Dad, dosa and the hunt for the perfect tawa

As a kid making idli – dosa at our home was a monthly ritual. The preparations that went behind it would’ve easily made us look like a South Indian family. Mom would soak the dal and rice overnight for dosa batter and would grind it into a paste, sil-batta being her weapons of choice till dad gifted her a food processor. Her proportions for the batter were always accurate, consistency always right.

The sambhar that she makes still has the same taste as it had some 20 years ago and I still prefer it over all the Cafe Madras and Cafe Mysores. Her simple chutney made of chana dal, coconut and dahi was the star of the meal, I’ve not eaten similar chutney anywhere else.
While mom cooked her perfect sambhar, chutney and aloo sabzi for masala dosa, it was dad who donned the Chef’s hat to make dosas. His practiced hands poured a bowl of batter on the hot pan, spread it quickly making thin, crisp and even colored dosas while my sisters and I gobbled one after another. Dad’s interest in the art and technique of making dosas started in his college days in Lucknow when he and his friends used to go out to eat dosas. He always stood next to the cook observing him, watching his every move keenly.

After starting to make dosa at home dad used the non stick tawa for a very long time. One fine day he went to the market and got a special flat iron tawa made for himself. The tawa that he has is a lot bigger than the one in the video, and heavier too. His dosas got bigger and crispier on the iron tawa eventually, spoiling him for life. Now every time he comes to stay with my sister in Bombay he cribs at the lack of good tawa. Last year he searched the Kharghar market and bought one that sort of fulfilled his need, only for the time being though. He is in town again and planning on getting a heavy iron one for my sis this time. Meanwhile I took a video of him making dosa in his signature style. I don’t know how much time it’ll take me to make dosas like this but I am in no hurry since the husband is learning.

Sorry for the bad quality and too much noise in the video. I didn’t get enough time to edit it.


  1. So the thicker the tawa the thinner, crisper and more evenly coloured is the dosa 🙂 which is why all road side dosa walas have the fat iron ones. Also you dont need it to be non-stick… cos the with the butter and the heat evenly coming through the dosa should not stick. If it does then do as the dosa wala does… sprinkle some water.

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