Dosa Point Gets the Point

Dosa. A classic fermented South Indian dish, you could call it the naan of the South. It’s a common man dish, one accessible to everybody, but this small restaurant on the outskirts of Menlo Park takes it to another level. Similar to Injera in Ethiopian cuisine, dosa acts as a base for all the delicious flavors of Indian cuisine. To give you a general sense of what it is, think of it as a thin paper-like rice pancake normally served with sambar, and coconut chutney, but at Dosa Point they don’t do normal, in fact it’s quite the opposite. 

The signature dish at Dosa Point is a sort of culinary joining of the hands between North and South of India, the Chicken Tikka Masala Dosa. As many of you might know, Chicken Tikka Masala is a traditional northern Indian dish popularized worldwide by the British. Chicken Tikka is a slightly sweet, creamy and rich sauce with a tender chicken flavored with earthy spices. The base for the sauce is a classic indian base, with sauteed onions and tomatoes that develop into this beautiful paste of strong umami and a hint of sweetness. The chicken thighs are also roasted to perfection in this dish. The thighs of chicken are always more fatty and crisp up nicely relative to chicken breasts, giving the dish some contrast in texture. Finally, the flavor in the chicken that came from the marinade was absolutely perfect. I cannot say what spice bland Dosa Point used, but the common spices are coriander, kashmiri chili pepper, cumin seeds, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, and to give it that deep golden color, turmeric. In the end, everything comes together, the soft dosa with crispy edges, the sweet yet umami tikka masala, and the tender well spiced chicken. 

My favorite dish is not their classic, but their more innovative and unorthodox Curry dosa. Stuffed inside their traditional dosa is a mixture of fatty tender lamb, crispy spring vegetables and a great spice max. The lamb cut on this dosa was perfect. It was thinly sliced like a cumin lamb, but with bold flavors of cumin, coriander and what I could only imagine was a secret spice blend they used. When cutting open the dosa and ripping it apart with your hands, the experience was effortless, unlike what you would expect with lamb. To contrast the savory and fat, the spring vegetables really popped with their bite of freshness and delectable crunch that rounded out the dish, and made for a whole, satisfying experience with every bite. 

Sides: With every dish comes the South Indian staples of chutney and sambar. The main chutneys served are the classic coconut chutney (thengai chutney), and tomato onion chutney (thakkali vengayam). The coconut chutney is everybody’s favorite because it is rich and creamy, with natural sweetness from the coconut. It acts as a nice coolant for the special dishes while adding a nice creamy taste and smooth texture. If you do plan to make coconut chutney at home, I’ve added an easy to make chutney recipe with my secret ingredient being almonds. The other chutney is a nice contrast to the coconut chutney. The combination of tomato and onion is one you will see a lot in Indian cooking, but even when they are served as a standalone dish, they really shine. The umami flavor of the tomatoes and the hint of sweetness from the caramelized onions makes this a well-rounded chutney, that really could be used in any cuisine. Both the

Chutney Recipe:

se chutneys also feature curry leaves and mustard seeds to enhance the flavor. My favorite out of all the sides is sambar. A traditional lentil soup with a variety of lentils and vegetables, you can find sambar as an accompaniment to idli, dosa, and rice. The incredible depth of this dish makes it really stand out. The species give it a bold savory flavor that compliments the blander lentils, and everything coats the vegetables to make this dish a perfect side for a cold winter evening. Think of it like a minestrone with lentils, and quite a bit more spices like turmeric and chili powder. Sambar also uses a blend of spices called sambar podi. Sambar podi is made by toasting three types of dal, red chilies, turmeric, cumin and methi seeds to give sambar its iconic taste. 

  • Ingredients:
    • 5 Curry Leaves
    • 1/2 cup of fresh coconut
    • 2 green chillies
    • 12-15 almonds
    • 2 tablespoons of roasted/popped channa dal (you can skip this ingredient if you don’t have it)
    • 1 tablespoon of tamarind (can be substituted with 1/2 teaspoon of tamarind paste)
  • Steps
    • Pour 1/3 cup of water into the blender
    • Blend all ingredients together until mixture becomes creamy and paste like
    • Pour a teaspoon of oil in a separate pan, and add a half a teaspoon of mustard seeds
      • Allow the seeds to pop and take them off the stove
      • Add the oil and seeds on top of the chutney

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