Cheese, dry fruits and what not: The Dosa evolution in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: For a city that is known very well for its meat dishes, including breakfast, a new fad seems to have taken over and is also becoming a new breakfast norm – cheese dosa. As simple as it sounds, the dish is becoming a favourite and go to option for many. A slow cultural shift perhaps?

More importantly, unlike the usual masala dosa, which is comparatively a simple dish to make, cheese, schezwan and all other modern dosas are literally a concoction of a host of ingredients. For a dosa purist, it may even be heresy.

Cheese, dry fruits and what not: The Dosa evolution in Hyderabad
Delicious piping hot Tavva Idly and cheese dosa on its way. (Photo: Yunus Y. Lasania)

Take the famous Govind Bandi for example. First timers are often either shocked, or are in awe of his dosa when they watch him plop a dollop of butter, upma, masala, onion, tomato, and (finally) cheese onto the batter, till all of it is cooked into a crisp hot dosa. “People have been eating cheese dosa from nearly a decade, but now it has become a thing in Hyderabad,” says N. Naveen, a student.

In fact, cheese dosa and its other compatriots like schezwan dosa, pizza dosa (a speciality of Royal tiffins), Tavva Idly and even Tavva Bonda are such a favourite for many that they don’t mind a long commute just to stand in front of a Bandi and eat.

“I live in Madhapur, and even though it takes me over 40 minutes, I go near the Charminar to have cheese dosa at Govinds Bandi or Ram Ki Bandi on weekends. When I started initially, a friend had taken me there and I used to mock him for it. But now, I actually have cravings and it has become a part of my breakfast options, aside from the usual Kheema roti, Nihari we get,” said Faizan, a techie from the city.

More importantly, Hyderabadis across the spectrum, even Dosa purists, seem to have taken a liking to this new modern creation. Govinds Bandi, Ram ki Bandi, Rahul Tiffins, and Royal Tiffin Centre are some of the new favourites.

“I like Govind’s cheese dosa the most because it is the crispiest. The chutney is also quite good. Unlike most places in Hyderabad, this one does not disappoint, especially for someone who comes from Chennai and wants their dosas to be a specific way,” said Abinaya S., a native of Tamil Nadu, who has settled in Hyderabad.

Two of the most well known places in Hyderabad are Ram ki Bandi that started in 1989, and Govind Dosa at Charminar. “Our first branch started opposite Moazzam Jahi market. Initially, we only had butter dosa. With time, people started bringing in ingredients from their home, asking us to add it in their dosas. Slowly, customers began giving us ideas for new dosas and that’s current dishes came into existence,” said Laxman, from Ram ki Bandi.

Another place known for its tasty cheese dosas and Tavva idly is Rahul Tiffins at Banjara Hills, Rd No. 12. Opposite Niloufer Cafe, this place sees a line of customers in cars waiting for their dosas, or for pick up quite often.

“Govind Dosa was the first that started making dosa with Amul butter about 35 years ago. Cheese and other ingredients came about over the last 10 to 15 years ago, after which it slowly caught up and became a thing,” said Amit Patwari, from Rahul Tiffins.

Cheese, dry fruits and what not: The Dosa evolution in Hyderabad
Rahul Tiffin at Banjara Hills, Road No. 12. (Photo: Siasat)

Tasty dosas however don’t come cheap!

While the word Bandi is usually associated with cheap items, these new modern dosa spots are barely pocket friendly. Cheese dosa is more or less priced around Rs 80, while some of the more fancy dosas like the Pizza costs a whopping Rs 150. A regular plate of idly however can be bought for Rs 40, but that’s pretty much the cheapest option there.

All the items with cheese or paneer don’t come cheap. Of course, that is understandable given rising costs of essential commodities. And given the craze around these new concoctions, it’s not surprise that these small shops or Bandis are able to charge such prices.

Moreover, some of the more famous outlets like Ram ki Bandi, Govind Dosa and Royal Tiffin Center have expanded to other parts of the city like Himayat Nagar and Hitec City.

Tavva Upma, chocolate dosa, what!?

As if cheese and schezwan dosa weren’t enough, these new these outlets also now sell a host of other things like Tavva Upa and even Idly Butter Cheese dosa (!?). There are however some pretty unique or even weird options For example, Royal Tiffins at Abids also sells ‘Panch Ratan dosa’ for Rs 180, and ‘Cream Special Dosa’.

Others are no less either. Ram Ki Bandi’s menu includes ‘Dry Fruit dosa’ for Rs 150, and even something called ‘Fresh Cream dosa’. Seems like anything is game, which is a great thing for the evolution of food perhaps.