Cheese, chicken, shrimp and gobi, dosa gets a delicious makeover at the dosa festival at Café Canopy

KOCHI: After a brief spell where puttu ruled the roost at eateries in the city, dosas and idlis have returned to mount a challenge. The venue is Café Canopy at Hotel Abad Plaza, and the occasion is their long running dosa festival.

Optimistically named ‘Sizzle in the Drizzle’ even as the monsoon showers stubbornly put off their appearance, the festival is on throughout the day, with a few choice dishes available at any time. If you happen to drop in around tea time for a quick bite, expect to be greeted by the idli bonda, a creatively envisioned snack that has chicken or beef (or vegetables if you so prefer) stuffed into bite-sized pieces of idli and served with sambar.

The Szechuan idli is simple—miniature idlis in Szechuan sauce, creating a blend of steamed goodness that contrasts with the spicy sauce yet feels light on the stomach. Breakfasts feature signature dishes like the regular idli and dosa, masala dosa and uthappams in onion and cheese avatars. Those who need a more filling meal in the morning can opt for the kheema dosa or uthappam. Lunch offers veg, non-veg and a shrimp combo. These miss out on the dosas with filling, but substitute them with three mini uthappams, a chicken, beef, vegetarian or shrimp curry and two chutneys.

Speaking of dosas with filling, Chef Abdul Kader describes the newest experiments on the menu even as he picks out which chutney matches each dosa best. “We have tried to come up with something for everyone. The pyari jodi masala dosa has two small dosas with different filling while the scrambled egg with cheese is ideal for small children. The kada mutta dosa is a healthy option and as expected, the chicken dosa is quite popular.”

The dosas appear to have decided to stick to their strengths, with the gobi masala dosa making its arrival without much fancy embellishment. The crisp brown dosa is delicately folded over, hiding the masala at its core while leaving the sides free to be experimented with the chutneys on offer.

Two chutneys will be available on each day; potential options being cauliflower, tomato, coconut, onion, green chutney and the ever popular oil and chuntey podi combination. As expected, sambar is ever present, lending a traditional taste to the assortment of dosas.

The gobi dosa serves as a preferable option for vegeterians, with other options like cheesy masala dosa and paneer makhni dosa keeping up the variety. The dinner spread, which is the best option with most dishes available on the menu, is a meat lovers’ delight. The crispy dosas coming in inviting forms such as the kheema mutter dosa, prawn and potato dosa, and the meaty murg makhni dosa. Abdul describes the murg makhni as the milder alternative to the Andhra chicken dosa, its fierier cousin. But mild is by no means a bad thing, as the pasty goodness of meat and thick masala makes itself known as you approach the core with growing anticipation, the humble chutneys forgotten.

For a taste of seafood, the Canopy chemmeen dosa replaces the chicken with succulent prawns and the combos from lunch make a return on the dinner menu as well.

The softness of idlis, the crispness of dosas and the spicy flavours of the fillings provide a satisfying experience, but the meal is not done yet, as the selection of sundaes introduced for the dosa festival beckon. From tutty fruity and very berry to the vanilla, chocolate and pastry filled behemoth that is the black forest fountain, those with a sweet tooth can best leave a little room for a dessert as filling as the main course.

The dosa festival is on at Café Canopy all day long till June 29.

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