It’s a crowded world full of spiced and simmering lentils, large wraps and – sometimes chunky - chutneys. I dare you not to drool when you enter a dosa parlour (which is what I’m calling it) in India. The great moves – from North to South, East to West, and a slew of other directions - has meant a mutation of flavours that suits each taste bud it encounters. And a travel abroad has not bruised the chomping experience either.
When last week we headed out to suss out Dubai’s versions of the old favourite, it seemed like mission impossible; around each bend of brick lay another, hospitable plate with the lentil rice mix that had been fermented and fluffed on a large iron board that doubled up as cooker.
While the experience may seem muffled to the aficionados – so many varieties lie in wait for the experimental eater – we’ve listed a few that we are already prepping to return for.
One could argue that it’s difficult to wreck a simple potato masala dosa. And that one would be wrong. It’s a balancing act between potatoes, curry leaves, onions and a sprinkling of lentils, and a little more of one or a little less of the other can turn the happy moment into a very unhappy one. At Karandi’s, in Karama, fortunately, the balance is maintained and a hot spicy tomato-based chutney only enhances the flavour. Follow our lead and order a filter coffee for the complete experience. Total damage to the wallet: Dh11.
Shri Krishna Bhavan, Karama
Next up, in Karama again, we headed to Shri Krishna Bhavan. If you are looking for more varieties than you can possibly sample in one sitting – this really is the place to go. The Gongura Dosa, which is layered with a paste made with gongura leaves and red chili, is a tart treat. If you like to smack your lips to a tangy flavor, this Dh13 dosa has you covered. Another thing we really loved was the Open Dosa (Dh16), which is a deconstructed take on the classic and with a dab of butter.
Mami's Illam, Discovery Gardens
Head over to the other side of town and to a small place called Mami's Illam in Discovery Gardens and get ready for the Mami special (Dh12). A ‘house-only’ paste with tomato, onion and other things nice – the secret lies in the undisclosed ingredients – is slathered generously onto the fermented dosa paste. The result is a sandwich of sorts - and a lovely breakfast opportunity.
Hari Prasad Pure Veg Restaurant
A few doors down from Mami’s is Hari Prasad Pure Veg Restaurant, which is known for its neer – rice paste and lots and lots of coconut – variety. This is –literally- a soft option. I much prefer the masala dosa, with a giant dollop of coconut chutney (Dh13).
Bikanervala, in JLT
Another masala dosa experience is available at Bikanervala, in JLT, for Dh 14. The crispness of the offering is legend; the taste is classic. But to up your game here, you need a partner in crime who will eat another Bikaner-favourite, aloo-puri. Dip your dosa into the chutney that comes with the Punjabi favourite and your taste-buds will be thanking you all day long.
Let the dosa journey continue – are there any places that you’d like us to try? Write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tag us on your dosa adventures on Instagram.