So often on the stall I get asked why we make Dosa? What lead us to standing in the street serving up Indian Street Food?
There’s lots of reasons why… so let me elaborate a little on my background.
I have been working with food since 2012. It all came about after being diagnosed as Coeliac in 2011. Being Coeliac means I have an auto-immune disease, like arthritis or diabetes. Basically my body attacks it’s self when I eat gluten. I was ever so poorly at the time of diagnosis. Being so ill and realising that food was the cause completely changed my idea about what I eat. I have to follow a strict gluten free diet. I am also dairy intolerant. (Something that can often go hand in hand with being coeliac). Realising the impact that food can have on our physical and mental health led to a long and winding journey with food.
In 2012 my health was still very poor and no-one really knew much about Gluten-Free. Most of the food in supermarkets was dire (and still is). So I wanted to do something about it. I initially started out selling Gluten Free cakes to shops and deli’s in 2012. This progressed to market stalls, pop-up kitchens, catering and cookery lessons. With my health gradually improving as time went on and my knowledge of food and cooking continually evolving; the years saw lots of changes. Customers would come to me with all sorts of dietary requirements, everything from fat free, sugar free, gluten free, through to citrus free, cocoa-free and vegan. There have been some tricky ones! But I managed to cater for them all.
Skip along several years and I decided to close my business down, it was time for a change of scene. I moved cities, even decided to stop working in food. But, as it happened, I couldn’t get a permanent job, even though I was highly skilled I couldn’t even get an interview. So, what else could I do but take matters in to my own hands. I needed to set up a business, but what would I do?
I remembered back to a conversation with James, we had been to an Indian restaurant in Nottingham, we had ordered Dosa, whilst eating it I had commented that it would be amazing to go somewhere and just be able to eat Dosa, nothing else!
And this is what decided it for me! I like Dosa, so I would learn how to make them, and sell them.
Dosa are naturally Gluten Free. I could make them plant-based and vegan friendly. I could make them without nuts. The dish would be suitable for most diets including halal and other religions. It would be inclusive, pretty much everyone could sit at the table and eat the same dish.
I could also make something that was a healthy option. In a sea of deep-fat fryers I could offer something that wouldn’t be fried or loaded with sugar.
I’m a fan of cooking from scratch and knowing exactly what’s in my food, so it stood to reason that I would make everything for my dosa stall. This includes fermenting dosa batter, developing my own spice blends and cooking curries with fresh ingredients. I pickle and ferment all the vegetables myself.
Everything has been created with my own hands.
For me there’s nothing more important than knowing that the food I am giving to people will make them feel good and will nourish them. It means going the extra mile and working that little bit harder, but I know it's worth it.