After reading fmed’s post on the Wise Monkeys blog regarding South Indian vegetarian cuisine and Madras Dosa House, I was intrigued and wanted to check it out. I purposely saved a slot in my eating schedule when I was in Vancouver last month so I could have lunch at Madras Dosa House. I’d never had South Indian vegetarian cuisine before so I didn’t really know what to order or what to expect. The pictures from fmed’s post looked interesting so I attempted to order those very items.
Since it was only my friend C and I, we had limited belly space and could only order a few items. I wanted to try the Medhu Vada – #1 ($4.35 for 3 pieces of vada and 2 chutneys). The Medhu Vada is deep-fried lentil donut. A regular order of the Medhu Vada comes with 3 pieces but I really only wanted one piece to try so I asked the owner, who was also our server, whether it was possible to get just one of the vada as a side order. I also wanted to try the Idly – #8 ($4.45 for 3 pieces of idly with sambar & chutney). The Idly is actually a steamed rice and lentil cake. Again, I asked if I could just get one of the idly as a side order. The owner was very generous and ended up giving me a complimentary vada and idly to try. They were served with a bowl of lentil vegetable soup (sambar) and 2 chutneys – a coconut green chili chutney and a chili coriander chutney. The lentil soup was delicious. Normally, I’m not a fan of lentils but I really liked their version of lentil vegetable soup. I found the vada (deep-fried lentil donut) to be a little on the dense side. I really liked the texture of the idly (steamed rice and lentil cake) as it was soft and fluffy.
My friend C wanted to try the Butter Chicken – #42 ($11.95). It consisted of boneless pieces of chicken cooked in butter, coriander, and tomato. The Butter Chicken was served with rice, a papadam, and some salad. Though the Butter Chicken is not their speciality, my friend C enjoyed it nonetheless.
I had the Onion Rava Dosa – #11 ($8.00). The Onion Rava Dosa was a thin crepe made with rice, lentils, cream of wheat, and onions. I purposely ordered the plain version as I didn’t want any filling to make the crepe soggy. I wanted to enjoy the crispiness of the crepe on its own. The Onion Rava Dosa was served again with a bowl of lentil soup (sambar) and the same two chutneys as the vada and idly earlier. This Onion Rava Dosa was delicious and not like anything that I’ve had before. This paper-thin crispy crepe had an intriguing visual appeal with its intricate lattice-like structure and semitranslucent windows. The interspersed shredded onion provided a textural and flavour contrast to the crispy dosa. To my surprise, the Onion Rava Dosa was actually quite filling even though it didn’t seem like it was a lot of food.
For me, this was a great introduction to South Indian vegetarian cuisine. Now that I have an idea of what to order, when I’m back in Calgary I’m going to be on the look out for places specializing in South Indian cuisine. Hopefully I’ll find a place that make Onion Rava Dosa as tasty as this one from Madras Dosa House.
Madras Dosa House
5656 Fraser St