Let me paint you a picture. It is a clear and sunny Saturday morning in Bengaluru. The glistening sun rays peep through the curtains and fall on your cheeks. Imagine yourself lying half-awake in your bed, as you try to remember what you have to do today. As the birds chirp on the trees outside you waddle and drag your half lifeless body to the toilet to freshen up. You brush your teeth and leave the toilet. You are still not quite awake. As you make your way back to your bed for that "only 5-minute nap", you smell one of the greatest delicacies to grace the Indian subcontinent being cooked to perfection in your kitchen. All of a sudden your body is in 'A1' condition and you are ballooned with energy.
The masala dosa is one of the most significant contributions of the southern half of India to not only national but also international food culture. The origins of this dish have sparked debate among numerous food enthusiasts across southern India. In his book The Story of our Food, T.K Acharya has insisted that Dosa (or Dosai) originated in the Tamilian state by referencing Sangam Literature. However, contrary to this belief, some food historians like P.Thankappan Nair believed that it originated in Udupi town that is in present-day Karnataka. Some also believe that dosa originated when a frustrated cook accidentally added water to the batter for the king's(Chola king Manumasiddhi( 1248 AD-1263 AD)) morning idlis. The king, although surprised at first about the change in breakfast, went on to like the dish.
Originally, the dish was made with much simpler and took quite a lot of time. It was made with regular thin, salted rice batter. As generation after generation passed through the portals of this world, the dosa grew softer, crispier and even silkier. The fresh singed rice-and urad dal-based dosa that the world loves today was promoted by the Udupi cafés that started in Mysuru and afterward headed out to Delhi during the 1930s. It was a flowery path ahead from there on!
One prime example of a restaurant that almost completely operates by selling dosas and its varieties is Bengaluru's very own Om Sai Skanda dosa camp. Established about 15 years back, it has been serving happy customers ever since. Hundreds of customers hoard outside the 10' X 14' eatery every day. The most surprising fact about this eatery is that all the items are priced below Rs. 40. Yet, the low prices have never compromised the taste of the food prepared here. It is particularly busy on Thursdays because of the puja in the nearby Sai Baba temple.
India is one of the most diversified nations in terms of its food culture and heritage. The dosa today has not only been refined but also modified by restaurants all over the world. There is literally a Chinese Dosa which has the stuffing as noodles and Manchurian! Although I find this extremely displeasing to my food palate(you should too, if not you are VERY weird), the recipe is popular in many South Indian joints. I think it is safe to say that dosas are almost like a lifeline for the people of Southern India. It is the true representation of an All-time classic/favourite.
PS: To anyone who calls it a "South Indian pancake", Kindly GET HELP.
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