Dosa Disaster!

My mother makes really good South Indian food.  So does my mother-in-law.  My father also loves making and having South Indian cuisine every weekend.  Idli, dosa, various kinds of chutneys, pesarattu, vada, sambar, rassam, and I don't know a lot of other names.  It's his love for all of that after having lived in Hyderabad for 20 years.

Unfortunately, I didn't learn cooking some good South Indian food from any of them.  However, today I thought of surprising my husband with some dosa and sambar for lunch.  The sambar came out delicious, as per the recipe, but the dosa was a disaster for me.  I thought it would be as easy as making pancakes, but dosa-making, let me rephrase, perfect dosa-making is an art, people.

The art of spreading the dosa so it forms a perfect circle and a single thin layer which can easily be rolled up as soon as it gets that beautiful perfect light golden-brown shade is a skill.  Heating it just until the right time before you scrape the sides so it doesn't break, at just until the right amount of crispiness, 
 just drizzling the right amount of oil so it doesn't get too greasy, and dropping just the right amount of batter so it's neither too thick nor too thin flaky layer, all at the right constant temperature.  It needs talent.

Okay, I may be exaggerating - it probably just needs the right ingredients, correct proportions, and good amount of practice :-)


Want to see how my dosa turned out?







Sad! But I have no shame in sharing my dosa-disaster with the world.  Because wait up world, I'll learn it well and come back with the art.  And with the flawless dosa  ;-)

Well, we're not perfect.  And we all go through not-so-great moments in the kitchen.  So, tell me your favorite disaster! :D


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37 comments:

  1. Look like

    1) Batter is thin
    2)Ratio of rice to urad dal is not correct.
    3) Heat the tawa well and brush with oil and then add the batter.

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    Replies
    1. Ummm, yeah I think my batter was thin. I must try ratios from some other recipe now. Thankssss Swathiiii!!!! :) :)

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  2. Actually for non stick pan, spread the batter without oiling the pan, otherwise the cooked batter will stick to the spoon itself and not spread properly. From the picture we can see that the pan is not sufficiently heated. Heat pan such that when a few drops of water are sprinkled, they should dance and dissappear with a hiss.

    For first timers it is better to try for soft and thicker dosas, spread batter a little thick, sprinkle oil, cover with a domed cover and cook one the first side, the other side can also be browned. Keep the spatula immeresed in a bowl full of water if the batter is sticking because of some imbalance in the rice dal ratio or quality. It will help a lot when turning over the dosas. Well these are the tips I can remember offhand from Meenakshi ammaal's samaiththu paar. and from my experience also.

    My worst moment was when I tried to bake a 1 kg cake in a 1/2 kg pan, The batter overflowed, and burnt at the bottom of the oven, the house smelled for days, and my daughter who was looking forward to my first Planned cake was severely disappointed, this happenned years ago, I gave the OTG away, still not tried baking anything. Before that I had just put a cup of flour, sugar,one egg, butter, baking powder and vanilla essence in a blender, whizzed and poured in a pan. no measurements nothing, it came out perfectly. next time i measured, weighed and used the whisk, and waited with bated breadth, Waah.

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    1. Oh Fathima, your advice is really helpful! I made a lot of those mistakes that you mentioned - but will make a note of all your suggestions for the next time!!
      And yay, thumbs up for being a sport & sharing that moment!! :) :) :) :)

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  3. I think may be
    1-May be the pan was too hot or not sufficently hot
    2-you presssed the laddle hardly while spreading the dosa.you have to spread gently ,otherwise the batter comes off from the pan and stick to the laddle
    3-the batter may be too thin.
    now waiting for your perfect dosa pics dear :)

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    Replies
    1. 1. Yes; 2. Yes; 3. Yes.
      Anjana, it's amazing how you all are figuring out the errors I made!
      And thanks for the encouragement!! :) :) :) :)

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  4. Oh dearie, My biggest disaster was my dosa. It always came out lumpy, smelt of raw rice and tasted like rubber on a plate. I wash the rice well till water runs clear and then soak it along with urad dal. I use the same water to grind it. Also make sure the pan is well hot and oiled.

