Being able to eat freshly prepared dosa – also spelled dosai, thosa, tosai and a number of other variations – is one of the best things about living in Singapore. Although not truly a Singaporean dish – It’s South Indian – Singapore’s population is roughly 10% Indian so there is abundant Indian food across the island. Before moving to Singapore, I had no idea what dosa was. Now I consider it my number one favorite breakfast food. Of course, I can only eat it about once a month or so because not only is it high in fat, I don’t make this myself and tend to go great distances to get what I consider to be the best dosa.
Let’s start with what dosa is: a thin crepe made from rice and lentils that is fermented before cooking. There is thin crispy dosa, called paper dosa, which tends to be served unfilled. And there is also a crisp yet fluffy dosa, which is often served filled. My favorite way to eat dosa is masala dosa, which is spread with a coconut chutney and then filled with masala potatoes. The spicy potato mixture sometimes contains additional vegetables, such as cauliflower and green beans. Masala dosa is typically served with chutney. Some places will give you one chutney. In my experience if only one is given, it is usually a coconut chutney. Others give a trio or more. Pickles, such as mango pickle, are also sometimes served with dosa while other times you will be served sambar, a kind of spicy lentil and vegetable soup, shown above in the white cup to the left.
I have toyed with the idea of trying to make dosa because I love it so much. If and when I move away from Singapore, I’m going to have to learn, and I mean all the components – the dosa batter, the masala potatoes (I’ve tried to make these a few times and I’d say I’m almost there), the chutneys, and the podi. Wait, what’s the podi, you ask? Podi is a spice mixture sometimes served with dosa, and sometimes it’s served in the dosa. I first learned about podi from a Singapore-Indian client of my husband’s, who, when he found out how much I enjoy dosa, told me that I must try my dosa with podi. It really increases the savoriness of the dosa, especially when the dosa is also cooked in ghee rather than oil.
While you can find dosa all over Singapore, I now favor the Podi Ghee Masala Dosa served at Murugan Idli, a South Indian chain with a branch in Singapore’s Little India, across from Mustafa’s Shopping Centre. When you sit down at Murugan Idli, they bring you the banana leaf, smeared with four chutneys. Then whatever else you order- dosa, idli, uthappam, etc.- is brought out as it is ready and placed on the banana leaf. Sambar is also served as a free flow side dish.
Everything we’ve tried at Murugan Idli has been delicious, but I’m always open to recommendations. Have you tried dosa before? If so, what kind and where?
This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is sights and food of Singapore.