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........