The South Indians’ undying love for rice gave the world idli and dosa. Love or hate them, you can’t ignore the unshakeable place of these iconic dishes in Indian cuisine Their ingredients are almost identical, yet they are at opposite ends of the texture spectrum
the former is fluffy soft, the latter crackling crisp. It can, however, be quite a kitchen nightmare to turn out a perfectly crisp dosa. Here are a few easy steps and cheats to get your dosa crackling crisp:
1. Ignore the purists
There are those who will tell you that the secret lies in getting the ingredients in the batter right. Ignore them as you would a bunch of boys discussing Premier League football. Readymade dosa batter is the minimum fuss way to go. It is available almost everywhere, preparing its consistency properly is the key. If the boys still complain, ask them to go home to Mommy.
2. Pre-heat your pan
Make sure it is a flat non-stick pan. Heat it as high as you can without smoke rising from it. If there is smoke, turn it down a little and throw a little water on it and wait (and enjoy the steam). Do not put oil or ghee on the pan first. This might have been the reason your previous attempts ended in an uneven, sticky and uncooked goop.
Cheat it – Skin and cut an onion in half and rub the flat side all over the pan, this helps with improve non-stickiness and ensures
3. Consistency of the batter
Pour half of your readymade batter (or the painstakingly fermented one) into a deep bowl. Get a metal ladle. Add small amounts of water (20-30 ml each time) stir in circles, take some out and pour it back in.
Trick: Check for consistency each time, it should be like a creamy milkshake so look for a few bubbles that burst when you pour it back. Add salt to taste. Make sure it doesn’t get so runny that it goes off in all directions on your pan, if this happens add some more batter from the pack. Stir and try again.
4. Pour, spread and wait
Take your milkshake-like batter and gently pour it in the middle of your pan and let it spread a little on its own. If your batter is right it will make a perfect circle. Now place (not press) the ladle in the middle and spread it in circles outwards without lifting it off until tiny holes start appearing (again only if the batter is consistent). Drizzle oil/ghee (don’t spread like in a parantha) evenly on the dosa and wait till it turns brown. Use the thinnest spatula you can find, and flip or fold the dosa. Rub the onion all over (again-no oil/ghee first) and repeat Step 4.
After drizzling oil on the dosa, grate some cheese over it (sprinkle some seasoning if you like). Wait for the dosa to become crisp (the cheese will melt), fold it in half, and serve.
Finely chop onions with salt to taste. Put half a measure of batter more than usual and spread the onion evenly over the dosa immediately after and press it in. Drizzle oil/ghee, wait for the crisp and flip the dosa, let fry for 15 seconds and serve.
Beat eggs like you would for an omelette (salted with or without adding veggies and seasoning). Spread a thin layer evenly on the dosa after drizzling oil on it. Wait for the crisp and the eggs to harden a little a little oil and flip the dosa. Let fry for 15 seconds and serve.
There are many other additional toppings like mutton keema, bacon and salami you can experiment with. Be it for sating your hunger or making a good impression, a perfect dosa always hits the spot. Happy crisping!