Eating Out

The Masala Dosa gang

October 10 - 16, 2018

Gulf Weekly Stan Szecowka
By Stan Szecowka

Gulf Weekly The Masala Dosa gang

DEDICATED fans of a delightful South Indian dish have formed a special club to celebrate their favourite food and organise get-togethers to sample the different offerings at restaurants and cafes across the kingdom.

The Masala Mosa Meet Up takes place each month and members of the passionate group have set up their own website and social media page to promote and share their love of the cuisine.

Masala Dosa has made it to the list of ‘10 foods to try before you die’, compiled by on-line newspaper The Huffington Post and TV channel CNN placed it as among the 50 world’s best foods on its travel list.

In Bahrain, foodie enthusiast Keyem Thomez, 56, a personnel officer at St Christopher’s School, said: “It’s my favourite dish and wherever I go I look out for Masala Dosa restaurants. When others are having a meaty lunch or dinner, I like to have a vegetarian Masala Dosa.

“One day I was expressing my love affair with Masala Dosa and a few of my friends expressed a similar desire for the food.”

Dosa is a type of pancake from the Indian subcontinent, made from a fermented batter. It is somewhat similar to a crepe in appearance. Its main ingredients are rice and black gram and it’s a typical part of the Southern Indian diet and popular all over the Indian subcontinent. Masala Dosa is a variation, which has its origins in Tuluva Mangalorean cuisine. It is made from rice, lentils, potato, methi and curry leaves, and served with chutneys and sambar.

The meet-up group was created by Keyem, Sushama Anilkumar and Neil Desai and the first breakfast date was staged in June.

Word of mouth soon spread with more than 20 rumbling tums regularly turning up for a feast and last month they met up at Madras Café in Umm al Hassam.

“If you’re a Masala Dosa fan I’d urge you to join our group and enjoy it with us at our social gatherings at various restaurants. Each outlet has a slightly different take on the dish and a different way of cooking it,” said Keyem.

“On the last Saturday of each month we join together for breakfast to dine on Masala Dosa in a spirit of friendship and energy. It’s also a great platform to meet new friends and anyone can join the group, there’s no admission price, membership, or annual maintenance fees, just a love of the dish!”

Whatever you do, never describe Masala Dosa as a junk food in front of its followers.

Masala Dosa prepared at home, they say, provides a high-quality filling meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “It’s particularly ideal as a healthy breakfast after a nice workout,” added Keyem.

According to the HealthifyMe calorie counter, one Masala Dosa can contain as many as 387 calories. However, people can cut down on the calories in a dosa by replacing rice batter with lentils like masoor dal and chana dal and, for the filling, use other vegetables like beans and carrots, instead of cramming the dosa up with potato.

At the Madras Café each portion costs a mere 500fils although prices can vary at each outlet, with members paying anything from 400fils to 800fils.

It goes down a treat with an Indian coffee savoured in traditional style by pouring between the cup and the saucer to mix the coffee, milk and sugar perfectly, as well as cooling it down. It beats using a spoon, the connoisseurs insist.

Father-of-two Keyem, from Munnar in the Indian state of Kerala, came to Bahrain in 1987 and lives with his family in Zinj. He’s a top toastmaster, certified yoga teacher and ‘laughter ambassador’ promoting the practice of laughter as a form of yoga exercise, and loves the way the Masala Mosa Meet Up gathering guarantees to put a smile on faces.

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