Everyone and their mother has spent the pandemic baking sourdough. Even celebrities are getting in on the action.
But folks might be getting mired in too Western of a mindset. Once they’ve perfected that boule, I think it’s high time that fledgling bakers get to working on other specialties. Ethiopian injera, for example, is notoriously difficult to get just right. There are breads made from fermented batters all over the world and some of the tastiest I’ve found in the area are at Agni in Sterling.
From utthapams to idlis, southern India is rife with wonderful sourdoughs. But I was recently impressed with the classic dosas that Agni is turning out at its unassuming strip mall spot. The giant, rolled pancake is thin and crisp as it should be, but with swirls of slightly thicker batter perfect for soaking up sauces. On the plate with the dosa come coconut and tomato chutneys. But I ordered one of Agni’s specialties, a dosa served with a pot of vadakari.
Vadakari is a curry made with vadai, or lentil fritters. While they lose their crispness in the tomato- and onion-filled gravy, as they absorb the sauce, the vadai take on a texture not unlike a meatball. It’s my goal with Meatless Monday posts to recommend dishes that even the most omnivorous eaters will find compelling. This is definitely a dish that will keep meat lovers happy, with each dip of dosa into vadakari.
But if you prefer to lean toward the pescatarian, follow my lead and start with meen porichadu. Any fan of fish and chips will be smitten with the crispy chunks of tilapia. They look like they’ll be bland, very much in need of the tamarind and spicy mint sauces on the side. But looks can be deceiving. Spices, including a not-too-light hand with chiles, coat the fish. For those sticking with a truly meatless meal, there are plenty of vegetarian starters, curries and dosa dishes to carry you through, but a little bit of fish can be very good thing. // 46005 Regal Plaza, Suite 140, Sterling
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