Tuesday, April 05, 2016

D is for dosa

One of the ways in which I try to emulate my mom is to make sure that I make something different for breakfast each day. She had a plethora of breakfast items up her sleeve, picked up along the way of dad's transfers to different places. But of all the things she used to make, dosas were my favourite. I used to love dosas so much, my mom would make the following joke all the time.

"Going by your love for dosas, you're gonna get married into a South Indian family. Mark my words! Hahaha!"

(If only she knew that it was not a joke she had made, but an accurate prediction...)

"Going by that logic, I think she should get married to the pani puri wala downstairs." My cousin remarked.

I wanted to fling the dosa on my plate at him, but it was nice and crispy and I wanted to eat it.

I still love dosas, the ones at MTR being my favourite. Yumzadooza!

Anyway, fast-forward many many years... Of all my failed attempts to make stuff for Xena to eat, I can say that dosas have been the least of a failure. I started off my making tiny heart-shaped dosas and sending them off in her school snackbox. They looked very cute and seeing her classmates' interest in them, she started nibbling on them too, and soon realised that they weren't too bad.

Take a teaspoon of batter, flick left, flick right on the pan, and you have a heart!

They were quite crunchy and yum, and always a hit at play dates.

Motivated by this, I made all sorts of shapes with dosa batter, and she took quite well to them. Here are some of my 'artisanal' dosas, made by putting some batter into a ketchup dispensing bottle and squeezing away.


Plant with a flower

Fruits and Christmas tree


This, on hindsight, was not a great idea. It looked cool on the pan, but I realised that I had not thought it through. The eyes and mouth were independent of the face, and had to be flipped separately. Yikes. Disturbing. 

Soon, in spite of the tiny quantities she ate, dosa became her favourite food. You could ask her any day of the week what she wanted for dinner, and her instant reply would be 'dosa'. The big problem I have is that she eats her dosa without any filling, sambar or chutney whatsoever. I've tried real hard, but she absolutely refuses to eat anything at all with the dosa. And I'm not comfortable with the idea of a small plain dosa as a complete meal. Especially if said meal occurs on a regular basis.

So I decided to go all out to fortify the dosas I made for her, just to increase their nutrition value by a bit. One day, I had made some spinach puree to make soup for Viv and me, and I mixed some of the puree with batter to make green batter. I made green heart dosas, and she bought them!

Then, one day, she made a strange request. "Mama, can you make a pink gingerbread man dosa for me?"



Gingerbread man.


I thought for a while about how to bring these three unrelated elements together. And then inspiration hit me. I didn't want to use artificial pink food colouring so I used some beetroot instead. I made two batches of batter -- one was white and the other was pink, dyed with beetroot. 

It ended up looking more Halloween-y than gingerbread-man-y, but she ate it happily. 

I also tried to make a whale. Please note how the water spout from the blowhole ended up looking like a duck. Sheesh. But she didn't complain. I guess that was because she can't draw whales either. 

I have now taken my dosa ventures to new levels by buying a grinder (I was not entirely happy with using a blender to make batter). I didn't even know there was such a thing as a grinder, until I saw one at Viv's aunt's place in Bangalore when we were there last year. "What on earth is that giant contraption and why don't I have one?" I asked myself the moment I tasted the idlis she had made. I'm not a fan of idlis, but that seriously was the most divine idli ever. My dad-in-law, who wastes no time when it comes to anything, promptly took me to a store and I got myself a grinder. It was almost 10 kg in weight, but luckily, we had enough baggage allowance to bring it here. Now I make industrial quantities of really amazing, fluffy batter, enough for the family, friends and the 'hood. 

Now that she's a little older, I have graduated to making regular dosa-shaped dosas for her, but I still add all sorts of things to the batter - grated carrots, grated beetroots, vegetable puree, etc. I continue to serve it with some kind of a protein, such as sambar, but she rejects it without fail. Every single time. 

Well, at least the dosa is willingly going into that unwilling tummy and I'm really thankful for that. 


withacupoftea Cupoftea said...

My mom used to do this too - Make a mama duck and 3 ducklings..They had pepper for eyes. carrot for nose, a slice of tomato for that wing..and they all walked on a coriander or mint chutney field:)

Art said...

My niece loves the mickey dosa which i make for her..

And everytime she has to take a bite.. we go.. Comeone.. lets eat mickey's ear, then anohter ear.. then eyes (I put small olives for eyes).

Just imagine.. encouraging the small kid to tear apart her favourite cartoon character...

As long as the food goes in... all is well

Anonymous said...


t said...

I want those dosas! The girl one was really hilarious; I guess the right way was to make the face full of dosa and leave the eye sockets and nose etc. empty. That way, you could flip it all and still have it look like a regular girl when finished. Now there's a couple of sentences I never thought I'd say!

t said...

You know, you should start a recipe blog with all those yummy things you said you add to the batter (grated carrot, beetroot, etc.). Sure they may be simple things, but more of often than not, the idea (or veggies) are right there staring back at us when we open the fridge but can't figure out how to execute it. Over to you Sayesha!

Arun said...

What proportions do you use in your grinder for your batter?

Nandini said...

Hey Sayesha, here's a recipe for a protein-rich dosa that - bonus - doesn't even need to be fermented:


Sayesha said...

I can totally visually what you have described! Yum! :D

Hahaha! I know what you mean. When we got Xena a Nemo cake for her 2nd birthday, it was kinda disturbing to think about what we were about to do to one of her favourite characters.

Thank you! :D

That's a good idea! :) Btw, LOLing at your 'Now there's a couple of sentences I never thought I'd say!' :D


OMG my mom-in-law was just telling me yesterday that I could try making adai dosa! Thank you for the recipe! :D :D