Sri Durga is a great local restaurant just off the main road in Gokulam. Specialty of the house: south Indian cuisine. Sara and I decided that for purposes of research, we should try every item on the Sri Durga menu. This will take us many lunches, but we are committed to this project. The idea was hatched over masala dosas at Sri Durga as we contemplated the menu on the wall and tried to figure out what everything is. What better way to know than to try every single item?
Since the project was initiated, we’ve have two lunches. Lunch number 1 was set dosas (Sara) and curd rice (Karen). Also some bajji, which we didn’t really know we’d ordered. Apparently asking what something is is equivalent to ordering it. At that point, we didn’t realize we were doing formal research, so there is no documentation of that lunch.
Today’s lunch was kali dosas (Sara) and bisibele bath (Karen). Big metal cups of masala chai are also included in our research.
Kali dosa is a kind of set dosa. Set dosa is a set (2 or 3) of soft and thick spongy dosas that are served with small portions of coconut chutney and sagu (vegetable stew). Dosas are crepes made from fermented ground rice flour and lentils. They can be very thin and crispy or thicker and spongy. Kali dosas are made with fermented ground rice and black lentils (urad dal).
The white stuff is coconut chutney, spicy hot with ginger, and the other stuff is potato and vegetables in a spicy stew.
Bisibele bath translates to “hot lentil rice.“ The traditional preparation of this dish is quite elaborate and involves the use of spicy masala, toor dal (a type of lentil) and vegetables. Spices like nutmeg and asafetida, curry leaves and tamarind pulp contribute to the unique taste of this dish.
On the top of the bath you can see little round crunchy spicy things. And the white stuff is the ubiquitous and completely addicting coconut chutney. Because when you have a spicy rice dish sprinkled with spicy crunchy bits, what do you need to make it perfect? Spicy hot chutney!
How good is this stuff? Two out of two researchers agree: it’s pretty awesome.