So many memories are flooding in as I write this post. Our home was the official headquarters of dosa, or should I call it the dosa factory. All my friends will vouch for that and to many of them my mom was a friend and a confidante more than a mere ‘aunty’. In India we do not call elders by their name, so every friend’s mom is an aunty. Now that I think of it, I would always bring in friends from school and it was understood that they would be having lunch at my place. When I turned 16, my mom threw me a surprise party, she invited all my friends and had a huge poster of sweet sixteen up in the living room - which she painted herself. We must have been some 20 kids - dosas for 20 giggly teens is not an easy task. Can you imagine, I do not have a single photograph from it, but everything is crystal clear in my mind…I remember it like yesterday. A baby pink poster with a pink rose (hand painted) and sweet sixteen painted on it. My teen turns sixteen next year, am not sure if anything can top what mom did for me…life is such a full circle. I can’t imagine that so much time has gone by. As I make dosas for my teen and her friends, I always think of my mom and her kitchen, her 1000 watt smile, that can light up a room even today - she has never frowned, it’s always smiles, in good times and otherwise. She did have her share of anger - but frown, hardly. Life has always smiled back at her. Her smile is still as young as probably when she was sixteen.
To me dosa is not a mere south Indian delicacy, it’s memories, it’s soul food ….it’s the key to Indian hospitality. Probably that is why my family thinks it’s one of the things I make best. (if I may say so myself). Probably some where I feel the need to keep up with my mother’s standards of not only making perfect dosas but of hospitality, of serving food with a smile, that shines from within.
I have tried to capture dosa so many times but I have never really been satisfied, am not as happy… I might redo the post with better pictures. I don’t think it is even possible to capture this amazing delicacy. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, when you bite into it, you can taste the crunch, the sweet-sourness of the fermented lentils, the rich aromatic flavor of ghee (clarified butter). Close your eyes, use your hands to break into the dosa and feel the texture, put it into your mouth, the crisp crunchy dosa, the sweet and spicy chutney, the potato filling….culinary ecstasy! I can be really dramatic :)