Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Culinary Experiments

I had a very ordinary last Sunday and didn't want it to end with an ordinary dinner so my sister and I decided to make ourselves masala dosas. We found a packet of a ready dosa mix in the refrigerator so we were saved from the effort of starting from scratch. It said 'instant mix' so we thought it won't take as long. How wrong we were!

We collected the ingredients for the masala and the dosa and started off with our little adventure. Chopping vegetables was a cake walk though, as always, the onions made me cry. Sautéing the vegetables and the spices was smooth. We left it to cook while we turned our attentions to making the dosas.

How a dosa should look.

We made the batter following the instructions on the back of the packet. The pan was heated and greased and everything else seemed to be in place. It was time to get rolling. We didn't have a cookbook so we kept following our instincts and improvising . We had seen it being made before and it didn't seem so difficult.

My sister filled the ladle with the batter and began pouring it on the pan. She followed my instructions out of the lack of choice than the sense of respect and there we were trying to pouring it from the edge to the centre, in sweeping circular motions. By the time we finished, we were happy it made a perfect circle. was time to flip it over. We tried, tried and tried, but that brown object which was supposed to be a dosa wouldn't turn. We had to literally scrape it out. By the end of it, we had burnt dosa crumbs and a terrible looking pan. Yes, we couldn't find a non-stick pan, and we really didn't think its absence would make such a big difference.

I spent another 10 minutes washing the pan trying to remove all the remains of the burnt dosa batter. We still hadn't lost neither our appetites nor our optimism so we gave it another shot. This time, we poured the batter at the centre and spread it with a ladle towards the edges, but in our attempts to get a round dosa, we ended up with a dosa with the topography of the Grand Canyon. Its thickness was so inconsistent that we didn't know whether to remove the portion that is cooked and leave the remaining part a while longer, or just remove it all and eat the cooked part. We didn't have to think to long on that front because while flipping it, we unintentionally tore it into pieces. Alas.

Now we were determined to get it right because we were getting impatient out of hunger. God just heard our prayers and we got third time lucky. We finally had a small, thick, shabby looking but edible dosa on our plates. And we had kept a good watch over the vegetables left to cook so we had at least something on our plates that tasted good. The sense of achievement was one of its kind.

Had somebody else cooked it, I would have surely made unpleasant faces while eating, but since this was my own folly, I had no one but myself to blame. For the first time, I realised how easy it is to be a critic and how difficult it is to be the creator.

7 comments:

S.Ghosh said...

hi ,
u remind me my hostel life...we had a same experience .
but the after thought is correct ...really how often we criticize without realizing that how troubled the creator wud hav been

well explained

Pallavi said...

hehe.."dosa disaster" wud be an apt name for this post :P I've had many such mishaps too. But dats how u learn..Happy cooking!

The Illuminator said...

@Ghosh
Hmmm, thank god I am not left to fend for myself when it comes to the kitchen. I would have starved.

@Pal
Yeah it would have, but I didn't want it to be too obvious from the title. Learn and how ;)

Nikita said...

Hey there,

Gosh u made me relive those moments!! When are we making the next dosa now?

Your partner in crime.

The Illuminator said...

Nw since we know how to make the dosa, it won't be truly an experiment again!! So let's innovate..how abt nachos? [;)]

Vishy said...

hehe... amazing how much we can learn from a simple experience eh?

Yeah I am in Gatech.. Where are you studying/working?

The Illuminator said...

Yes, couldn't have agreed more. I am your junior from VESIT. Final year electronics. Keep visiting..