Let’s do South Indian this weekend

Monday May 14 2018

An onion-tomato uttapam served at Mithai. Photo

An onion-tomato uttapam served at Mithai. Photo | Tasneem Hassanali 

By Tasneem Hassanali

When we talk of ‘Indian’ food, our taste buds drift to ‘spicy’ and ‘hot’. It’s true to some extent but not entirely. Having schooled for three years in the Southern part of India – I fell in love with their cuisine and etiquette of eating. From their popular breakfast rice cakes known as idli to their luncheons served on a banana leaf, I was all in.
One of the days last week, I skipped lunch at work and decided to go for a 3pm meal, not realising that most kitchens close by that hour. Thinking aloud, a friend of mine suggested a place called ‘Mithai’, an eatery located along the temple street in Kisutu area that’s usually open at such odd hours and that they serve South Indian dishes. Nothing screamed afternoon glory as this for me that day. It was a bonus.
Being on a fat-free and gluten-free diet, I knew I wouldn’t go wrong as South Indian cuisine offers a lot of steamed recipes.

Menu: I was pretty impressed with how they illustrated their menu book – personalising each section with an artwork. It was colourful and easy to pick. They not only had South Indian dishes but also North Indian and Chinese – but strictly vegetarian.

My Order: I ordered an Uttapam, which is basically a pancake prepared from a rice and lentil batter and mixed with your choice of add-ons. I picked onion, tomatoes and coriander. The kitchen staff were very cooperative when I requested for my dish not to be cooked in any refined oil. Yes, it yells healthy. It comes with three types of chutneys and sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew with tamarind broth) that complement the dish. It was pretty filling.

A must try: Masala dosa, which is basically a stuffing of seasoned potatoes enveloped in a pancake, which looks more like a long version of crepe. It’s crispy in texture.

Tip: When ordering a dosa, make sure to specify whether you want it crispy or soft.