It's never easy when your loyalties are torn between two cities, especially the ones that share a love-hate relationship. I always struggle to take sides in any Chennai vs Bengaluru face-off. There are some contests like Chennai's edge with its never ending beaches or Bengaluru's sublime weather through much of the year. Some CSK fans might add the IPL rivalry to that list but that's an argument that is never likely to end. Just like the debate around which city does Masala Dosa better. This is the point I wear my Bengaluru hat, I'm partial to the Bengaluru Masala dose over Chennai's masala dosai.
It could be my Malleshwaram connection. This is one of the few slivers of Bangalore that hasn't completely changed, where the city's old-timers can still find comfortingly familiar sights and smells that help them jog down memory lane. It's here that I enjoyed crispy Masala doses for Sunday breakfast as a child - my aunt's dose and chutney are legendary in her circle. This is also the area where emblematic establishments like CTR Shri Sagar (originally established as Central Tiffin Room) continue to charm a whole new generation of gourmands with their masala dose.
(Also Read: 5 Most Popular Veg Restaurants in Bangalore)
Not far from Malleshwaram and close to the Bangalore Golf Club is ITC Windsor. Raj Pavilion, the hotel's all-day diner offers an extensive selection of local cuisine. And they get two things that most Bangaloreans very seriously - filter coffee and masala dose, dead right. Just a week ago I enjoyed the masala dose here (see recipe below).
Bengaluru bene (butter) masala looks almost ironed to perfection.
The signature Bengaluru bene (butter) masala boasts of a golden lustre, is thick and crisp. It's almost ironed to perfection and served with a filling of mildly flavoured mashed potato (locally known as potato palya) and usually accompanied with a coconut chutney. The classic Chennai
masala dosai is longer and rolled to perfection but is not as thick and crisp. You could order the ghee roast in Chennai that's almost rolled up like a conical dome; its thin and crisper than a cracker. Most restaurants in Chennai would serve the Masala dosai with sambar and more than one chutney.
(Also Read: Readers' Choice: 20 Best Dosa Places In India That You Voted For)
Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar has a cramped dining area juggling stacks of masala doses.
Iconic Bengaluru establishments like MTR 1924 (branches across the city) and Vidyarthi Bhavan in Gandhi Bazaar where acrobatic waitstaff tiptoe through the cramped dining area juggling stacks of masala doses, are popular weekend breakfast hangouts. It's best if you can go to these dose hotspots super early to beat the weekend crowds. You can watch the blob of bene melt over your bisi (Kannada for hot) dose before you sink your teeth into it. Of course, you could try a healthier version at home minus the ghee and still aim for a crispy dosa with this recipe:
Bengaluru's Masala Dosa Recipe | How To Make Bengaluru's Masala Dose
(Recipe Courtesy - Raj Pavilion, IT Windsor, Bengaluru)
Bengaluru's Masala Dosa at Raj Pavilion
For the Dosa:
- Urad dal, washed: 500 gm
- Raw rice 2.1 kg
- Idli rice 840 gm
- Channa dal 100 gm
- Poha 100 gm
- Fenugreek seeds 10 gm
- Salt (to taste)
- Sugar 50 gm
- Refined oil 45 ml
1. Soak the rice and the dal in water for at least 2 hours.
2. Now strain the water and grind the rice and dal into smooth paste along with fenugreek seeds with required water. Rest it overnight for fermentation.
3. Add salt and sugar to the batter one hour before preparing dosa
4. Pour the batter on a hot plate, cook it with oil (or ghee)
5. Serve hot
For the filling (Palya)
- Potatoes 1.5 kg
- Salt 10 gm
- Oil 150 ml
- Split Bengal gram 15 gm
- Urad lentil, washed 25 gm
- Mustard seeds 8 gms
- Curry leaves 15 gm
- Red (Bydagi) chili 15 gm
- Green chili, slit 35 gm
- Ginger julienne 75 gm
- Onion, slice 400 gm
- Turmeric 7 gm
- Fresh coriander 15 gm
1. Boil the Potatoes with salt, peel it and keep aside
2. In a hot pan of oil add mustard and let it splutter. Roast the channa dal, chillies. curry leaves and urad dal in the same oil.
3. Add the sliced ginger, green chillies and sliced onion to the tempering. Let the onion turn translucent.
4. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder, sauté well.
5. Mash the potatoes and mix well to the tempering.
6. Check for seasoning and serve.