Monday, August 6, 2007

Sada Dosa

If you are a Puneite and not on a first name basis with the waiters at Vaishali, it is safe to say that you're not a cool as you think you are. Hotel Vaishali is the crowning jewel of Fergusson College Rd (and for many years the Sun around which my life revolved). Sure there are many important landmarks on that road, like Fergie itself, or maybe the Ranade institute, but nothing says FC Road like Vaishali. The restaurant where our fathers, and grandfathers grew old, no doubt leering at young unsuspecting girls just as their sons and grandsons would. Where many a relationship started and ended. Deals worth lacs of Rupees are initiated and finalized. Vaishali is not just a restaurant. For generations, it has been a way of life. Vaishali is nothing without it's permanent fixtures. The people who are always there no matter what time of day or night. If you've been a Vaishali regular in the past 20 years and are not close friends with one Mr.Uday Sanas, you really haven't embraced the spirit of Vaishali. Of course, besides its religious followers Vaishali boasts the best tasting South Indian menu in the city. There's not a single item on the menu that's not simply amazing. Whether it is the Idli, the SPDP or just something as simple as the lemonade. And nobody makes dosa in Pune like Vaishali and their Sheetal Special sada remains by far one of my most favourite meals. I often wondered what made a meal at Vaishali so special. Was it the just the food? Or that it felt so much like home? Or the fact that you knew almost everyone on every other table? Or that when you were at Vaishali, you were never without friends (even if you were eating alone)? My trip to the motherland is coming up and Vaishali is one of the thing I am looking forward to most. Besides mommy dearest, of course.

3 cups rice
1 cup Urad Dal
1/2 tsp Meethi seeds
1/2 tsp Salt to taste

Soak the rice and meethi seeds and urad dal in water overnight
Coarse grind rice and meethi seeds and urad dal separately
Mix in a container and add salt
Keep aside for a couple of hours so that it begins to ferment

To make the dosa, take a non stick pan and spread the batter thin as you would a crepe
Drizzle a couple of drops of oil or one squirt of oil spray
Dosa is done when the edges loosen by themselves and the dosa is a crisp golden colour.
Serve with green chutney