As the enthusiastic and devoted food lover that I am, I obligingly continue to play out my own little version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (a true foodie classic), eating, blogging, writing, reviewing and sharing it all with you along the way. For after all, ¿ mi comida es tu comida, sì?
Then every now and again something special hits the palate that really grabs me by the tastebud-balls and makes for an unforgettable experience. On our recent trip to WOMAD festival we had the great pleasure of one such flavour parade when we stopped for a quick bite of lunch at Dosa Deli.
THE DOSA. A fermented heavenly crêpe in Southern Indian cooking, made of rice flour (or gram or wheat) and black lentils, traditionally served with a spiced vegetable stuffing. The perfect delicious gluten free vegetarian option, if you ask me.
Where-oh-where have these delectable cripsy pancakes been all my life? I cannot believe I have gone 37 years without once experiencing the light, melt in the mouth miracle that is the dosa. Or perhaps, I just hadn’t had the right one.
From the first bite - we knew we were on to something BIG. Something new and exciting and interesting that made beautiful sweet music in my mouth. Yes, it really did. Winners of the WOMAD 2015 Peoples Choice Award for Best Food this crew smashed everyone else out of the muddy festival ball park winning not only our vote but a colossal tidal wave of raving punters, and so of course, I had to share the love with you guys.
Dosa Deli are doing tasty tasty dosa work. But if you don’t trust me, go ahead, be my guest and check them out for yourself. Appearing at cool London street food events, festivals and markets as well as catering for private parties and events YOU WILL LOVE WHAT YOU TASTE and go home dreaming of more for weeks to come.
Following my roundup of food at the festival- Five Days and Four Nights of Food at WOMAD chronicles - I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Amy from Dosa Deli and ask her about the driving force and inspiration behind their terrific success.
Here’s what we talked about:
WTDY: Our relationship with food begins early on at a young age, I believe. The ‘feeling’ and the ‘function’ (one might even go as far as saying the ‘meaning’) around meals, or food otherwise, when we are growing up is fairly influential. It provides for an integral component to our physical/ mental and even emotional health later on in life. Do you agree?
Amy: Yes, I agree.
WTDY: So what were your food/meal lessons growing up and how have they influenced your own attitude to food?
Amy: I am one of four children, my mum was a very traditional stay at home mum, she has always made meals from scratch, she was well known for her cakes, and always made a big effort to make meals tasty. I was a vegetarian for a while when I was younger and she made some amazing vegetarian meals for me. We often baked and cooked with her in the kitchen.
WTDY: How can we encourage others, who perhaps may not have had the support or tradition at an early age, to get more interested in their own health and well-being through the food they eat?
Amy: Through teaching them about healthy eating, and making food lables clearer. Also through food pricing, ensuring that fast food isn't cheaper than fresh healthy food.
WTDY: You can REALLY and TRULY taste the love coming through in your food. How do you, personally, stay inspired, passionate and committed to your work?
Amy: We are often blown away ourselves by dishes and flavours we eat and try in India each year, and we want to take our customers on the same experience with us. We want to show people that Indian cookery doesn't have to be complicated, and it can be healthy too. South Indian cuisine is very different to North Indian dishes which we see more commonly in the UK. South Indian food uses less chilli, less oil and embraces a lot of healthy eating practices.
WTDY: How do you then keep the recipes/dishes fresh and exciting?
Amy: By travelling to India regularly and eating new dishes. Last trip we went up into the Karnataka hills and tried some regional dishes which can only be found in the Coorg region of the Western Ghats. We bring these dishes back and make them vegetarian and then make them work in a dosa.
WTDY: Mmm sounds delicious. So, if someone is interested in adopting a more plant based diet like you say on your website i.e. ‘eat more veg and less meat’, where would you suggest they start?
Amy: We try to reduce the meat we eat, and make sure that when we do eat meat it's led a happy life, opting for organic where possible. Indian cuisine uses a lot of ingredients which are great at helping reduce the meat you eat. We often use soya chunks or mince in place of meat, this is great in a curry or chilli; it's dried soya and needs rehydrating, so different to quorn. It's also gluten free and vegan unlike quorn.
WTDY: What could you recommend as a typical well balanced meal plan for say breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Amy: I eat lots of fresh veg, and very little processed foods. I'm not an angel, I think a bit of what you fancy does you good.
WTDY: What does the future have in store for Dosa Deli?
Amy: More festivals in 2016.
WTDY: I always love asking this question because it takes everyone back to a place of healing, nurturing and rest. What do you eat as comfort food, when you are feeling very poorly and you just crave that particular something that you know (even if only mentally) will make you feel better?
Amy: I suppose it's a curry with rice. The hotter the better. A vindaloo is my favourite.
WTDY: Bonus question. What is your favourite ‘sneaky’ food?
Amy: A fish finger sandwich.
Follow Dosa Deli on Twitter @DosaDeli and check out upcoming events on their website www.dosadeli.co.uk or at www.kerbfood.com