    I am announcing Valentines Special – my 1st blog event and a Giveaway.!. Please do be a part of it and send in your recipes..! :)

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    1. Awww! Sounds like dosa goes wrong for everyone the first time!
      Thanks for sharing, Ancy! :)

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  5. iOh dear... Thats a serious disaster... Mine was my first poori... You will get to it soon...

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  6. Ohh so sad..but for sure you will make a perfect Dosa some time..

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    1. Yeah, hopefully, thanks Anu! :)

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  7. i've made these mistakes too before.. all the best.. and hope to see some more fun pictures of smiling dosas! congratulations on the book too!

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    1. Hehe! Thanksss much, Richa!! :)

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  8. LOL that's hilarious. A dosa comic strip. :D Thanks for the giggle.

    I'm sure with persistence you'll be making delicious, WHOLE, crispy, golden dosas soon. :)

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    1. Hehe, glad you liked :D
      And thanks for the encouragement, Susmitha! :)

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  9. It looks like it didn't ferment well either. There are not many holes. Batter looks like that of the neer dose (in kannada) which is only rice and no dal is used. If you use 1 cup rice (use long grain, not basmati),1/4 cup urad, ferment well, it should come without problems. Don't make the batter very thin. You can make thin dosas with thick batters too.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Champa.
      I used 1 cup Rice : 1/2 cup Urad Dal but yeah, the batter didn't double in volume. Guess you're right it didn't ferment well either.

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  10. making dosa is not at all difficult.
    it is all about ratio or rice and dhal.
    the pan should hot but not smoking hot. keep a damp kitchen towel handy to wipe the pan if it gets too hot. Right temp will give the golden colour.
    first try to spread a small ladleful of battle starting from the middle of the pan without retracing. otherwise the dosa will not have those innumerable holes.

    4:1 ratio of rice and dhal, 1 or 2tsp of fenugreek seeds, fistful of chanadhal and poha will give a perfect dosa.

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    1. Many thanks, Madhura! I've gotta learn from you experts! :)

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  11. Nish, I think the reasons could be the following -

    1. The pan was not hot enough - when i first started making dosas, the first dosa would always be a big disaster. It took me some time to realise that I probably did not heat the pan enough. Next time just put 1 or 2 drops of water (literally throw the drops on the pan) they should HISSSS. That means the pan is hot enough.

    2. The dosa needed some more cooking time - Sometimes we get very impatient standing in front of the hot pan. We think we've been standing for a long time while actually it would probably have been just a minute or 2. Every dosa has a different cooking time. So before you proceed to remove the whole dosa, just lift one corner slowly and look underneath. It should have browned a little bit If not, put it back and wait for a couple more minutes.

    3. Too much water. Some dosa batters are thick and some are thin. I guess it comes with experience how much water to put, but stick to thicker batters till you get the hang of it.

    Hope this helps :).

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    1. Thank you so much for your inputs, Aparna!! Really appreciate it! :)

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  12. it was fun readin g this.. m didsaters in the kitchen were mostky chapathi related...sometimes they were too hard.. and being married into a north indian household.. the way of making rotis were different. At my place we used to make teh chapathis entirely on teh tawa.. thats a parath in the north and in N house tehy used to make rotis .. partially on teh tawa andthen directly on stove top.. i just could not get that... and moreober they had rules of which side wud go to teh buner firs.. god.. taht would drive me mad... really...My Bp must have shot up in those first days.. no wi can manage, i think so.. have not made in that style for a lobg tiem.. luckily my hubby loves teh south idnian style chaathi.. the shapes sometimes is an india map.. now better .
    even i hae had touch times with teh dosha... but now i am an expert.. ehhehe.. i am sure u must have mastered teh dosa by now!!1:)

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    1. Hahahaha, I enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing, Renu. Even I had a hard time with rotis when mom used to force me to practice cooking before marriage. And the days it was a perfect round and puffed up, I used to scream with excitement :D Ah, those days! :)

