. Hope, one day Dosa will become India’s healthy answer to fast food world.