By Casey Neill
Thela Indian Street Food’s owner Udit doesn’t serve curry.
He moved to Melbourne from India about 18 months ago and found a lot of restaurants serving flavours from his homeland.
“But what I’ve seen here is very monotonous menus,” he said.
“Indian food has been limited to curries only which is not accurate.
“I thought I would do something else and I would not do the typical butter chicken.”
Udit has been serving up street food at Dandenong Market for about three months. Dosa, uttapam and idli are the key menu items.
He’s been a chef for almost 15 years, working at the Mariott and Hyatt hotel groups.
“I was doing it at Preston Market before for a couple of months,” he said.
“Dandenong Market has a wider customer base, the market is much better, especially for my type of food.”
The dosa is a staple in South India and has been popular at his stall.
“It’s like a crepe which is made with rice,” he said.
“The best part is there is no flour in it.
“It’s made with fresh rice. You soak it for five or six hours and then you grind it and then you leave it for fermentation, but you don’t add any yeast to it, so it’s fermented naturally.
“It’s naturally gluten free and very light.”
The thin batter is cooked on a hot griddle and filled.
“The traditional one is your curried potato and peas,” he said.
“I do avocado special dosa which is quite popular at my shop.
“It comes with different dips but the traditional one is fresh coconut dip and tomato dip.
“There is a traditional lentil soup, sambhar. That’s a traditional accompaniment.”
Udit said some customers were previously unfamiliar with dosa.
“But there are a lot of people who know what dosa is. Now the world has become so small and people are travelling,” he said.
“Every week people come back for a dosa. There are people who drive from the city for a dosa.”