We were thrilled to hear from Anjan Mitra who shared just how inspired he and his Executive Chef, Arun Gupta were by their recent journey with us to Kerala, India. So inspired were they, that they have adapted their spring menu at their two San Francisco restaurants DOSA SF, to reflect the home-cooked tastes they experienced in India. Here they reflect on their journey and share some insights in to their Nanda Journeys, Kerala inspired menu! Thank you Anjan and Arun, we look forward to our next journey together and of course your new menu!
The best dishes you can eat are definitely the home-cooked meals prepared in India that reflect the cuisine of the respective regions, the influences of their community, while using fresh, local ingredients in family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Many of these dishes never make their way to the restaurants in India, let alone the U.S. or London (which is certainly a hot spot for great Indian food).
Consider the rich diversity of delicious recipes prepared everyday by countless families in a country of 1.3 billion people and you realize that we have barely scratched the surface! 🙂
For this reason, Executive Chef Arun Gupta took a two-week culinary trip to India to cook with several families and local chefs in Kerala, along the West coast of Southern India. This picturesque region has forty-four rivers that flow from the Western Ghats, and gently meander into the Arabian Sea to create a dense network of waterways known as the Backwaters; a picturesque ecosystem that defines not just the flora and fauna, but the lifestyle of the local people. You will see miles of rice paddy fields, millions of coconut palms and thousands of fishing nets all across this thriving landscape. The climate, topography and soil also makes it the spice capital in a land of many spices!
In addition to eating a various spots every day, Chef Arun Gupta explored the Spice plantations of Periyar and Kumarakom, enjoyed delicious family meals at the Home Stays of the Philipkutty’s Spice Plantation and the Kalaketty Rubber Plantation Estate. This region has a relatively significant presence of Christians and Muslims who define their own non-vegetarian culinary styles with dishes such as Fish cooked in banana leaves, Mutton Biryani and Beef Chile Fry.
Many of these local dishes are currently on our Spring Tasting Menu at DOSA on Fillmore which includes different dishes that are prepared to be shared family-style, and start with light bites and a delicious spice-driven salads. We promise it will transport you to this wonderful region of Southern India without being over indulgent. Or you can opt for our a la carte dishes like the Phillipkutty Chicken Curry (the best one we’ve done to date), Lake Kochi Grilled Prawns, Asparagus Avial, Kerala Fish Fry or even the Periyar Curried Pork, which is only served at the DOSA on Valencia menu. Of course, some ingredients change daily depending on what’s available at our local farmer’s markets in San Francisco.
We are exploring hyper-regional and obscure dishes from India that we love, but are unfamiliar to most people in the West! We might not serve what people are commonly familiar with in the U.S., however, we deeply respect traditional Indian recipes, techniques and spices, to create dishes that use seasonal and local ingredients. We are excited to help you explore this richly diverse cuisine that varies from region-to-region, city-to-city, and often household-to-household.