If you haven’t had dosa, check it out wherever you are in the world! If you’re lucky enough to have a South Indian restaurant in your town, don’t wait to try it out. Dosa is a vegetarian treat, made from rice and lentil flour. Ready-mixes are available in Indian stores, but there are countless online recipes which challenge you to make it from scratch (my mum does this and we have been very willing guinea pigs!). This article is about Dosa at Adyar Ananda Bhavan, a South Indian restaurant in Sutton Place, NYC.
The simplest form of dosa, which was one of my favorite treats growing up, is ‘Sada’ or plain dosa. It’s basically a crispy pancake made from rice-lentil flour. What makes it alluring is the chutneys or dips and dhal (lentil soup) you eat it with :).
The two basic chutneys that are served with dosa are coconut and tomato/chilli. The basic idea is to break off a piece of crispy dosa and dip it into a chutney of your choice. The combination of crispy and soft and flavorful chutney is unbeatable. Then, there’s the sambhar dhal. Sambhar dhal has a rich deep red appearance, brimming with vegetables such as squash or eggplant, rich with the taste of tamarind, tomatoes, curry leaves and other spices. You can dip your dosa into it and wait for your tastebuds to explode or simply enjoy the dhal as a soup. That dhal alone can beat any cold into submission – so it’s highly recommended for both protein value and taste if you’re feeling under the weather!
After the ‘sada’ dosa, there is the traditional and popular ‘masala’ dosa. It’s basically the sada dosa, but with a delicious portion of spiced potatoes hidden inside. There are also other creative iterations such as Gunpowder Masala, Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and Ghee (clarified butter) Masala Dosa to name a few.
We visited a midtown/Upper East Side restaurant called ‘Adyar Ananda Bhavan’ on 59th and 1st last night. Dosas were huge and delicious. The service was a little on the slow side and not very personable though. Decor was ok and it was quite busy. I’m just glad we found a decent dosa place within 20 blocks of our apartment to satiate my cravings in my new town.
Don’t they look fab? The first image is of my daughter’s choice, a funnel cone plain dosa with masala potatoes on the side. Wish I’d taken an ‘after’ pic – every single piece of it was consumed with gusto! The second pic is of my dosa – the Gunpowder masala dosa was tasty and spicy and exactly what I was craving. Behind it was our appetizers of ‘Onion’ pakoras (fritters but with spices and herbs) which were pretty tasty too.
Again, if you’ve never tried dosa, look it up and give it a try. The variety in Indian cuisine reflects the diversity of its many cultures, and if you’ve only ever tried North Indian food (naan, tandoori chicken, butter chicken etc), you’ll be pleasantly surprised how different and distinct South Indian food is. Let me know how you feel about dosa in the Comments section :).