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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Udaylal Pai

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6 Responses

  1. prathiba says:

    Hi udayji,
    I have come across such a thing. its not just me, most of us know this. Here we have a problem, instead of just stating problem, we need to find solutions.(this is what i have got replies from many). Out of food consumption – even if we cook food at home, only 20% consists of veggies(if we grow them ourselves). the rest is rice, wheat, lentils, milk… so should i think, something is better than nothing? i really am not getting any answer![not so intelligent 🙁 ] answer could be in individual & community awareness only. Greed has taken over us! population is also big problem. as you said, satisfaction as a word is a big challenge. immitating west seems so easy n stylish.. dont know… no answer again. i will still keep trying till i get answer. please sir do you have any answer?


    It is really eye opener.

  3. Arcanjoe Almeida says:

    Too shocking…. but very informative…

  4. Radhika kartic says:

    It’s shocking to hear.My daughter orders only for dosa when we go to eat out.Must eat only the home made food.By doing so we can assure ourself of lower harmful chemical intake .

  5. ramaravi says:

    Its shocking..
    Better to avoid eating outside.

  6. Mohanraj Thangarasu says:

    I came here to leave a comment in appreciating the stuff you shared. Very beautifully narrated. Useful post. Bookmarked to shared with friends and family members. I have been sharing the similar kind of thought with my family. Happy to see someone has realized the same.

    I am going to check your website regularly. You already won a fan!

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