Few months ago I went a restaurant in Gandhi Nagar Bangalore and 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 powder, maida, sugar and soda powder or yeast so that it will ferment. It doesn’t contain black gram at all.
((There was a “Shenoy Tea Shop” 400 meters away from my house 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 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!))
I paid for the dosa without eating it. The hotel manger asked 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 thing at home. But that is not feasible in hotels. The process of batter making consumes electricity. Black gram is expensive. You have to soak rice and black gram well in advance – that involves manpower. All are expensive things. So we use this short-cut. I don’t think any hotels in the city can provide you the dosa that you need.” Oil and sugar would cover-up the dis-taste.
I feel sad about today’s kids – they will never ever experience (in their life) the aroma that was coming from Shenoy Tea Shop. And today’s rice and black gram that contains full of fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides do not have that taste and natural aroma.
I can hear kids say: “We have pasta, pizza, burger available at McDonalds – so who cares for dosa and idly????”
© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at [email protected]