How to 'train' a dosa tava aka dosaikkal (தோசைக்கல்)
Definition of a few terms for the uninitiated:
Dosa: A thin, light pancake (crepe) made from a batter of rice and black gram lentil. Predominantly a breakfast / tiffin item in south India.
Dosaikkal: Iron pan (tava) on which dosas are made. Tamil - தோசைக்கல்.
Roti / chappati: Indian bread made from a dough of wheat flour.
Tava: Pan on which Indian bread (roti/chappati) is made.
What's all the fuss about...
Reading the above definitions you might have figured out the following relationship:
Dosaikkal:Dosa as Tava:Roti
Now you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Actually things were all fine as long as north Indians and south Indians lived their separate lives with their own culture and cuisine. National integration / globalization led to a fusion of cultures, which included cross fertilization of cuisines, among other things. North Indians started marrying South Indians and vice versa (a la Two States: The Story of my Marriage, or, Two Fates: The Story of my Divorce). South Indians started making chappatis and North Indians started craving for dosas. Further imagine the daily stress of the North Indian bahu (daughter-in law) having to listen to her Madrasi husband constantly talk about his mother's dosas. All said and done, while she might make the softest rotis, the art of making crisp, light dosas done to a golden brown would have been beyond her.
Let me not ramble further and get down to brass tacks (I love clichés). This intermingling of cultures lead to people using the dosaikkal for making rotis and the tava for making dosas. Is there a problem there? Not really, because the pan used for making dosas and rotis are identical, except for the fact that you can never make a dosa on a roti tava.The dosa batter would stick to the tava and refuse to come off when done, leading to tattered, crumpled bits dosa. If you don't believe me, try it.
That's what this hub is all about. There is a process by which an ordinary tava can be converted into dosa tava. I searched the web and the dictionaries for an English word that describes this process: curing, tempering, moulding, several words turned up, but none seemed to correctly describe the process. Finally it hit me, training, a tava has to be trained into becoming a dosaikkal, because you'd have to make (waste) about a dozen tattered, sticky/burnt dosas on the untrained tava, before it becomes trained. In fact the Tamil word for the process is பழக்கறது which loosely translates as training.
All you need to do is
- Place a tava on a lighted stove
- add a few drops of cooking oil on the tava
- take an onion
- cut it across through its middle
- rub the heated tava with oil, several times over, using the cut-side of the onion
- you're done, the tava is now dosa-ready.
Now pour the dosa batter on the tava and roll off golden brown, crispy dosas.
I'd love to hear from readers if they were successful in training their tavas.
PS: If you think that this too much of a bother, or you are culinary-challenged, just use a non-stick tava for dosas. ;)