The modern dosa dossier - Hindustan Times

The modern dosa dossier

Feb 19, 2024 03:17 PM IST

After dosa is being featured on yet another favourites’ list, here’s what’s cooking in the world of dosas that come with fusion twist

The dosa was recently ranked the world’s 10th best pancake by food guide Taste Atlas, but once must ask themselves: was the unassuming brilliance of it ever in question?

Owing to the popularity of fusion dosas, Sambarpot, a South Indian restaurant in Delhi organises a dosa festival every year.
Owing to the popularity of fusion dosas, Sambarpot, a South Indian restaurant in Delhi organises a dosa festival every year.

The love for this crispy crepe that happens to originate from southern India is uniform throughout the country, from its masala and rava to onion avatars finding a place on most menus. What’s noteworthy is the consistently high uptake of dosas that come with a twist. Stuffed with beetroot, bell peppers, corn, mushroom and even noodles and pasta and often topped with loads of cheese and cream, there are many delicious Instagram-worthy versions that are winning hearts.

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For instance, Chandigarh’s Wow Dosaaz offers dosas with different kind of fillings. You can take your pick from the aptly named Bahubali dosa: an oversized variant topped with grated cheese and small pieces of other dosas — like sizzler dosa, French fries dosa, kadhai paneer dosa, chocolate dosa and Burj Khalifa dosa — placed on top of each other like a tower and filled with a variety of exotic vegetables and cheese.

Crepeing up on the taste buds

“Videos featuring these kinds of dosas go viral. I’ve tried almost all their varieties. People love these for their unique flavour combination and creative presentation,” says Tanvi Bhalla, a lifestyle influencer.

Owing to the popularity of fusion dosas, Sambarpot, a South Indian restaurant in Delhi organises a dosa festival every year. “We have varieties such as schezwan, sizzles, cheese and exotic vegetables. Our Matki Dosa, topped with cheese, gunpowder and cream, tops the chart. It is placed on top of a small pot filled with bhaji,” says Kamal Kanth, executive chef.

The craze for these fusion dosas is not just limited to India, says chef Nishant Choubey. “During my visit to Kuala Lampur in Malaysia, I tried a ‘pull me up’ dosa that comes in a transparent sheet, a Mexican chicken variety, a chilli chicken dosa and many more. Fusion dosas are fun and experimental but they should be done in a way so that the essence of the dish is retained,” he says.

For health buffs

Playing around with the batter can help enhance the nutritional value of a dosa, says Choubey. “While we see a lot of innovation in the filling, you can also give a refreshing and colourful spin to the dish by simply adding beetroot, blue pea flower powder and palak purée to the dosa batter,” he says. One can also swap the rice and dal batter with millet flour batter.

Tips to make the perfect dosa:

The right ratio

A basic dosa batter ratio is 3:1 with rice and urad dal. Proportions have to be accurate or else you will end up preparing a sticky dosa that would start breaking on the dosa tawa.

The secret to great texture and colour

Rice and dal need to be washed thoroughly. Adding a few fenugreek seeds to the rice helps in fermentation (to get more volume). It also provides a beautiful brown colour and a crispier texture.

The value of soaking

Soak the rice and dal separately for three hours in a large container, so that they have enough space to absorb the water.

Ensure smoothness

Grind the dal first into a smooth consistency, adding enough water. Grind rice into a smooth batter by adding just enough water. Combine the pastes, add salt and let it ferment in a large covered glass bowl for about 8-12 hours in a warm place.

Time is of the essence

In winter, eight to 12 hours are required for proper fermentation, and in summer, six to eight are enough. The batter should not be thick but light.

Prepping the tawa

A cast-iron dosa tawa is much better than a non-stick one. Cut an onion into half and apply before the dosa batter is poured. You can also apply a little oil and wipe it off, so that the tawa is ready.

-Inputs by Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji

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    Ruchika Garg writes on food, health, culture, and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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