Let me tell you, slinging a dosa’s no doss. And I speak from humiliating first-hand experience. So the tale of a British couple mastering the art, alongside the art of purveying one of India’s best-loved street foods to the united ranks of our Kingdom, is a feat most worth featuring. Always Asian-inspired but often kooky with their creative cooking, a lack of slavish constraint to the classics keeps Dosa Deli’s offerings interesting – and keeps customers coming back for more.
Never mind riding the turntables – Amy and Christian can step up to three hotplates a-piece, and keep them all spinning away merrily to yield perfectly rolled, sumptuously stuffed specimens. All whilst scarcely breaking a sweat. And for that, I salute them. Especially following my own pathetic attempts at the Alchemy festival’s Flavours of India market, which sees the bin at my feet rapidly fill with pitiful, pitted pieces – to use the trendy vernacular, dosa ‘epic fails’.
The Deli marked a marked career change for the dosa-wallas. Christian’s dangerously-decibelled patter is far more suited to their food-market market than the confines of his old office; whilst Amy’s sales pitch is slightly gentler, broadcast at a rather lower volume, her customer communications skills honed through years spent working in events management. The pair’s travels in India sparked appreciation for healthy, tasty, affordable fare – in a nutshell, all the epithets befitting a decent dosa.
Although you’d need serious skills to stuff a dosa in that nutshell. Anything but pocket-size, the pancakes can span multiple feet in diameter, and be sculpted into stunning shapes. I don’t doubt both Amy and Christian would be capable of churning out these dosa behemoths, their own versions come in far more manageable proportions, plump-bellied with Singapore-style veggies, perhaps, or a Goan masala-d paneer (if you’re especially lucky, Amy’s own homemade stuff).
These filling fillings may feature potatoes; veggies; cheese; eggs; nuts; herbs… but never meat. Neither Amy nor Christian are vegetarian, but like an increasing number of us, merely prefer to keep their meat consumption down – as much for the healthy benefits as the ethical implications. And, talking ethics, the Deli does its bit, donating to Indian charities, sourcing sustainable produce, and aiming to employ local folk when they need spare hands.
Hopefully, the hands that have shot up to offer assistance for Dosa Deli’s packed summer schedule are slightly more nimble-fingered than my own shaky shovels. With appearances lined up at the Sundance Film Festival, Hurlingham Polo, and the Samsung World Rowing Championships alongside their regular rolling programme of markets and food fairs, they’ll need all hands on deck. I hear those rowing chaps can’t half put it away. Better get mixing that batter in bulk.
- For my mega-guide on dosa, click here
- For more on a restaurant that serves over 100 kinds of dosa in London, click here
- For more information on where to find Dosa Deli, click here
- Follow @DosaDeli on Twitter