Thursday, July 05, 2007

Failed Mission

Till last month I used to pride myself on being an expert in making dosais. In fact dishing out paper thin dosai was the first culinary skill I mastered when I became a full time home maker. So much so I would offer to make dosais at my friends’ places whenever we had a get together.

“How do you manage to make them so effortlessly” my good friend Meera would ask.

I’d be gloating from within but in the most humble tone I’d reply that it was no great achievement and with a little effort she’d be able to master the art herself. She was never confident and I’d offer to make them for her family when time permitted. Those were days when I was not working and TV had not made its entry into our homes. This was a form of entertainment and I would help Meera grind the batter in my manual grinder and prepare masala dosais for her family on many a Sunday evenings. To my children those were days when they could run up and down the stairs, scream at the top of their voices and behave like prisoners on parole. I do long for those days when there was a healthy interaction between neighbors and we could walk in unannounced as and when we pleased. My children practically grew up in their house.I sometimes wonder when it all changed. Ours is a small township and Durga pooja was an occasion when the entire town would dress up and visit the various pandals along with their families. Meera’s sons would come running to show me their new dress and the joy one saw in their eyes when I approved of their appearance and their pride when I remarked how smart they looked……… well those days of simple pleasures are never to come again.

They say pride goes before a fall. But having cooked for the past 34 years I take it all for granted and the sense of achievement when a preparation turned out well is no longer there. So when I went to Trichy I offered to make dosais.

It was a hot snd sultry evening and the lady of the house welcomed my help and leaving me to deal with the batter she joined the rest of the family in the portico.

I was glad that she had a non stick tawa and with great confidence I poured the batter and started spreading it. But wait a sec….. I thought I was supposed to make dosais and the batter had rolled itself into a misshapen lump that looked more like an idli than a dosai.

‘The batter is too thick’ I thought and added a little water and tried again. This time it started flowing even before I could spread it and when I tried to give it a shape it looked as if it has been nibbled at by a rat. I was not the one to giveup easily. ‘The proportion must be wrong so let me add some rice flour’ I thought. I looked for the rice flour and was about to add it to the batter when my cousin in law came to check if I needed help. Seeing my plight she said that I was perhaps taking a long time to spread the batter.

“start spreading it immediately and don’t over heat the tawa” she said.

I poured another ladleful and spread it as if I had enrolled for a marathon. This time the batter rolled up into four lumps instead of one and parts of it remained stuck to the ladle. I was convinced that the quality if rice had something to do with my bad performance. Luckily I did not air out my expert opinion.

“Let me try” offered my cousin in law. I was kind of sure that she would not succeed where I had failed. But no!! Here she was spreading out the same batter with practiced ease into a paper thin dosai while I stood watching like a fool. How do I convince her that in my own set up I do a good job of it and that her cousin (my husband) is not starved to death in my hands? I give up. Any suggestions?

20 comments:

kurrodu said...

G'ma, I have had plenty of such experiences. Most of the time, it is over self-consciousness to make it right that makes me fail. Anyway, Will the quality of rice affect free flow of batter on the pan? I have always had problems in spreading the batter over the pan. I love paper dosas that my mom makes. I occasionally get it right but mess it up most of the time. May be I should try experimenting with other varieties of rice.

Kowsalya Subramanian said...

If you had been doing it on the old "Dosai Kal" then it may turn out difficult for pan. For eg - my mother superb dosais on the old dosai kal whereas i can make it perfect only on Tawa. the conventional way spreading the batter on dosai kal - from sides to centre doesn't work well on pans

The Kid said...

Maybe you were a victim of the "first dosai curse"!

If you had tried it the third time, you would have got it too! :D

Altoid said...

:D Its the location HHGMom, your speciality is making good dosas in Jamshedpur!!! Elementary my dear Watson!

Usha said...

Happens, happens all the time to me too...these kallus have a mind of their own!sigh...

Itchingtowrite said...

me to faced such things.. the lumps are annoying and the edges getting stuck on the tawa and not soming out even worse

Just like that said...

Happens to me too, esp when in a hurry, and when I have guests (mostly from my husband's family- when its mine, everything goes perfect!). I spend more time on noisily scraping out the miserable remains, than on tumbling out the thin dosas which I make to perfection when we are alone!

Its all on the whims and fanccies of the kallu!!
I have no clue as to what to change in the batter.
3:1, rice:urad dal is what I use, with a pinch of fenugreek thrown in.

Mahadevan said...

To get a reasonably good shape, I keep the size of the Dosai, small. If I try to increase the dia, I always tear the Dosai. On the same Dosaikal and the same batter, my wife gets a perfect shape and a larger size. Therefore, I think the secret lies in deftly spreading the batter. If the water content in the batter is too high, it would be sticky and if it is too less, one would not be able to spread the way one wants.

Gauri said...

What an uncooperative Dosai Kallu you landed HHG ? :-)

Happened to me too. In HK I normally effortlessly turn out those paper thin dosas. Last Dec while we were in Bombay on holiday I offered to make the dosas at my mom's place while my mom and MIL caught up on stuff and no two guesses - God what a struggle it was - getting the Dosas right I mean !!

WhatsInAName said...

Well, I thought I was the worlds most inconsistent cook and now am glad to see you and many more agreeing.
Even my chapatis ditch me at the right (or is it wrong) moment :)

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
I am glad that I am not alone in messing up my dosa preparation.Such a relief to see that it is normal to lump up the batter once in a way.But as has been rightly pointed out these inanimate objects like the tawa and ladle have a mind of their own and can spring to life at the most inopportune moments.Food for thought isn't it?

eve's lungs said...

Dont worry - perhaps it was the non stick tawa that was the villain! adid you try it out back home? Like bad hair days I also have my bad ladle days when nothing on the stove goes right !

eve's lungs said...

Dont worry - perhaps it was the non stick tawa that was the villain! adid you try it out back home? Like bad hair days I also have my bad ladle days when nothing on the stove goes right !

Monika said...

he he he... happens... invite her to ur house and make her some nice crisp dosas... after all luck cant always fail one

rebel said...

It is the first dosai nuisance. It always happens.. The third one comes out perfectly! I ve seen it sooooooo many times...

A Little Light said...

gmom!u should have tried it another time..i can understand how embarrasing it would have been!

Hip Grandma said...

eve's lungs:why do these bad days happen just when they shouldn't?

monika: No chance.Those people never step out of tamilnadu.

rebel:No the third one too did not come out well.Bad luck i suppose.a little light:yes it was an awful situation

the mad momma said...

to spare myself all this trouble i dont cook :p seriously.. i run a great house on a great budget etc... but i hate cooking and i only offer to do chopping of veggies and setting of the talbe when i visit people!

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Somehow only the good old heavy dosai kal that my mom got me works out. I can't make them on the non-stick tawas at all.

Hip Grandma said...

madmomma:Give me your hand.In a male dominated society such as ours your admission that you hate cooking is commendable.don't bother about those who look upon you as abnormal.My post 'just ten minutes' will explain why.

IQA:I am also thjinking of putting my 4 kg weighing kallu to good use.it is definitely better than the non stick tawa.