No trip to Malaysia is complete without a taste of some of the nation’s most beloved dishes. In a country filled with artery-clogging nosh and diabetes-friendly munchies, the dosai comes as a refreshing change from the usual oil-laden meal options.

This mamak stall staple is much like an Indian pancake, and is rich in carbohydrates, contains no sugar or saturated fats. The batter is made from fermented rice flour and ground lentils, before being spread out on a hot plate in a perfectly round shape, and cooked until it is lightly browned and crispy. The result is a pancake that is crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle. But the part of the dosai experience that really tickles the taste buds, are the sauces served on the side.

Dosai are generally accompanied by spicy chilli chutney, cooling coconut chutney, and a small bowl of lentil curry or sambar. For those after a more solid meal, a variation of vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes such as spicy potato masala or a chicken dish, also see an inclusion in most restaurant menus. Apart from the plain dosai, other varieties include the rava dosai, paper dosai, masala dosai, egg dosai, and onion dosai. Although cutlery is available, the best way to eat a dosai is with your fingers – perfect for soaking up all the delicious gravy! Amazingly versatile, this delightful local favourite attracts throngs of people wanting a tasty meal at any time of the day.

First published January, 2014