THE HUMBLE INDIAN ‘DOSA’

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Plain Dosa, Masala Dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa, Rava Dosa, Rava Masala Dosa, Onion Rava Dosa, Ragi Wheat Dosa, Oats Dosa, Set Dosa, Buttermilk Dosa, Ghee Roast Dosa, Neer Dosa -‘neer’ means water in Sanskrit, Paneer Dosa, Garlic Cheese Dosa, Palak Dosa, Mini Soya Dosa, Jaggery Dosa, Pesarattu Dosa -that’s Green Gram Dosa, Light White Dosa -that’s prepared with Rice and Coconut, Kadappa Karam Dosa, Benne Dose -popularly also known as Davanagere Benne Dose, Egg Dosa and Kari Dosa -a non-vegetarian culinary preparation—


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Let’s quickly know about Davanagere Benne Dose, ‘benne’ means butter in English— around 1928, a lady by the name Chennamma with her children shifted to Davanagere (7th largest city of the state Karnataka, India — Davanagere is also known as Bennenagari), here opposite to Savalagi Drama Theatre near Vasantha Talkies, she opened her small eatery and started serving Dose- her unique recipe of preparing Dose in Ragi batter and serving it with Chutney and Potato Palya got instant popularity because of its taste—later by the year 1938 her children started preparing Dose with Rice batter, Puffed Rice, Dal (lentils) and lots of butter — well, this brought more fame to their Dose and their eatery. Later, Chennamma’s sons- Shanthappa and Mahadevappa opened their own eateries — today, Shanthappa’s son Ganesh runs operations of Davanagere’s oldest Benne Dose eatery ‘Shanthappa Dose Hotel’, near Clock-Tower old city, and Mahadevappa’s sons- elder son Ravi looks after his own Benne Dose eatery ‘Ravi Benne Dose’, on Church Road; and younger son Vijji runs ‘Vijji Benne Dose’ eatery at Dental College Road. Dosai – Dosa, or Dosha is a thin crispy pancake made from rice-lentils’ fermented batter——served with Sambar, Chutney, Idli Podi or Milagaipodi in Tamil.

Dosa -a Southern Indian originated delicacy has two theories of its origin- according to the first one, along with present day rice based South Indian dishes like Idli, Appam, Puttu or Pittu, Dosai or Dosa has its references in the ancient Tamil Sangam literature, and believe that Dosai or Dosa is originally from ancient Tamilakam region (the ancient Chola Nadu region of Tamilakam is popularly referred as the rice bowl) ——gradually, this rice-based culinary culture spread across the southern region—the then Tamilakam encompasses current day’s Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, and Southern parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. K. T. Acharya (6th October 1923 – 5th September 2002) an oil-chemist, food scientist, nutritionist and food historian also mentioned that according to Sangam Literature, the preparations of Dosai or Dosa as cultural cuisine is dated back to 1st Century AD in ancient Tamilakam. As per second theory- according to Parameswaran Thankappan Nair or P. Thankappan Nair -independent researcher, historian and author- Dosai or Dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka.

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The Tamil Dosai are softer and little thicker—the crispier thin Dosai are from present day Karnataka. Also Dosai – Dosa or Dosaka culinary recipes can also be found in 12th Century Sanskrit encyclopaedia work- ‘Manasollasa’, or ‘Abhilashitartha Chintamani’ of Someshvara III (the Western Chalukya king also known as Kalyani Chalukya- the empire ruled most of ancient Western Deccan and Southern Indian region) -the encyclopaedia covers: architecture, astronomy, astrology, ethics, economy, food, governance, horticulture, medicine, music, painting, perfume, poetry, polity, rhetoric, sports, veterinary—in fact this encyclopaedic work is a great source of valuable information on sociology-culture of 11th- and 12th- Century India.

In 1930, Udupi restaurants arrived in Mumbai- Dosa and other South Indian delicacies speedily grabbed the domain—— then, post India’s Independence the Madras Hotel in Connaught Place, Delhi established its landmark and then onwards South Indian cuisine gradually started growing in popularity in Northern Indian states. The Indian Dosai or Dosa is a part of international cuisine, well based in: India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, and now spread across the world——one of the ancient Indian culinary art of making Dosai or Dosa is passionately explored by world’s renowned chefs and culinary art masters — the history of Dosai or Dosa or Dose is truly noteworthy, its leisurely preparation is as relishing as its taste- and all these make this Indian delicacy so humble that no one will resist to have it on a platter.


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