The Curse of the Indian Pancake



My family and I are under the dangerous spiral of an enticing, aromatic spell.

Do I blame it on the deep-rooted gastronomic tendencies of my ancestors or simply my South Indian roots?

A spell that has been cast by the golden brown, wafer-thin, crispy, rightly-sour concentric spirals merged into a single perfect circle sizzled on a hot griddle, drizzled with ghee and rolled to perfection; delicious by its lonesome self or dunked in thick coconut chutney or a spicy tangy lentil-based gravy called sambar.

No, I am not referring to the French crepe or Gordon Ramsay’s glamorous spicy potato breakfast pancake but under the charm of the delicious spell, I have tasted wisdom that the most amazing things in life are simple – like the humble Indian Dosa.

For those foodie fashionistas who fuss over dairy-free, gluten-free meal – this pancake that finds its first reference in the Tamil Sangam Literature in 6th century AD, that applies the science of soaking rice and legumes overnight and then fermenting the ground batter lending to its sourness as well as breaking down the starch so that it can be readily metabolized into the body, becomes the cool and tasty answer to your hunger pangs.

For diabetics, diet-freaks and my fussy children – this good-carbohydrate-rich, lightly salted, sugar-and saturated fat-free (discount the ghee) variations of the crispy dosa is a life saver.

For the lot of you who are just too posh to cook – just accidentally pour a ladle of dosa batter (readily available at all supermarkets) onto a hot griddle, lo and behold, a meal that is high on your taste-o-meter is ready.

Could I blame my children (who have trained their taste buds to cat and flower-shaped dosas in their school snack box, appeased their hungry tummies with crispy ghee drizzled variations for breakfast, dinner, a healthy snack and occasionally for lunch too) for placing an order of a Chinese variation of the dosa at a popular Chinese restaurant, leaving the confused Asian waiter in his clumsy Chinese attire to forget to sauce his English with the usual hint of Chinese.

So, up until the Chinese come up with a duplicate of the humble Indian pancake, that has found its way out of Indian kitchens into the Oxford dictionary and elevated to the status of a star street food in Europe and Americas, my family and I (and three-quarters of Indians) will continue to stay bewitched under its mouth-watering spell and proudly call it Indian!



References : Dosa Days, The Khaleej Times 




54 responses »

    • Haha! You are not alone there, Indira, may be we can conveniently blame the lack of that big broom they use to wipe the griddle surface, the absence of soda and our griddle being not as good as theirs, see it is not our fault. We mostly depend on natural forces like gravity to complete the job after a terrible job of pouring it on the not- so-perfect griddle

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I cant blame you if the ‘humble Indian dosai’ continue to tickle the taste buds of you and your family’s. there’s no other dish more healthier than the humble Indian pancake. please don’t waste your sweat over those who curse it for want of expertise to handle it. Don’t worry, they’ll learn, and learn fast, as the temptation to stomach is all-empowering!.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Makes me wanna go wherever dosa was being sold and buy myself a couple of dozens of them. I’ll save a dozen for myself and the other I’ll give to my friends, haha.
    Nicely-written Pranitha! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally identify with the calorie-conscious part. I ate dosas for the longest time whenever we went out and loved it! Still do. My mother even joked that I should marry a Udipi hotel owner for free dosas. 😂😂😂
    Hey, since you mentioned Chinese variation have you tried the dosas at the Dosa Plaza franchises? They have awesome Chinese, Mexican, etc. dosas.
    Homemade Chinese dosa recipe: Simply saute veggies like you do for Chinese food with or w/o paneer and add the regular Schezwan etc sauces. Use it as filling or simply layer the dosas thinly with them while roasting.
    They taste superb!!! My son’s favourite. Check out on Instagram. Have put a picture there. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Varsha… my friend, my sister with dosa love between us😋😉, yes that was an idea, marrying one Udipi hotel owner 😍dosa in his hand and love in his heart, wow!
      Yes been to dosa plaza, we have one here but somehow the feel of dunking those crispy pieces into hot SaM at or chutney was lost in those Schezwan ones, may be must try it at home.
      You are active in Instagram, aren’t you? Will check that. Thank you for the yummy recipe, V.
      How are holidays up till now?


    • I hope this brings about a dosa movement, Chitra, that could cause a single day where the entire Indian population would make dosa for breakfast and we step into the Guinness Book of Records for that 😉
      Hope you had a crispy dosa time this morning 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by and giving in your feedback, Chitra!


  4. That firey description of dosa just made me a little hungry! How can one write so beautifully on dosas?! I must admit, I am so astonished! I love the homemade ones, they are just mouthwatering.
    Also the last paragraph was the funniest😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “For the lot of you who are just too posh to cook – just accidentally pour a ladle of dosa batter (readily available at all supermarkets) onto a hot griddle, lo and behold, a meal that is high on your taste-o-meter is ready.”
    I kept going back to this line 😀 Love the way you write!

    Liked by 1 person

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