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Phnom Penh Restaurants: Indian fare in heart of Phnom Penh

South Indian restaurant in the centre of Phnom Penh offers pleasant ambiance, simple decor and some of the most varied and affordable Indian food in town

Photo by: Tracey Shelton

Dosa Corner Indian Restaurant. Kottu parota with ingredients pictured above.

 RECIPE FOR

 KOTTU PAROTA

  • Parota            1 piece
  • Onion             2,200 grams
  • Tomato          1
  • Curry Leaf       2-3
  • Turmeric         1 tsp
  • Egg                1

Dice onion and tomato, and chop parota into small pieces. Saute onion with spices until soft. Add Parota and tomato and cook for about five minutes. Clear a hole in the center for the egg and scramble alone. When the egg is cooked, stir into the rest of the dish. Garlic and vegetable or chicken stock are optional.

BoeUng Keng Kang is a hotbed of international cuisine in the capital city, serving up everything from French provincial food to Korean and Greek fare. It is also the location of one of the most popular South Indian restaurants in town, Dosa Corner Indian Restaurant.

Located on Street 51 near Street 278, this little place is hoppin'. On any given night you can find a number of foreigners from all around the world in groups or on their own enjoying the wide variety of dishes offered by this uniquely South Indian cafe.

Dosa Corner is small but the ambiance is pleasant with simple decor and practical furnishings. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available. The tables do not wobble, the seats are comfortable and the soft lighting makes dining a pleasure.

Two of the most remarkable things I noticed about Dosa Corner were how clean the place is and the attentive free flow of fresh cold water. The service was friendly and the food was delivered in a timely manner.

Quality food

"The main goal is to provide good quality food that is tasty at an affordable price," said Dosa Corner manager Sivaa Sundhar. "We are very price conservative.... It's not [a] profit-oriented business."

The prices at Dosa Corner are indeed quite affordable, which is a part of why the restaurant is so successful. Two people can easily dine for less than US$10, and the specials are very attractive. Dishes start between $1 and $2, and nothing on the menu costs more than $5. The portions are sizable, and the food itself is filling.

"We get a lot of Western customers," said Sundhar. "You can ask anybody about our dosas, especially our masala dosas, and also our pepper chicken is a popular one ...and kottu parota."

Dosas are a type of pancake or crepe uniquely South Indian. They are made from rice and lentil flour and filled with a variety of spiced vegetables and meat. (They come vegetarian, too.) They are served with chutney that is both sweet and savoury, and although they are on the all-day breakfast menu, dosas can be eaten at any time of day.

Currently, Dosa Corner offers 15 different varieties of dosas, but as they gear up to celebrate the restaurant's one-year anniversary on January 14, they plan to introduce 10 new dosa dishes to the menu.

South Indian cuisine differs from North Indian food primarily in that it tends to be more rice-based and uses milder spices.

"There are so many South Indian dishes. The [reason] everybody likes dosas is that it is easily digestible food," Sundhar said. "So the combination with dosa and chicken and mutton curry - chicken and mutton are the heavy foods, [and] dosa is the easiest one to have the combination for good taste."

Kitchen speciality

If you happen to hear a distinct "ratta-tat-tat" coming from the kitchen that rises above the normal din of the city, you will know that the daily evening Tamil Nadu special, kottu parota, is being prepared. It is a famous South Indian food made from onion, spices and egg. The sound comes from mincing the parota, which is an Indian flatbread, with two long metal utensils.

This not only creates the dish but is also a call to hungry passersby, letting them know that good food is being prepared.

"It's a special sound. You can hear it in South Indian streets," said Sundhar. "So we put that focus on that special dish here.... That's our specialised food."

Dosa Corner Indian Restaurant offers great food at fantastic prices. Whether dining in or taking advantage of their free delivery service (there is a motorbike fee for deliveries less than US$5), the menu will have you eating South Indian without repeating yourself for quite a while.

Dosa Corer also provides catering and party orders. For further information call 012 673 276.

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