Having lived in Southern India for a good portion of my life, dosa is a cherished dish. Thin rice crepes served with a coconut based chutney and sambar, dosa is one of the most popular dishes in the entire nation and of late earned some good press in US courtesy the coverage on dosa by Saveur magazine and a Sri Lankan gent whose food cart has earned him a fair bit of fame! However, having had plenty of dosas since childhood I had sort of plateaued in terms of excitement towards dosas and was craving something new and unique. Thanks to a foodie friend of mine in Bangalore, I got just that! A different style, and taste which would make you question “Have I been actually eating dosas before?”
Bangalore is famous for both it’s legendary breakfast joints and hidden hole in the wall places which are absolute gems. On a pleasant overcast day, we began our breakfast walk in the neighborhood of Basvangaudi starting at “Sakkath Tindi” . They are known for their “Mulbagal Dosa”. Unlike most dosas I have had, these were smaller cooked in 8″ cast iron pans one at a time. The batter is added to the pan , followed by butter, an onion and chili based chutney and a spiced potato mash as shown below
The dosa is very unique in terms of texture, it is paper thin and crispy on the outside while being soft and mushy on the inside . This was a very unique flavor which I have not had the opportunity of trying before and indeed glad that I woke up early on a Saturday to do so!This place also serves beautiful , fluffy idlis( steamed rice cakes) with rather mediocre vada( fried lentil doughnut).
It must be noted the sambar served in Bangalore has a hint of sweetness when compared to the sambar made in rest of the country, making it quite unique and a personal favorite. While my experience so far was delightful, I was craving for more. We made a pit stop at another busy breakfast place on the same street called “Uphar Dakshini” . I ordered the “rava idli” here which was colorful and equally delicious. Rava idlis are made of semolina unlike traditional rice based idlis however the rest of the process remains the same
As you can see from the picture above, the idli is quite unique and unlike the one we had before. It had carrots, coriander leaves, mustard seeds and was served with sambar and green chutney. Being made of semolina, its not as fluffy as the traditional rice based idlis and is quite dense. So while it won’t melt in your mouth like the traditional idli, it packs a punch with its loaded flavors from the coriander leaves and mustard seeds!
The best was yet to come! We continued our journey to our final stop at “Shri Guru Kottureshwara Davanagere Benne Dosa point” on the same street. They serve a unique style of Dosa called the “Benne Dosa” which literally translates to “butter dosa”. The dosa is not only unique in taste but in appearance too as prominent large holes are observed on the surface of the dosa. This is due to the carbon dioxide released during the fermentation process owing to the addition of baking soda. The dosa is paper thin and crisp on the outside with a soft interior, not as mushy as the previous Mulbagal style Dosa but still softer than regular dosas you get everywhere else.
The dosas are cooked over a hot cast iron surface and yes you guessed it , the secret ingredient “butter” is added during the cooking in generous amounts. The butter oozes when you press the surface of the dosa, yet it’s not greasy at all. The chutney is unique since unlike the traditional chutney they do not temper the curry leaves, mustard seeds and other spices but simply boil it . It is a mix of simple green chilies, salt, and a pinch of cardamom, though I found it quite hot for my palate. The boiled mash potatoes were unique too unlike any other dosa I have had, no turmeric is used nor is it sauteed in oil, just boiled with some ginger , chilies and salt and by far the best dosa “masala” I have had!
Of course, no south Indian breakfast is complete without piping hot filter coffee hailing from the nearby hilly region of Coorg. Freshly ground and served in unique tiny glasses the aroma of the coffee fills the air and makes the entire experience even better! Of course for me these tiny cups do not suffice hence two are required! 🙂
This was a unique experience for me in my quest of a different dosa, a better dosa than what I have had over the years. I strongly encourage any travelers to Bangalore to take some time out of your busy schedule, brave the traffic and try out the local dosa flavors for an experience of a lifetime! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!