Friday, 2 January 2015

Taste this!!

The story of Dosa

 Ask any south Indian, his favourite food would be Dosa made by mom. That is why one cannot wonder at the sight of a Dosa outlet or a south Indian restaurant in almost all the corners of the world. If you think only south Indians enjoy this delicacy, go to the streets of Delhi, you can see crowds infront of those tiny carts selling Masala Dosa. Recently, while scrolling through Facebook timeline my eyes stuck to an intersting story of the ‘Dosa Man’ Kumar who by selling dosa from a small cart changed the culinary culture of NewYork’s denizens.
What is it about Dosa that we love so much? A fermented thin, tangy, crispy crepe or pancake made from rice and lentil (urad dal) batter cooked on a hot girddle. Originally dosa was made only of lentils to which in course of time rice was added. Later evolved different variations to the basic theme.
According to food historian K.T Acharya, first reference to dosa (thosai) is seen in sixth century AD Tamil literature. The sanskrit classic Manasollasa by western Chalukya king Somesvara III (1129 AD) describes Doshaka made of lentils . However, writers like P. Thankappan Nair, Pat Chapman and lisa Rayner gives Udupi, the Karnataka town, credits for making first dosa. Well, it may be probably because of the Udupi restaurants which brought dosa to Mumbai and other north indian cities. Paula Richman says that a Tamil folk song mentions dosa as one of the dishes Dasaratha’s pregnant wives crave for.

rava dosa

There is more than hundreds of varieties of dosa available now a days. Basic form is the plain dosa made of rice and urad dal batter. It is not spicy but yet tangy and tasty. Usual breakfast item in south indian homes and the cheapest dosa in restaurants. In the southIndian state of Kerala, dosa is thicker and smaller. It is not crispy but spongy. This smaller and simpler variety of dosa is the most favorite street food in Kerala known as ‘Thattu dosa’. Restaurants of Karnataka serves ‘set dosa’ — simple, spongy dosa in a set of more than one per plate. Thinnest dosa with plain rice batter is called Neer dosa which would be the easiest to cook as it requires no fermentation. Utthappam or dosa version of pizza (if i say so) is again a dosa over which vegetables are spread while cooking. Andhra special dosa is Pesarattu made of moong dal batter. King of all dosas Masala dosa, fosterd by north Indians, has crossed seven seas and spread it’s fame through out the globe. Dosa filled with a spicy concotion of fried onion and mashed potatoes folded and eaten with chutney and sambhar. There are many innovations in the basic form of masala dosa by experimenting with the filling using meat or other vegetables.

 Dosamatic — world’s first table top dosa maker.

We havenot seen a ‘Mc dosa’ yet but wherever it has gone, dosa made it’s impact. Hope, one day Dosa will become India’s healthy answer to fast food world.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Abwarten und Tee trinken

 Wait.. make it your cup of Tea!!!

Few weeks ago, I happened to stumble upon a German proverb, ‘abwarten und Tee trinken’. Literally it means wait and drink tea, German version of ‘wait and see’. When there is nothing you can do to solve a problem, the best thing to do is ‘do nothing’… just wait for the natural outcome to unfold by its own. In other words, ‘wait and wonder’ and while waiting, why not drink some tea? 
The origin of this saying is said to be attributed to a 19th century herbal healer Heinrich Ast who told his impatient patient to drink tea (herbal tea mixtures prepared by the healer) and wait for the illness to cure. So the Chinese say, ‘Man drink tea to forget the noise of the world’. 

Patience is the virtue of a person who is ready to wait. Generally we are impatient because we think about the future, expecting something or wanting something to happen exactly in the way we would like it. Being patient actually means to be attentive to what is happening in the present moment, living it to the fullest and seeing the signs that may be right in front of us. Patience and endurance is considered as essential virtues in Hinduism. It is the ability to wait with endurance through odds calmly, cheerfully, without anxiety and the desire for revenge. Hindu philosophers are of the opinion that, patience and endurance is important for long lasting happiness. For a Hindu, Suffering is seen as a part of living. Worldly life is ought to suffer pain until it reaches the final stage of life, ‘Moksha’. However, the blissful soul remains detached from the bodily (worldly) sufferings ie, ‘Maya’ or illusion called ‘life’. Life is a journey through various experiences for the soul to reach the perfect state of detachment. So the purpose of a Hindu’s life is to attain the ability to endure calmly and happily the experiences of life with least care for the fruits of one’s actions.

In turbulent times, one should sit down in peace, drink a cup of tea and then contemplate on what could be done. Though waiting and hoping is a hard thing to do , it is better than jumping in to bad decision and regretting the whole life. So just wait and see… meanwhile have a cup of tea too.

"The happiness which comes from long practice, which leads to the end of suffering, which at first is like poison, but at last like nectar - this kind of happiness arises from the serenity of one's own mind.”  Shrimad Bhagavat Gita