Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fluffy, Crisp or Stuffed?

I am of course, talking about the Dosai which can be eaten Fluffy (as in an Uttappam or Set Dosai), Crispy (as in a sada or masala dosai) or Stuffed (onions for the simple minded - and then you can explore your imagination).

I for one, can eat dosai 24/7 and I dont think there is a better meal than a dosai atleast for breakfast and a snack.

The dosai kall as we call it is usually made of iron - but going by the name, perhaps at some point, it was probably made of stone. Non stick griddles are for amateurs - and are no fun IMO. Dosai mixes dont even count. If you want the real thing go for iron griddles and iron or steel ladles (or whatever they are called) and ground batter (not cut in a mixer). Hoping you get the basics right, lets go right into the actual mechanics of the three types.

The fluffy dosai is simpler to make - if you get your tava and batter right. Get the stone hot, spread a bit of oil and sprinkle a little water - hear it the sizzle and spread the oil water mixture gently or with some violence (and a broom if you want to replicate the hotel dosa chef). How to spread the dosai?  Use a ladle (chattuvam) or for added effect, use a small kinnam (Tamil) or wati (Maharashtrian) or bowl. And spread the batter, not so thin, but to medium thickness (5mm?). The flame should not be too hot or it will singe and not cook - if too low, it will not cook soon enough. This is more of intuition and may take a couple of tries. Pour a bit of oil around and over the dosai, turn it over after a minute or two and cook again for a minute or two. Your fluffy dosai is ready.

The crisp one is tough to crack. Spread the batter as thin as you can over a medium flame. Pour a bit of oil (or if you were a Bangalore hotel chef, douse it in so much oil that it almost deep fries itself) and wait patiently till the brown of the dosai shows up on the other side (the side facing you). The dosai has to be thin so that it needs to be cooked only on one side - and the flame just right or the dosai will be a black carbon mess very soon. And you will know when it is done. A gentle push under the dosai and the dosai pretty much lifts itself up and when you fold, it wil be as crisp as a fresh newspaper. Some places roll it up like a newspaper - some places make a cone - some as a semi circle - some triple folded with the masala hidden inside - and some cut it into longitudinal pieces after making it a semi circle or a triple fold.

The stuffed one - well, it is thinner than the fluffy but thicker than the crispy-and it can be stuffed with anything in your imagination. Onion, coconut or tomato (or a combination of the three with chillies). Spread some chutney over it while cooking itself. Put cheese inside. Well, you get it, you can stuff with your imagination (not literally). Or if you dont want to stuff it - try it with anything. Cholle, Masala, Rajma, Morkootan and Rasam, any spicy vegetable - kurma, or pav bhaji (my favourite). The Dosai is one of the most versatile things to eat! Go ahead, bite into one!



Too intricate, subtle and artistic to make. Can any please recommend an authentic dosai place near Mission Viejo/Aliso Viejo? After reading your blog, I cannot wait to hear the sizzle of the rava dosai and the fragrance! God, the wait is killing me!

nikhimenon said...

i love dosa....!