Indian American chef Vipul Gupta came up with the unique snack at an Indian destination wedding in Mexico.
Last year, just before the pandemic struck, chef Vipul Gupta had a light bulb moment while planning the menu for an Indian American destination wedding in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Gupta, creative culinary head at Moghul Caterers, located in Edison, NJ, thought of a star dish that would delight the guests while also mixing the Indian, American and Mexican ethos — a dosa taco. Gupta retained the originality of the Indian dosa batter and played with its fillings while making it as a small plate which can serve as a perfect appetizer, snack or an easy to grab meal.
Chef Gupta, who spent decades working for ITC and Hyatt groups in India before he made the United States his home, says, “We served dosa tacos during the mehendi ceremony as a small plate and the guests went crazy. Both Indians as well as the Caucasians loved the dosa in its easier, more eater-friendly format.”
READ: Why Indian food has not gone mainstream in America (June 11, 2019)
Since then, Gupta has served dosa taco at a number of events and parties catered to by Moghul Caterers, which specializes in wedding catering services.
After it became a fan favorite wherever he served the dish, the chef is now convinced that dosa taco has the potential to popularize Indian finger food in America
“Dosa is a universal favorite,” he says. “It’s gluten free, its familiar as most [Americans] have heard of dosa, naan or samosa when it comes to Indian food. I am yet to meet [someone] who doesn’t like a dosa. So we knew that the dish would be a hit. The only thing is that we had to make it more approachable and easy in presentation.”
The dosa tacos, which can be served on small plates. Gupta says while he keeps the batter in its purest form, he plays with the fillings. “We kept three different kinds of fillings — the classic potato filling that all Indians know, the other one was a jalapeno and cheese one and another was a more salad filling version,” he says. “The idea was to keep the spirit of dosa and add new more popular fillings to give it an edge and make it more versatile. The fillings were also reflective of Mexico, where the wedding was taking place and more importantly it also blended beautifully the fact that Mexican food is such a mainstream part of the American culture now.”
The chef says that, in the past, he has also “dabbled with samosas and filled them with corn and beans and served with a tomatillo chutney.” According to him, that also worked “great to pique the Westerners’ interest towards Indian food.” Gupta says that “these innovations” also appeal to the second and third generation Indian Americans, “who love Indian food but want it in a more relatable avatar.”
Another reason why Chef Vipul wanted to bring in the classic Indian dishes with a modern twist to America is because he feels it has been long overdue. He says, “It pains to see that Indian street food is yet to become a mainstay of American food culture. It’s long overdue. Certain Indian foods have such great potential in America. All we need to do is present them right.”
Asked what can be the next big Indian snack in the United States, he says, “Vada pav.”
READ: Move over French charcuterie board, Indian ‘chaat’ is here (February 9, 2021)
The Maharashtrian fast food “can be immensely popular in America,” he adds. “Because of its proximity to a burger it can very well appeal to Westerners. What we need to do is present them in a format that works here like adding cheese to vada pav.”
Will dosa tacos soon finding a place in menus across America?
“Why not?” says Gupta.
“Currently, at Moghul Caterers, we are catering for weddings across the US and do a lot of destination weddings and dosa tacos are becoming one of our most popular items. We hope that more Indian dishes are able to become popular as global food.”
Covid-19: Indian, ethnic eateries in US set for big hit (April 3, 2020)