My Friends

Arrow Up

Arrow Up
Arrow Down
,
  • Mon
    28
  • Tue
    29
  • Wed
    30
  • Thu
    31
  • Fri
    1
  • Sat
    2
  • Sun
    3
1492: Conquest of Paradise Jul 28, 2014 Gérard Depardieu plays Christopher Columbus in Ridley Scott’s big-budget telling of the “discovery” of the Americas. This film is presented as part of Film in the Garden, the Museum's Monday night sundown film series in the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden. 65 other events on Monday, July 28
 
News
San Diego planning director’s uphill battle to create walkable communities
Film
Documentary about the famous film critic leads our rundown of movies screening around town
Editorial
Kevin Faulconer should follow Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ lead
Seen Local
Painter spends plenty of time curating and exhibiting interesting work online
Arts & Culture feature
A look at the late architect's lasting impacts as his murderer faces 15 years to life

 

 
Log in to use your Facebook account with
San Diego CityBeat

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on San Diego CityBeat
 
Home / Articles / Eats / One Lucky Spoon /  Surati Farsan Mart: dosas and Samosas
. . . .
Friday, Feb 21, 2014

Surati Farsan Mart: dosas and Samosas

Exploring informal Miramar eatery’s spicy vegetarian fare

By Mina Riazi
DSCN0851 The chole samosas, dahi sev puri and Delhi chaat
- Photo by Mina Riazi

Your food arrives fast at Surati Farsan Mart, but it's not fast food. You whisk it away on a black plastic tray, cafeteria-style, and settle comfortably in your seat before noticing that the plates and cutlery are plastic, too. 

My inner environmentalist winced a little, pained by the sight of all that unnecessary Styrofoam and plastic. Then, my masala chai tea arrived in a paper cup and cemented Surati's informal, food-court vibe. 

But if the food is delicious, does the presentation matter? Of course, my mother would say matter-of-factly. I understand that it does count, and I'd love to swap the plastic for porcelain, but when I broke into Surati's masala cheese dosa, the last thing on my mind was the unsightly, disposable flatware.  

Dosas are wafer-thin, South Indian pancakes made with rice and urad dal, or black lentils. After soaking for several hours, the rice and lentils are finely ground, then blended together, creating a light batter that ferments overnight. The mixture gets ladled onto a hot griddle. Working from the center, you must spread the batter quickly and carefully, so that it cooks evenly. 

The dosa offerings at Surati Farsan (9494 Black Mountain Road in Miramar) run the gamut from savory to sweet, plain to stuffed. The foot-long masala cheese dosa is crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Drag a piece of the lacy-edged snack through coconut chutney to soften the sting of its spiced potatoes. Surprisingly, cheddar—and not paneer— forms the dosa's cheese component. That confused me at first, but I ended up appreciating the cheddar's slow, luxurious stretch. 

A vegetarian restaurant and bakery, Surati Farsan specializes in fare from the Gujarati region of Western India. The original mart opened in Artesia, Calif., nearly 30 years ago and was later joined by the San Diego location. 

The eatery's extensive menu offers more than just dosas—there are crunchy samosas packed with chickpeas and corn kernels that pop in your mouth. A spicy chickpea curry, or chole, accompanies the deep-fried pastries. Temper the heat with gulps of mango lassi, a yogurt drink that boasts miraculous cooling powers.

Yogurt also appears in the Delhi chaat—the least resplendent of the dishes I tried. Chaat is a term for the sweet and savory snacks of India's street stalls. In the Delhi chaat, potatoes, beans and yogurt are layered over crushed whole-wheat shells. The fried dough pieces quickly lose their crunch and become soggy, resulting in a creamy, heavy dish that isn't worth all the extra calories. 

Go for the dahi sev puri instead. Golf-ball-sized puffs of deep-fried dough carry mung beans and black chickpeas. Yogurt gets drizzled over the sweet-and-spicy morsels, and a scattering of crunchy noodles completes the popular street food. Though the dahi sev puri and the Delhi chaat share many of the same ingredients, the former's easy-to-eat, finger-food component makes all the difference. 

For dessert, you're bound to find something you like among Surati's long list of sweets. If not, then a hot cup of masala chai, milky and fragrant, will do the trick. Now, if only you could sip it from a ceramic mug.


Write to minar@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com.




 
 
 
 
 
 
Close
Close
Close