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  13. Hi there! I found your blog searching for a solution to a wet dosa batter! I am hoping you or your readers can help me. I am making my first batch as I type. I soaked the rice, dal, and methi seeds last night. This morning I started to grind them in my blender with some water. I forgot that I had half-ed the recipe yesterday, and used almost the full amount of water! :O I used 1.5 c. rice, 1/2 c. urad dal, 1/8 c. mung dal, 1/2 T of methi seeds and around 1.5 c. water! Eek! The batter is fermenting now. Is there any hope for this batter? Or will it be too wet to use tomorrow? I wasn't sure what I could add to thicken it up. Also, it smells sour already, is that okay? Thank you for any help!

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    1. Hi Rachel, I'm no expert at dosa (as yet!), but here's what my friends have to say:
      - If you've added twice the amount of water while grinding, add few teaspoons of rice flour right now to help thicken it, mix it well with your hands, then continue to leave it to ferment. (I hear mixing with hands makes a good batter). Dosa might just not turn out crispy with too wet batter.
      - Some suggested adding few teaspoons of fine sooji (semolina flour), not the coarse, to thicken the batter, but the taste will alter.
      - For dosa batter, after fermentation even if it's a little wet it's okay; only idli cannot be made out of a watery batter.
      - When it ferments, batter does smell a little sour. Shouldn't smell too sour though, else the dosa will also taste sour. Place batter in refrigerator only after it has fermented.

      Hope that helps dear! Let me know :)

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    2. Hi Nisha, Thank you so much for the help! I decided to not add anything to the batter because I didn't have rice flour on hand. The batter actually thickened up as it fermented. It had a consistency of [American] pancake batter. I'm not sure if that is good, or if it *should have been* thicker, like bread dough.

      I made the dosa tonight, and they turned out great! I used an electric wok, and I made them pretty thick. My husband loved them and the sambar I made with it. Many thanks to you and your readers (their comments helped a lot)! I am glad I added too much water now, because I found your wonderful blog! Can't wait to try your homemade paneer! :)

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  14. oh this happens with me all the time.....well after reading above comments , m gonna try it again now..lets see how it comes up.....
    well another thing is practice makes man perfect....it took me 6 cake disasters , nd now m pretty good with cakes.. :-)

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    1. You're right :) Good luck with your dosa!

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  15. Hey u are not the only one making that kind of dosa.
    Today was my 4th time and results were same.....bad dosa.
    But if I compare with my first time it was much better.

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  16. I made dosas for the first time yesterday -- made the batter with a blender. It was thin but as the dough was consistent, the dosas came out intact.

    For all this, I looked at several dosa batter recipes -- the rice:dal ratios were quite different, some suggest 3:1, 4:1 (my choice), 5:1. Fenugreek is optional. Ok, so far so good.

    But, I am yet to see a recipe that gives some idea, any idea, of how much water to add while grinding and mixing to get a very slightly grainy flowy paste. Typically, they say, add water little by little and that you will learn from experience. Too vague.

    Some recipes do warn that if you add too much, it will be thin and runny, and if it is too thick, it may not ferment well. I wish the experts who write the recipes at least give a minimum (or maximum) number of cups of water.

    I don't doubt their expertise, just that the recipes need more clarity. Imagine that you are sending your recipe to a Martian who has no clue about dosas and has none of the free floating cultural culinary knowledge that you have.

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    1. I see what you mean. I faced the same thing when I started to learn to cook.
      And I will definitely keep your comment in mind whenever I post recipes :)

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  17. It was soothing to see these pics.rite now m in kitchen fighting with dosa spread......
    Gonna try again.

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  18. Though I agree with your answers, I also disagree that batter ratio, fermentation etc are the only issues. I bought a brand new non stick tawa but half of the batter sticks to the spoon. The same batter works perfect on my older pan. I am tryong everything but not successful in making perfect dosa. I ended per reading this but I am still not helped. One day when I figure out I will come back :)

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  19. did you figure out what went wrong???

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