The Story of Masala Dosa
What a year 2014 has been! A year of several milestones, many lessons and most of all so many wonderful memories to cherish!
While reminiscing the year as it comes to an end...I realized that I have not written about my absolute favorite street food (or absolute favorite food for that matter) all of this year! Nor had I tried pairing it with some delicious wine! How can this be!?
It just felt wrong to end such an eventful year without this. So, even with an extremely tight time crunch at my corporate job (what's new) and a gazillion other things I am juggling, with Indian Paradox and otherwise, I decided to make, pair, relish and write about this food that I absolutely die for!
Okay enough with the mystery, the topic of this blog is Masala Dosa :)
This is the one food that I can devour for breakfast, lunch AND dinner, or food that just comforts me or food that has satiated my hunger when I returned from school in Chennai....I can keep going.
So many memories are intertwined with the aroma of the ghee or oil that welcomed me as I came home after so many long days with a growling stomach....and the sound of dosa batter when it comes in contact with the hot 'dosa kal' (the case iron skillet used to make delicious dosas - beats any non stick skillet hands down!) is just the sound of sheer bliss :)
All these thoughts got me to start making the masala (stuffing) first. This masala used as filling inside a dosa (think like a crepe filling) deserves a special mention. It is made up of potatoes, onions, Indian green chillies and curry leaves blended together with a garnish of mustard seeds, spices like asafoetida and etc. As the ingredients suggests, it is a very earthy filling with a comforting goodness, that weakens my knees every time I take a mouthful of it.
And so I finish the masala and moved on to making the coconut chutney to douse the masala dosa in to.
Finally I started piling up the hot dosas.
The whole place smelled like my home in Chennai...which got me in to a very good mood....
The wine pairing with Masala Dosa
When I decided to shop for some vino to go with the masala dosa, I soon realized that this was a daunting task. My conundrum was, to be able to pick a wine that will marry the earthiness of the masala and yet stand up to the combination of the spices and the lentils - yet not overpower the food!
After a lot of thought and talking to the wine associate at my favorite wine shop in the peninsula, I went home with a Vermentino from Maremma (coastal) Tuscany. The rationale behind this choice was that, Vermentinos usually have a fine marriage of acidity and slight mineral flavors that brings about a freshness to every sip - also they have sufficient viscosity that will ensure the wine does not end up seeming flat when paired with food - especially Indian food like Masala dosa with the heaviness of the potatoes, lentils in the dosa batter and flavors from the spices.
On the nose the aroma of green apples, melons and a slight sweet smell of honey was prevalent. The minute I sipped the wine, I could tell this was a very expressive wine, with even hints of Italian spice flavors (rosemary?).
Finally, it was the moment of truth! I placed my masala dosa + chutney plate on the table with the glass of Vermentino.
I dipped the masala dosa generously in to the thick coconut chutney and savored it as slowly as I could. Then duly followed that with a sip of Vermentino. This wine definitely did it for the Masala Dosa. The ginger and spices in the masala were nicely embraced by the 'green' fruit flavors in the wine along with a spring like freshness.
In the middle of all this it dawned on me... here I was enjoying a hot masala dosa with a glass of crispy Italian white wine on a blissful overcast San Franciscan December evening. If this is not a moment to cherish, I do not know what is?
Cheers to simple blessings like these and wishes for several more of these to come in the next year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy 2015!!