RIP DOSA AND IDLY – WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ARTIFICIAL FOOD
Few months ago I wrote my experience in a vegetarian restaurant in Gandhi Nagar, Bangalore. For those who missed it, I am adding it here.
I have ordered for a plain “dosa”. I couldn’t eat that dosa fried in oil, served with sugar-loaded sambar and non-coconut chutney. Later I found that dosa batter was made of following constituents: rice flour, maida, sugar and soda powder or yeast so that it will ferment. It doesn’t contain black gram at all.
A flashback: There was a “Shenoymam’s Tea Shop” some 400 meters away from my house in the village during my childhood. When dosa batter is put in hot tawa, we get aroma at home! (Still it brings water in my mouth). Just like the way we make it in our home, hotels were using pre-soaked rice-black gram mix grinded later which will naturally blend and ferment – for the next day tasty dosa or idly. You can eat nice and soft dosa with hot sambar made up of farm fresh vegetables. Your parents or grandparents might remember those days! End of flashback.
I paid for the dosa without eating it. The hotel manager told me to order something else if I didn’t like dosa. I told him: “See, at home, we use rice and black gram to make the dosa batter.”
His reply: “Sir, we also use the same grains at home. But that is not feasible in hotels. The process of making batter consumes electricity. Black gram is expensive. You have to soak rice and black gram well in advance – that involves manpower. All are expensive affairs. So we use this short-cut. I don’t think any hotels in the city can provide you the dosa that you need.” Hotels add extra oil and sugar to cover-up the dis-taste.
Recently, I went to a hotel in Cochin (Ernakulum). While I was doing my graduation, I used to go to that hotel. The owner (who was around 40s then) was very friendly with me. He is no more. His son is running the hotel (bit modernized) now.
After initial chitchats, I asked him to get me Chapattis and Veg Kurma. He said: No Uday, you don’t take it…”
“It is made of maida. You don’t like it, do you?” As you know maida consists of harmful chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and alloxen that can cause all serious diseases. Now-a-days of restaurants and bakeries use only maida.
“Ok, then I would like to order for dosa”
“Hmm…It also contains maida, the remaining rice from afternoon meals and baking soda…” he admitted.
“Why? Your father was a good man…”
“Time has changed. Everything is 100 times expensive today. How can I make a living without moving For further reading please check the book : TIDBITS: From The Life of Pai
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