Thinking about calories is taboo on weekends, so says me! After a extremely fulfilling Asian dinner** last night at our favourite Lemongrass Cafe – Bandra, we wanted to continue the good food times into Sunday morning. And what better way to let the good times roll than with super crisp dosais!
Dosais in a Tamil Brahmin household
As good Tambram kids, we have eaten an abundance of Idlis and Dosas well into our adult life. My granny would make the batter once a week in the large wet grinder machine that occupied place of pride in the balcony. (I hear it is used by a local Udipi restaurant to whom it was sold. Gran has moved on to the small table-top version) I remember that my grandpa has bought this in Saravana stores in Madras way back in 1984 and got it to Bombay. How does my memory go so far, you may wonder. But I tie this to the fact that he had bought me one of my favourite purple pavadai with a pink border in that same Madras trip, so it is not very difficult to remember 🙂
If the batter was ground on Day 1, tiffin on Day 2 and 3 would be Idlis, Day 4 and 5 would be Dosai. The logic of this being, a less fermented batter works better to give fluffy, tasty idlis and a more fermented batter could yield crispy, ‘holey’ dosais. If the batter still hung around on Day 5, Ammama would put a pinch of soda in the batter to reduce its sourness and make Ilippuchatti dosai, what you would know as the thicker set dosa. Ilippuchatti is nothing but the tradional iron wok. A ladle of batter would be poured into a well oiled wok, not spread, but covered and allowed to bubble and cook thoroughly. This one would be the size of the palm and about 4 times thicker than a regular dosai.
Oothapams were rarely made, because cutting all those vegetables for a tiffin-meal was quite a bore chore especially when my granny used to make two other proper meals a day. I learnt the dosai making technique early on, probably due to my inclination for the creative arts or for anything to do with my hands. When I was just 10 years old, I would love to serve hot off the skillet dosais to anyone who would care to eat them. Dosai is probably the first creative thing I did in the kitchen, if you don’t count Maggi noodles ofcourse.
Rava dosai, Onion rava dosai, Neer dosai and the other variants were all discovered only when I was old enough to eat in Udupi restaurants. It was then I discovered there was a whole world of dosais other than the ones I had eaten at home. A Rava masala onion dosa soon became my favourite on the menu. Today, the page long Udupi dosai menus don’t excite me anymore. I like the simple idlis with molagapodi or the simple not-so-crisp dosai made with gingelly oil and served with a simple coconut chutney with homemade batter, for that is the true, non-commercial, authentic version of dosai, after all.
Inspiration for the Rava Dosai
Just yesterday, I had chanced upon a delightful food blog, Delectable Victuals where Sheela chronicles her kitchen experiences. I have already bookmarked several recipes, especially the vegetarian Ethiopian menu to try out soon. But what caught my eye was the simple onion rava dosai which I had never made successfully. This morning, I was craving for a sumptous breakfast but was in no mood to go out searching for a GOOD Udupi restaurant (there are 2-3 very mediocre ones near our place, but the good ones are in Matunga) or to go to Crepe Station for eggs, waffles and pancakes.
The only good option at hand was to click on the bookmarked items, and get started on the Onion Rava Dosai. The mixture of Rava (semolina) , Maida and Rice flour seemed a perfect match for great consistency of batter. The only thing I found missing was any souring agents, which I compensated by adding sour buttermilk and a bit of baking soda
Hot Onion Rava Dosa served with Sailu’s Nuvvulu Podi* and Tomato chutney
*I omitted the garlic from Sailu’s recipe
Onion Rava Dosai
Category – Breakfast, Tiffin, Tamil Brahmin cooking, Brunch
Time taken – Under an hour from preparation to making all the dosais
Makes about 10 dosais