I love Dosa. It’s my ultimate comfort food. I can literally have it every day for a year and still won’t get bored. So, when my editor asked that I review the variety of Dosa from Chennai’s very own Dosa Mama Shop(West Mambalam), I was really excited – and guess what? I wasn’t disappointed.
Crunchy yet fluffy and served with a dash of Chutney and Sambar, I can honestly say the Dosa varieties I tried out there were some of the best foods I have ever tasted in my life.
And no, I am not kidding here!
In today’s FoodZodiac roundup, I share all about my experiences and thoughts from the time I visited this super popular snack/lunch hangout in Chennai and tried out their acclaimed variety Dosa range. Come along for the ride;
West Mambalam Dosa Mama Shop – A Short Introduction
The Bharathi Evening Tiffin Center, or “the Dosa Mama shop”, as it’s popularly known, is run by Mr. V. Ravichandran, who came to the city over 20 years ago from Perambalur.
His first Dosa shop, which was in West Mambalam, Chennai, was renowned for its ultra-hygienic cooking style and 25+ varieties of piping hot Dosa dishes, all selling for Rs 40 each.
Last year, teaming up with the group of youngsters, the shop was relocated to Saligram, Chennai, with the promise of offering the same killer Dosa flavors & dining experience but within a bigger, better, and modern setting. And if the huge crowds they get every day are any indication, Mr. Ravichandran has indeed kept his word.
The shop opens the everyday evening at 5:30 pm and closes at around 10 pm. During that time, he moves around 200 Dosa to the awaiting crowd of customers. There is always a long line, so I suggest you get there nice and early.
Dosa Mama – Redefining Chennai’s Palate With His Dosa Offerings
It was already around 6 pm when I reached the Dosa Mama (god, I love this name!) Tiffin stall. Fortunately, it was a sleepy Monday evening, so the line wasn’t too long. Once I got to the front, it only took around 3 or so minutes to get my plate of steaming hot Dosa, coconut, tomato chutney, and Sambar to go.
Right off the bat, I was impressed by the sheer cleanliness of the whole shop. Everything was kept super neat. The Menu was also extensive. I went with the stall’s best-seller, the garlic Dosa but you can also choose from the many classics like Ghee roast & Podi Dosa to palate smacking garlic Dosa and tomato Dosa, etc…
I counted well over 25 varieties. Mr. Ravichandran confided that this huge Dosa menu was his shop’s main highlight and that he likes to change the recipes every few months to keep his customers delighted.
Customers come from all over the city (even from faraway places like KK Nagar, Madhavaram & Taramani) to get their Dosa to fill from “Dosa mama”. One delighted customer says, “I first heard about this shop from a Whatsapp video I got from a friend in Bangalore. For the last 6 months, I’ve been here almost daily. My daughter loves the Dosa here.”
It is this love that keeps me going,” Ravichandran says, “the customers respect my food. How can I take that for granted? I consider them to be a part of my family, and I cook for them as such.”
What Makes his Dosa Offerings So Special?
From cooking his trademark Dosa to serving the side dishes and manning the cash register, everything is handled by Ravichandran alone – a man who is well into his fifties. He does get a bit harsh, though, but only when the line becomes too hard to handle.
He says, “My love for my job is what’s making my Dosa so tasty.” And I believe him. Still, here are some of the things that Found about Dosa mama that might interest you.
1. The Secret Batter
While he wouldn’t divulge what was so special about his Maavu (rice batter), he said that his wife was the one who made it. He says, “the amount of batter we use varies every day, but thanks to the demand, there are no leftovers.”
2. Extreme Cleanliness
Visit his shop, and you’ll never find any dirty plates or glasses around. The hotplate itself is fully wiped after every Dosa batch to ensure the utmost hygiene.
3. Over 25 Varieties of Dosa to Try
Seriously, there is a Dosa variety for every palate here. Choose from a list of Garlic Dosa, Mint Dosa, Mysore Spice Dosa, Ghee Dosa, Vegetable Dosa, Coconut Powder Dosa, and many more.
4. Great Value for Money
No matter which special Dosa Ravichandran cooks for you, it will only cost you 40 rupees. The Dosa itself is larger than normal, and with the toppings & all, a plate of two is plenty enough to cure anyone’s hunger pangs in a few minutes.
5. The Fame from YouTube
Type in Dosa Mama on YouTube, and you will find many popular YouTubers like Irfaan’s view, Ram Kannan, etc., going gaga over his amazing variety of Dosa offerings. Ravichandran says, “of all the customers I get, nearly 30% to 40% is because of YouTube views.”
In a world where burgers and pizzas are ruling the roost, it’s truly endearing to see that there is still hope for a simple dish like Dosa in our table – thank you, Ravichandran, I owe you one.
The sheer variety factor alone is enough to put Dosa mama on every foodie’s radar. The flavors are memorable & punchy, the pricing is fair, and the hygienic way he runs the shop also warrants extra kudos – this is notable, seeing the same can’t be said for most street-side shops in Chennai.
Honestly, street food in Chennai doesn’t get better than this. So if you would excuse me, I have got to get my weekend fill of garlic Dosa from Dosa mama. Here’s hoping the line isn’t too long…(Update: the line was indeed long…)