My Year Through Dosa

Kyle Bertram - India


May 27, 2017

Dosas were like my favorite food ever in India. In the most general sense dosa is a fermented lentil and rice crepe, but really it is so much more than that. This crepe would most often. served with warm spiced potatoes inside and coconut chutney and sambar, a spiced vegetable broth/soup, on the side.
Dosas define my journey in India. It was the first Indian food I had, on a late night after 36 hours of traveling and plane food. I was so hungry I could have eaten anything, yet I didn’t. GCY staff took us to a rest stop restaurant and ordered us all dosas. I  didn’t believe that it was gluten free, it was too crunchy and airy, to be so, yet it was. And it was okay, I liked it, but I wasn’t sure if that was sleep deprivation or the food itself.
After that first night I didn’t have dosa again for almost a month. 
Now I found my self walking along MG road on a Friday, about two hours before I was going to meet my team leader, Josh, for a coaching session. No one from my Host family was home, so I headed into town early to try and find something to eat.  I walked all along the market area looking for something to eat, and everything I seemed to find had gluten in it. Looking back now, there were definitely places I could have eaten at, I just didn’t know what type of food I could order and would be gluten free. I messaged Josh and he told me that there was a South Indian restaurant, Sneha’s, down the street and I should be able to find something there. I find the restaurant, and to my surprise there was a wait, and the place had Dosas. So I had my second Dosa of my year, a Cheese Masala Dosa(lentil and rice crepe with spiced potatoes and cheese).
Over the next two months, I found myself at Sneha’s about once a week just to have their amazing cheese masala dosa(I never tried anything else).
By now it was mid-December, and I was exploring more and more foods like chaat , pakora and lassi. Dosa remained my favorite, yet I found myself growing tired of Sneha’s. I had tried a few other places and learned that Sneha’s was okay, but nothing special. So one day after Hindi class I decided to try out a new restaurant for dosas. Vaishali‘s. After a long bike ride on a hot day I arrived and this place was twice the size of Sneha’s and twice as popular. I finally got a seat, and got to look at the menu. There was a cheese masala dosa, but there were also Vaishali’s Special Dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa(w/ or w/out cheese), plus two or three other versions. I decided to try something new, and I went for the Mysore Cheese Masala Dosa. IT WAS HEAVEN. After I finished the dosa, I literally ate the rest of the chutney with a spoon, it was that good.
Vaishali’s remained my go to dosa place for the rest of my year, and I branched out to try some of the idli and wada (dosa batter seemed as cakes, and fried like donuts respectively). The eey were good , but nothing compared to the dosa.
So after coming back to the United States, the one food I had to have was dosa. So I went to Little India, searched the store for urad dal (a specific type of lentil), went home and started cooking. After many failed attempts and some Jugaad(Hindi word roughly translated to finding any possible solution), I got to eat a dosa. It couldn’t compare to Vaishali’s, but at least I got a little part of my new home with friends and family back at my first home.

   

Kyle Bertram