A strange dish.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Really, it oughtnâ€™t to be allowed, to make dosa like that.
The South Indian staple is a crepelike pancake of fermented lentil-rice flour batter stuffed with mustard seed-flecked potato mush. Accompanied with mild coconut chutney and fiery sambhar curry, masala dosa should be crisp, brittle and thin.
What if the same potato mush is filled inside an omelet, with sambhar and coconut chutney as side dishes?
In the South Indian CafÃ©, an open-air eatery in the North Campus of Delhi University, this fabrication is called egg dosa (Rs 40). In successful instances of fusion cuisine experiments, flavours from different schools of cooking unite to give something new and delicious. But in egg dosa, egg and sambhar, or egg and potato, remain as far apart as Kiplingâ€™s East and West.
Dosa is appreciated for its shattering crispness, but egg dosa is soft and fluffy. If you have a happy disposition, the dish, at best, may tickle your taste buds.
Else, egg dosa makes you feel so weird it becomes a memorable experience, perhaps to be enjoyed only in this cafÃ©, one of the loveliest and most relaxing places in North Campus. Tables are laid under trees. Cats lie under the furniture. Diners mostly consist of graduate and post-graduate students discussing movies, lecturers and cricket. Many come in gangs. Those who enter in pairs of two look so involved with each other they could only be items. A few arrive alone carrying novels and notepads.
The place seems to be especially popular with the areaâ€™s Tamils. I have seen people reading Tamil-language newspapers. The cafÃ©â€™s Tamil owner assures me that everyone eats egg dosa in Chennai.
End the meal by tending your shocked palate to the conventional comforts of the cafÃ©â€™s South Indian filter coffee (Rs 7). Served in the traditional steel tumbler and davara, it tastes like any scalding, frothy sweet-bitter Chennai-style kapee. The brew calms the restless feelings stirred by egg dosa.
Where South Indian CafÃ©, P.G. Men Hostel, Delhi University Nearest Metro Station Vishwavidyalaya (take a rickshaw from there) Time 9.30 am to 9.30 pm
Spot the stuffing
We are loving it
Spot the cat
Eyeing my egg dosa
Dosa, not omelet