Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Where to find South Indian food in the North

I discovered the joys of food from the South of India whilst living in London for a while. Southern Indian food tends to involve lots of:

coconut, curry leaves, vegetables, chilli, mustard seeds, fish, tamarind, quickly cooked stir fried dishes

as opposed to food from Northern India which tends to include lots of:

ghee, meat, bread, dairy products, cumin, garam masala, slow cooked stewed dishes

This is a fairly rough generalisation, and students of Indian cuisine will probably say it's nonsense and point out that there are dozens of distinct regional cuisines in India. True, but I think I've got the basics at least sort of right (hopefully).

Most of what's commonly found in Northern England is firmly in the Northern India camp in spirit at least. Ever since I returned from the smoke I've been trying to compile a list of places to get a South Indian fix starting with Leeds and Manchester (where I'm most likely to be found). This wholly unscientific survey is based around googling the word dosa.

Photo credit: (© alasam / Flickr)

For the uninitiated a dosa is a thin crispy pancake made with lentil flour. The classic version, the masala dosa is stuffed with spiced potatoes and served with sambhar (a sort of thin veg curry) and chutneys (usually including coconut). A good dosa is as long as your arm and bloody lovely (see photo!).

If it's got a dosa on the menu it's on the list. So far I've got the following six:

Lily's Vegetarian Indian Cuisine, Ashton-under-Lyne (actually Gujurati I think, which is NW rather than S India. Dosai apparently available though so it gets in)

Lotus, Northenden (seems to be Malaysian & Indian)

Sindhoor, Burnage (looks the part)

Arti, Roundhay Road (website is a bit wafflesome)

Hansa's, Leeds (also Gujurati so not technically South Indian. Dosai present and correct. Bit of a Leeds institution by all accounts)

Spice Quarter, Leeds (one of those all you can eat wok station joints, so probably terrible. Dosai listed though!)

Any comments on the above?
Any other hidden gems?
I'm going to head off to one of the Mancunian offerings in the next few days........


Lester Fontayne said...

If you fancy a jolly to Sheffield, East & West is the real deal. Dirt cheap, too.

Anonymous said...

I use http://www.maharajaliverpool.co.uk/

at home by

East&West is really good

Dave said...

Thanks both for the tips. Will add them to my 'to do' list on the off chance I'm in Sheffield or Liverpool.

Carl said...

Not northern at all (But I am!), but if you are ever stuck in southampton, I recommend Namaste Kerala

Dave said...

Cheers Carl. In the (unlikely) event I'm in Southampton it's on my list!

arwin said...

I'm a big fan of dosa express. The dosas, idlis, vadas are all excellent and cheap. Lily's veg cafe in ashton under lyne is also very good; I had their thali which was excellent (punjabi style). They sell dosas and the like, but I have not tried them yet. Went to lotus restaurant and dosas were nice. Overall, Dosa Express is the best in Manchester for me. cheers - Arwin

Anonymous said...

If you are in Preston, I recommend Malabar on south meadow street. It has an excellent menu and the food is great. I used to live in south India and I'm pleased to say its ad tasty as any food I used to buy when I was there.

Fluffty - Preston

Dave said...

Cheers for the tip, I'll keep it in mind if I'm ever in town.

Lester Fontayne said...

I've just been reading this blog post about Dhanistha's in Sheffield. Sounds good. Another one to add to the list.

Andy B said...

Punjab Tandoori on Wilmslow Road has dosas - their samber is excellent. Prashad in Bradford is Gujurati rather than S Indian but also does great dosas and very moreish Bhel Puri.

Dave said...

Cheers Andy, I've heard of the Punjab place but never been. Always thought it strange a place specialising in South Indian food is called Punjab. Suppose they do North Indian stuff too.

Lee said...

If in Newcastle, check out Rasa - http://www.rasarestaurants.com/UserPages/Viewrestaurantdetails.aspx?restid=41 - the only non-London incarnation of this restaurant mini-chain. The snacks - various shapes of deep fried gram flour with really unusual pickles and chutneys - are the business. 5 dosas on the menu.

Dave said...

Thanks Lee, I went to one of the London branches a few years ago and enjoyed it. Didn't know there was one in Newcastle.

Bikaner vala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Mirchi in Stoke-on-Trent does awesome dosas and South Indian curries. Close enough to the north to count I reckon! Anyone know if the ones in Leeds or Bradford do delivery?

Anita Duggal said...

Thanks for sharing with us blog about place where we can eat south Indian food.Best Restaurants in Noida

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