Idlis and dosas get a makeover at the RHR Idli shop on Big Bazaar Street

It’s spicy and so full of aroma — Tanjore chilli idli is spongy, shallow fried, soaked in ginger juice, and then tossed in the masala made up of sesame seeds, mustard oil and coconut milk. The final garnish has chopped tomato, onion, dry curry leaf powder and garlic powder. This is just a sample of what you can expect at the ongoing idli and dosa fest at the RHR Idli Shop in Big Bazaar Street. There is more as the festival offers 40 varieties of idlis! “We have 30 varieties of dosas too,” says B. Manivannan. Head of the catering department at Sri Krishna Arts and Science College, he is overseeing the festival.

Giving me company is homemaker S. Premalatha and G. Ratnavel of RHR. “Tanjore chilli idli is like idli bhel, healthy and wholesome,” declares Premalatha. A regular customer, she enjoys the home-style preparation here. Poondu kuzhambu, a lip-smacking delicacy, made with small onions and garlic is a favourite which she enjoys with steaming idlis.

We sample sandwich idlis that are shallow fried and soaked in tomato puree, have sautéed chopped garlic, dry coconut powder, and cheese as stuffing. There is a distinct Chinese flavour to it. Cheese Chilli idlis bring in the Italian flavour as the idli slices are tossed in a mix of liquid cheese, Genova sauce, green chillies and milk. Tikka idlis mimic paneer tikkas. They are marinated in mango pickle pulp, curd, black salt, mustard oil, tossed in olive oil and grilled with onion and bell pepper.

Coming to the dosas, the corn dosa is delicious. Stuffed with American sweet corn, cottage cheese, chilli flakes, chopped garlic, spring onion and parsley, and tossed in olive oil, it has many flavours. “Finger millet ( raagi), Jowar millet ( cholam), beaten rice and corn flour go into the batter,” says Manivannan. Chilli cheese dosa is of course, high on cheese and paneer dosa has a generous stuffing of paneer.

The Paruppu dosa is a must-try. And a healthy alternative for the diet-conscious. Eight varieties of dals including channa, horse gram, urad dal and saamai go into the batter and the outcome is a crispy delight. “The idea is to revive our traditional grains, that are forgotten now,” says Manivannan who is researching on Kongu cuisine. He plans to come up with over 1000 recipes unique to the region in his new book Paati Samayal.

The festival is on till June 5. Open from 4 p.m. till midnight. Call: 0422-4362736.

Chutneys on offer - 16 varieties!

Kollu (horse gram), ellu (sesame seeds), Keerai (palak or thandu keerai is steamed and mashed with cooked dhal), pineapple, ulli theeyal, brinjal, tomato and onion (Kara chutney) and more….

Pick of the lot

Curry leaf dosa — crunchy and bursting with the aroma of curry leaves. The secret lies in the special batter. Soaked rice is ground with fresh curry leaves, green chillies, and cinnamon sticks.

On a sweet note

Chocolate dosas made from a special batter comes with a dash of chocolate sauce, and a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips.