Masala Dosa

What is it that makes the favourite South Indian breakfast dish so fascinating? Well, the third eye and I found the answer to this question at one of the 99 Variety Dosa Bandis of Bangalore. And it is more fascinating than ever now.

It’s all about the chef’s hand, they say, irrespective of who the person is.

He mixes the already prepared white coloured dose hittu (batter) with a steel ladle. Slow and steady. He turns the burner on. He continues mixing the batter, as little drops fly tangentially. One of which, a while later, makes that signature crackle as it touches the pan. He knows that it is time. He wipes the pan clean. He now takes a ladle full of batter, pours it on the pan.

The magic begins when he draws a spiral on the thick, opaque, white blob of batter using the convex side of the ladle. He now splashes a spoonful of oil on the thin, crisp, semi-opaque, perfect circle. That crackle again.

He now applies the chutney, spreads the masala* , or chopped vegetables on it.

He churns the masala thoroughly, so that it spreads evenly throughout the surface.


Now, he folds the crisp, brown delicacy and serves it with hot sambar or chutney.

Coming back to the headline question, I seem to have the answer before my eyes. You ask for a plate of dosa now and it’s served hot on in exactly two minutes. He makes a perfect circle in a jiffy. The mathematical precision of the circle is often taken for granted. One can try a hundred times and still not get it right. And it is also the perfection with which he measures and mixes the ingredients of the batter. I would not like to go to that part now, for it is a whole different story altogether.

And so, as this irresistibly tempting, unbelievably delicious plate of happiness awaits me, I delay no more. Yes, it is time to relish this little piece of absolute wonder.

*Masala usually refers to a side dish (placed inside the Dosa) made of potatoes. But in the case of this particular cart – which is one of many 99 Variety Dosa Carts in the city – Masala can mean anything that has to do with sauted or diced vegetables.

Location – Christ University Campus, Bangalore

NOTE: This article was originally posted on the Campus Diaries website under the title Masala Dosa on the 9th May 2014. © Bramhi PG


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