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February 18, 2020 / catherinebwrites

3.INDIA-THE FIRST DHOSA

The buffet breakfast in our hotel had the usual, omlettes, croissants, juice and several steaming cauldrons of who-knows-what. Sir, who is much more adventurous with food than I am, sampled the cauldrons and declared them delicious. I stuck to conservative fare.

Then a waiter brought an intriguing dish to the next table where two Indian ladies were having breakfast. A hoop of crispy pancake with something inside and little dishes withsauces.

“What are they?” we asked.

He waxed lyrical.

“Dhosa. Dish from South India, delicious. You must try it . I will get for you.”

And off he shot.

He returned with finest, thinnest, most translucent pancakes you’ve ever seen. They were stuffed with lightly spiced onion and potato and had several dips of varying degrees of hotnesson the side plus a bowl of dhal. Yum, double yum, yum, yum yum.

We fell in love with the Dhosa. Our guide Book mentioned Hotel Saravana Bhavan. Remember that name if you’re in Delhi. The guide book gave it high praise. Here’s the address, 46, Janpath. It’s opposite the Tibetan Market.

When you rock up there will be a queue. But don’t worry. It’s huge inside and has a quick turnover. Give your name to the doorman and enjoy people watching till he calls you.

Inside the decor is shades of brown, the floor, the walls, the tables, even the staff uniforms. No interior designers were injured during the creation of this look. The tables are bare, the cultery basic. You may have to share a table but Indians love to chat, ask where you’re from, tell you what’s good to eat and drink, give cooking advice or tell you about the city.

The waiting staff is not surly exactly, more,

“Come on, tell me what you want and let’s get on with it.”

The menus are tatty and stained… but the food, Oh-My-God, the food, it’s delicious. And costs half nothing. You could eat yourself to a standstill for under a fiver. We returned another day and were not disappointed.

Toying with the notion of cooking Dhosa at home, I checked out recipes on line. Then my eye caught the words “fermentation process” and I thought , “Too complicated for me.”

Maybe there’s an Indian restaurant close to home that will do me a decent Dhosa. Let me know if you know one.

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