Troubleshooting Dosa-Dosa mistakes and remedies

Troubleshooting DosaTroubleshooting Dosa-Dosa mistakes and remedies

One of friend at work was telling me that I should start writing about Troubleshooting. I wondered and asked her What!!!! She explained that most of the time, people are aware about the recipe and do try out. But handling food disaster requires mastery. Half the time, we wonder what went wrong. With no clue to set things right, often we feel demotivated to try new recipes are tips.

Handling something going wrong is not easy and requires skill. So is the remedy too. While there is no one shot remedy for all food disasters, I try to detail out the ones that I use often in my kitchen.

Here is the Troubleshooting guide on Dosa. Problems on Dosa is due to two main factors. One is the tawa and its heat and second one is on the batter. Will explain about it in the post. If you have any other problems in dosa, do let me know. I shall be happy to help you.

Problem #1: Dosa sticking to the tawa

Dosa sticks to the tawa due to two reasons.

  1. There is no lubricant in the tawa.
  2. First is that batter is poured in the tawa when the tawa is not at right temperature

Prior to placing the tawa on the burner, spread a mix of 1 tsp of oil with 1 tsp of water uniformly in the tawa.

Whether it is Cast Iron tawa or non-stick tawa, uniform heating of tawa is important for good dosa. Heat of tawa can be checking by sprinking water on the tawa. Water should splutter, which signifies right heating. Spriking water also ensures that heat is normalized on all points in tawa.

Problem #2: Torn Dosa

If you had spread dosa evenly in the tawa, and still dosa is getting torn because heat is not spread uniformly in the tawa. As told above, check the heat by sprinking water in the tawa and more importantly, for every dosa rotate the tawa to ensure even heating. This problem will occur if your tawa is thin. Thick cast iron tawa like what I have, does not pose this problem to you.

Problem #3: Dosa not thin

Thin dosa requires batter to be right consistency. Batter should be pouring consistency and should not be thick. If batter is thick, add few spoons of water to make the batter pouring.

Problem #4: Dosa not crisp

Crispiness in dosa is a function of Urad dal to Rice ratio. Typically for dosa, I use ¾ of cup of urad dal to 4 cups of Idly rice (parboiled). If urad dal is more dosa would become soft (and yummy) but not crispy. To correct this, you can mix few spoons of rice flour in water and add this to the batter.

Another method is to soak a spoonful of Sabhudana (Javarisi) along with rice and gring together. This will ensure the dosa turns crisp.

Problem #5: Dosa batter is Sour

Usually dosa batter stays fresh for 3 days and after that it turns sour. To fix the problem, hotels add a pinch of cooking soda. But in my house, I add 1 teaspoon of milk to 1 laddle of batter. Milk would remove sourness from the batter and will make dosa golden brown.Do not add more, else dosa would stick to the tawa.

Refer to tips below for additional details.

Problem #6: Dosa not getting holes

Holes in the dosa are very important element in the dosa. It is the holes that make the cooking of dosa even. It could be problem in the batter or in the method used to spread dosa. The batter should be rightly fermented for you to get holes. Simply leave the batter in warm temperature for 10 minutes and try again. Also dosa has to be spread evently “Right the first time”. If you attempt to spread it multiple time with the ladle, you will be filling the holes with another round of batter.

Problem #7: Dosa with fresh ground batter

Dosa batter needs to ferment atleast 4-5 hours before you can make proper dosa. Incase you want to use the batter urgently, you can do the following.

  • You can add buttermilk in the ratio of 1 tablespoon to 1 laddle batter and leave it for 15 minutes. And then if you make dosa, dosa will be crisp and tasty.
  • If you have old batter, you can mix the old batter and freshly ground batter. 15 minutes later the batter would be ready for making crisp dosa.

Tips for Dosa:

  1. The ratio of Urad dal to Idly rice is very important. I use ¾ cup of Urad dal to 4 cups of Idly rice. This ratio needs to be adjusted depending on the quality and freshness of Urad dal. Pick Urad dal not more than 3 months of age. Older the Urad dal, harder would be the batter.
  2. Dosa batter has to be finely ground, where as batter for Idly can be a little coarse. If you are using Idly batter for dosa, I suggest you give it a whisk in mixer before using.
  3. More importantly, dosa batter has to be stored only in the first compartment of the refrigerator. I use double door refrigerator and I store the batter in the first tray from top, just below the layer where we normally store milk packets. Batter should receive maximum cooling for it to have longer shelf life.
  4. Cast Iron tawa works best for Dosa. Iron tawa spreads heat evenly. Choose the tawa that is thick. Though it takes a while to get heated, it retains and releases heat in more controlled manner. I have reservations on Non-stick and hence not commenting.
  5. When you are adding stuffings inside the dosa (like Masala dosa), make the stuffing in chutney like consistency. If the stuffing is very stiff, the taste will not blend well. If the mix is a bit watery, then dosa will not be crisp (nor it will be picture perfect), but it will be very tasty.
  6. Spread dosa thin, so that you do not have to flip it. Some people cover dosa and cook. I do that only for Uttappam, not for dosa.
  7. Always have a small cup of water near by, so that the ladle used for flipping dosa can be immersed. This will help dosa to come out faster without tearing.
  8. After 3-4 dosas adjust heat of the tawa. I do not lower the flame. Instead sprinkle water in between to reduce heat.
  9. If you are making onion Uttappam with the batter, it is preferred to top the onions on the batter rather than mixing the onion in batter. Topping will give caramelized onions giving unique taste to onion.

Related: Refer to Paneer Masala Dosa recipe which is favorite one for kids and adults alike.

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