I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked but I did get to try a few new local things that I can share.
When it’s time for a short break at work the line forms at the chai stand serving up dixie-cup sized shots of the local spiced tea. Small groups sipping for a 5-15 minutes, and then it’s back to the job. This was very popular. The line seemed to just huddle in mass at the counter and a chosen representative (I’m unclear on the process) orders up a bunch of shots for the respective group of friends. There are a variety of things on the menu but everyone seems to be getting the same thing. Then its off for a brief social moment.
My local colleague introduced me to his favorite breakfast food, the ubiquitous dosa. It’s a crispy crepe of sorts made with fermented rice batter available in different varieties. In Bengaluru it’s typically dosa masala (that’s what you get when you order “dosa”) which comes stuffed with spiced potatoes and a couple chutneys and a bowl of sambar on the side for dipping (like a thick vegetable stew). I haven’t quite mastered the eating technique but I think it goes something like, tear off of a bit of the dosa with your fingers, grab a little potato, dab on a bit of each chutney, dip in the sambar, enjoy. The ratio of each of the ingredients is highly personal. But regardless of the proportions it’s definitely yummy.
I’ve had fancier dosa than the example below but it’s the one I took pictures of.
Sev puri is a snack associated with street food but can be found in restaurants. It originated in Mumbai but can be found all over. It’s kind of like an Indian nachos. You start with small round chips (puri) and add a variety of toppings to taste. In my case a variety of bean sprouts, chutneys, fresh vegetables, puffed grains, and finally topped with sev, a small crunchy noodle made out of chickpea flower paste. It’s crunchy and can be endlessly adjusted to suit your taste.
I wanted to add this section to say that I am totally lost when it comes to Indian condiments. There are more varieties of things to add and customize your dish that I honestly have no idea where to start. Just take a look at this array of spices available at the Sheraton buffet. To that add an amazing array of pickles and picklely type things. Some sweat, some sour, some incendiary. Then you have chutneys. And then a few stations I didn’t really know what to call them. I wouldn’t mind having a deep dive on Indian condiments with a knowledgeable eater, experimentation isn’t getting me anywhere.