My pet peeve and my husband’s biggest kitchen claim to fame
If you’re a south Indian, I don’t have to explain the extent to which I heart dosas. I really do. I heart them so much, they can turn a rainy, dreary weekend into sunshine for me. They can turn a wretched work week into an absolute wonder, one crispy bite at a time. But my love for dosas goes beyond just the yumminess. There is something really satisfying about soaking pulses and rice for a a whole day, grinding it in batches late into the night, and letting it rise overnight. Yes, I’m weird like that. It seems I have maternal feelings for dosa batter, asI do not intend to have babies any time soon. But that’s not the best part. The joy of waking up the next morning, rushing to the batter to see how much and how well it has risen, takes the cake.
See, I told you I’m weird like that. But this probably has more to do with a sense of satisfaction that comes after a lot of trial error, and finally realising you might have hit upon the right combination and proportion of ingredients to get dosas that are as close to the kind you mom makes at home. And that is the kind of joy that is hard to describe, or even compare.
So try it for yourself, or better still, check if your husband can. Chances are, he might be better at it than you are, and then you can put your feet up and have him serve you crispy ghee dosas for the rest of your life.
Here is what I used:
There are a bazillion ways to make dosa batter, and every south Indian home has its own traditional way. This is how my mother makes it, and given Goa’s moist weather and weird rice, this has finally started working for me.
1 measure urad dal
3 measures rice
2 tbsp methi
1 handful toor dal
1 handful beaten rice
Here’s what I did:
No pictures to show because I decided in a moment of desperation last Saturday morning, that nothing could fix the wretched week, than a Sunday lunch of dosas. So I just got my head down and did this, without realising I ought to have been photographing it too.
In a mad rush, I soaked all of the above ingredients in sufficient water. its important to use a dish that has enough space for all this to soak and get nice and fat. Which is to say, when the rice and dal expand (which they do, ever so slightly), it needs space.
Dosa-making is all about timing for me. I’m horribly anal about getting this right. Blame it on 5-6 horrible attempts to make them before I succeeded. So this is what I did: started the soak-up at about 10 am on Saturday, and let the whole mixture soak till about 10 pm on Saturday night. Then I drained almost all the water, leaving just enough to help the grinding happen smoothly. I know, that sounds horrible. But only if you’re a perv like me, getting cheap thrills like a high-school girl.
Then I poured out the batter in a large vessel, covered it. And then, tied it with a nice fat kitchen towel. In my head this makes it nice and warm, creating a happy place for the batter to rise. Then I stuck the vessel into my microwave. No, I do not turn the microwave on. I just imagine the microwave to be a warmer place. I told you I’m anal about this process. Please feel free to simplify it for yourself.
Then I went to sleep, and say some dosa batter prayers.
When I woke up the next morning, and decided to stop being lazy and start taking pictures, this is what had become of the batter. And I was very, very pleased to see this.
I wish I had before/after pictures. But this will have to do. Then I added in some salt and mixed it up, at which point the batter does drop and flatten a bit. But I was careful not to over mix it and lose the aeration.
First he heated up the pan. I used to use a traditional south Indian sticky, oily, griddle, that gets so awesome the more you use it, and gives you the bestestest dosas. But I don’t get to use mine that often so it went out of shape a little and I have never been able to re-season it again. So I went and bought one of these Prestige Dosa Tavas, which works awesome, minus the hardwork. Next, he turns the heat down a tad and sprinkles some water on it, to bring the temperature down just a notch.
Did that make sense? Not quite? I thought so. Please look up my friends Praerna’s post on dosas here, she does a much better job of explaining it, than I can on a Thursday morning when I’m hopped up on caffeine.
Soon after, VC turns the heat up a little and lets the dosa cook and crisp.
With some oil/ghee on a spatula, he drops it in neat little circles all along the dosa.
You can go as easy or as crazy with the amount of ghee/oil you use here. I like mine with less oil, only because I can enjoy the crispiness minus the grease. The husband loves his dosas laden with ghee, which makes them much heavier to digest. And that explains why he stops and two and I can go on for my third and, sometimes even a fourth.
When the oil seeps through and the dosa has cooked enough, you’ll see it turn a lovely golden hue.
Once that is done, you can serve it up with chutney. And lemony pepper prawns. And feel massively satisfied with your labour of love your husband and you have created.