Masale Dose [please pronounce it as ma-saa-le though-say to be ‘kannada-like’] in the 1960s was a major attraction to people. It probably has been so, about two decades or more before the 60s. My late father is renown to have derived pleasure in eating it in hotels with friends in Bangalore during his study at the just opened “Tata Institute” [diploma] in the late 1940s [his distant cousin remembers those days even now]. My grandfather did not seem to mention it having eaten it in his younger days in the early part of the 20th century. It must have become popular somewhere in between.
Masale Dose [MD] was and is a very special dish in hotels [not as much in homes]. Fame of hotels was directly proportional to the quality of MDs prepared and served there. Such was the way it tickled the taste buds. Hotels were so few then. In fact, there was no need for them with every family having its own cooks in the form of house-wives and other elderly ones to assist life in the joint families. Lunch or dinner was not a major item in hotels as now, nor did people feel the need. People went to hotels for a ‘change in taste’ which were usually breakfast/snack items. Idli, Vade, Uppittu, Kesri Bath. But MD was the much preferred one and filling too.
Since I was living in Chamarajapuram, we had close access to Ballal Hotel [bus tickets were bought as ‘Ballary hotel’!] a famous landmark, till recently. The newer generation will only see a mall there now. This hotel owner Ballal sat at the cash counter and used to relay the orders to the kitchen from there with his typical loud voice [“moor masaale”….”! The hotel was once famous for its MD taste as well as a Radio which was another attraction.
Meenakshi Bhavan, closeby had become more famous for its Radio than its recipes. People would visit there more to listen to the ‘Binaca Geet Mala’ presented by Amin Sayani on the Radio played with a loud volume! There were listeners outside as well.
In the evening of Ballal Hotel’s life, there was no need to take a purgative. Just eat an MD here and it did the trick, soon. For various reasons, it slid down in the popularity list, faster than that ‘trick’!
There was one “Raju Hotel” near Old Agrahara Circle. Much famous for its tasty items and reputation of having famous patrons like RK Narayan, et al. We used to go there as kids when an uncle visited us from Bangalore. The entire family in a group would walk leisurely to this hotel. Jamoon, the sweet had just cast a spell. The starter was this, followed by MD, the main purpose. Since the uncle always insisted on Jamoons before MD, he was nicknamed with a prefix of Jamoon. The gullets then had to be washed only with hot coffee served in glass tumblers.
In the early 1970s, there came up an “Idli House” in Krishnamurthypuram. They became famous [it is there even now] for the soft idlies and also MDs. Each MD was 25 paise. This was often our Sunday morning breakfast – brought home either by my father or me. I think since this was cheaper by 10 paise compared to other hotels people flocked. I remember one morning returning home from here with the bag of MDs on my bicycle handle and falling down close to my house and severely scraping my knee on the tar road. The scar on the knee is gone, but the thought and aroma of MDs being parceled home lingers. Brothers Krishna and Keshava from there incidentally came to play tennis ball cricket with our team at the Sarada Vilas College grounds.
We rarely went to Madhu Nivas or Indra Bhavan and I know not why. I remember once or twice having an MD at the much reputed Hotel Dasprakash right in the Proprietor’s chamber with my grandfather. That thrilled!
My father was famous for his liking for MD [also for chewing home-made Areca and “Congress Khara Kadlekai”]. He would often go with some colleague or friend direct from his office to the hotel where he found great relish. Those who accompanied my late father cherish those memories!
The MD is unique. Consult the Wikipedia [masala dosa] if need be, for basic information on this mouth-watering dish and its variants. Not for nothing it is unceasingly popular. Variations like Paper Dose, Table Dose [Rolled into about 3 feet long tube with that ‘Palya’ inside], etc. Innovations are possible with Dose and that is why it is popular among the housewives too. If they cannot ferment the dough at home, there are now readily available too. So she can avoid the chore and still prepare at home!
Our unique foursome:
It was MD that brought together our unique foursome [colleagues] to Mylari Hotel in 1983. http://mysoreanmusings.blogspot.com/2008/03/tribute-to-srinivasa-rao.html, a great cricket fan and gastronomer needed a reason to go there. He found a solid one when India had won the World Cup. He hosted to celebrate. As we were relishing Benne [butter] MD after the usual round of Idlis we unanimously decided that it would be a monthly affair henceforth, but hosting will be on rotation, for which chits were drawn after one cycle. Our group was unique. Rao was the senior most, in his 50s, Mukunda in his 40s, Ramesh in his 30s and yours truly in 20s. Wavelengths – more than for MD - had met. This went on for 17 years and beyond, even after the two seniors retired. If quality goes, customers go away. We did, again on a unanimous decision sitting there one day. It had become really awful! We had once gone on leave together for a breakfast there, followed by a ‘morning cinema’ and lunch at another hotel. Those are all memories now.
The foursome has traveled miles just to relish MD! Once we went to a reputed hotel in KR Nagar – followed by a relaxing trip to Chunchunkatte. Recently, the group traveled to Bangalore’s Gandhi Bazaar’s Vidyarthi Bhavan just for MD [with butter]. It was my debut there. The server has a unique style – he piles up the plates with MDs all along his left arm up to almost the neck and removes them to the customers’ tables! Much like the way Dagwood [cartoon] piles up his sandwiches!
Masale Dose indeed has remained an irresistible dish, so unique in its aroma. The housewife sometimes tells “Come I’ll prepare the MD at home, why do you go to hotels?” But who listens? That special, indescribable aroma that also lingers in the fingers the entire day, from the hotel-MD is the one missing ingredient at home! Perhaps also for that ‘unlimited chutney service’!!
I return to the blog to add one more item:
In our department group [office] we had one Sri Nagaraja [now retired]. He was another renown MD-relisher. Occasionally he would tell us about is younger day stories of how much of what he and his group of friends ate for a 'challenge'. Nagaraja used to host MDs to be eaten in our office for breakfast, for which he would start early from home, get them packed at PRASAD LUNCH HOME [near Old Agrahara] and bring. It went on for sometime till he moved his house away from Krishmamurthypuram to a farther place. He used to drink boiling hot coffee without a wince, in a jiffy! He was fond of saying "wash your gullet with hot coffee"!
I return to add this slideshow widget:
Dosa Eaters Group
I return to add this slideshow widget:
Dosa Eaters Group