No, dont worry!! I am not going to embark on a theological lecture on the meta and theta of life, and whether a dosa has any effect on the human sub-conscious! (If at all there was any connection like that..)
I just realised that my blog count was stuck at 13 for a long time now, and I decided that I should now release myself from the clutches of this number and get back to writing some boring stuff.
This “stuff” is related to a certain dosa-making venture I embarked upon last weekend.For the uninitiated, the lure of good work and certain official considerations brought me back to Mumbai last month. Since then, I have been surviving the grime and dust of Thane city,although a good friend prefers to call it a village, and hence by logical deduction,me a villager (I am the intelligence, aint I?). Well, let me assure you my friends, it is a well-developed city, and is one of the biggest districts in Maharashtra. More information on Thane can be found here.
Of course, the added bonus is that I’m staying alone in a nice hill-facing apartment – something I always wanted to do for the past 1 year, since I outgrew the excitement of living with other creatures (read:roomies), scheduling your routine according to their culinary and lavatory habits (although my earlier roomies would beg to differ on this!!), seeing their apparel on your bed more than your own, etc. Of course, it has its own charm, but I guess I had had enough.
Anyways, my life has been pretty smooth till now, barring a few hiccups (of both kinds). And it was one of those nice weekend Saturdays which make you feel so good about your solitary existence, that I planned to make for myself a Dosa – just to add to the nice feeling. For the less knowledgeable folks, a Dosa (Or Dosai,Dosay,Thosai,Tosay as it is called in Malaysia), is a typical South Indian snack, circular in shape and extremely friendly to your taste buds. More information on this can be found here.
It all started when I woke up a little late, groggy-eyed, and with an empty brain whatsoever. The past few weekends generally have had some plans set out for me,and I was pleasantly happy to note that I finally had a “lazy weekend” to boast of!! As the cliche goes,”an idle mind is a devil’s workshop”,turned out it was my kitchen where I was going to put this into practice. Hmm…does it mean I am a devilish cook? Food for thought…
Anyways, I went into the kitchen for my customary cup of coffee and to generally inspect the inventory. A quick glance at my resources in the kitchen,a brief analysis, and I knew what to do – I rushed towards my cell phone!! In whatever professional life I’ve had till date, I’ve realised that core competency or domain expertise is a necessity to survive in this world. And who better exemplifies this fact than the mother. I had seen a bowl of unattended milk-tending-to-be-curd,which had grown sour, and I needed some tips on what to do with it. With my limited knowledge in such alien surroundings, I was pretty sure that it had to go down the drainage. What else could you do with it – I reasoned. But better sense prevailed, and I called in the expert.
I’d like to digress here slightly – the thing with experts is that, not only do they provide simple solutions for complex issues, but also let you use your resources in the best,economical manner possible. And voila! That is what happened – I learnt that we can use this sour-milk-turning-into-sour-curd for making Dosa batter!!Now! Doesn’t it exhilarate you to think that such foul-smelling,semi-fluid,fit-for-flushing-down-the-sink material can actually be used for making such a tasty snack?!! It sure did to me!
And thats how I took the decision to make Dosas on that day.
With dreams of beautiful, circular, tasty,Dosas (what else did u think??) and what it could do to my weekend, a crash course on Dosa batter preparation, another cup of coffee, and I was all set for the battle. And to top it all,VH1 was playing all the Classics from the world of rock-music. It couldn’t have been better, as I embarked on this culinary journey.
The digression again – the thing with crash courses – they only let you feel that you know everything. Period. And my hopes crashed against the kitchen walls as soon as I saw what was in my bowl. Now all those years where I would just stand next to my mother in the kitchen rushed through my head, as I recollected the look and feel of the dosa batter.
This looks different. Yes, it definitely does. No,but I guess it was for a different kind of dosa. Hmm..what kind was that? And what kind am I making? No, dont lose hope. Be strong..take a deep breath..It definitely looks like ok.
Well, I could have called up the expert again, but I did not want to, because all my domestic failures would be attributed to my single status, if you know what I mean. So I fought on. Alone. Johann Wolfgang, the great German playwright has said “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk Alone”. Well,my soul saw hope and dosas in the distance. And that was enough motivation for me. Dispelling whatever doubts I had, I satisfied myself with whatever I had prepared – which almost looked like what I wanted it to be. Of course, the bigger test was yet to come.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I placed the non-sticky pan over the stove. (Well,why should anybody hesitate to just place a pan, you may ask? If you’ve asked this question, then you’ve missed the emotion. The idea is to convey that I was not deterred by the first little hitch)
Anyways,I had all the paraphernalia at hand for making my first Dosa,and I poured the batter on the already warm,oil-rubbed pan. As soon as it hit the landing pad, it came to life with a huge hissing sound, and a beautiful smell which felt like music to my ears and perfume to my olfactory senses!!
I knew that I had seen, heard and smelled this before – oh, the so familiar sight of a dosa simmering in the warm heat and oil! I felt a smile on my lips, and my chest broaden. It was not going to be so bad after all. I was already dreaming of what I now remember of being on a beach resort,with a beautiful girl by my side, a few cans of beer and feasting on you-know-what (A Dosa, what else!!), when my eyes registered on something.
I brushed aside the girl, and concentrated on what was happening. There were a few chinks in my dosa – simply put, it was breaking. Now, the crash course did not teach me troubleshooting, but I was not going to let my dosa crash! I poured a little more of the batter on the holes that needed to be filled. Nothing happened, and I thought it was time to turn it over. And when I did, my dreams crashed into oblivion, and my dosa on the pan!!
And then I remembered the most important tip from the course – The first one is a a pre-cursor of what is to come, unless you can repair it. And there was the clincher – repair.
I did tinker around with the batter a little more, but as you would have guessed by now,the battle was only half won (I am an optimist by nature you see). My dosas were not exactly circular in shape. In fact, they were not even remotely connected to the word “round”. Geometry would have to be re-defined and researched extensively to give a name to this, but I dont think thats relevant to the current spiel.
Anyways, I made 3 of what I later re-christened them as “Mashed Dosas with Mulgi Podi and a touch of oil” – oh,c’mon when you can see a celebrity dish out a normal Dal served in a beautiful ceramic bowl with a slice of tomato,cucumber,dhania leaves as garnishing,and call it “The Lentil Exotica” or something like that, why cant I have my own recipe?
Well, so that was my attempt at Dosa making. I suppose one can extrapolate this to a lesson learnt in life – “prepare well and hope for the best. If it does not work out well, make the best of whatever you have”. How does that sound? Cliched isnt it? Ya, lets keep dosas and life apart. I’d rather write code than get into preachdom.
But then I have started on this journey, and I dont have any intention of stopping so soon. I may have mashed dosas, watery rice, sambhar tasting somewhere between Dal and Rasam, and overcooked upma. But I shall not stop!! I shall go ahead, reach for my cell phone and call up Dominoes Pizza!