I live in Seattle. I am 72+ years of age. I am from Chennai moved here in 1977. Dosai was my serious concern. I have tried all kinds of rices, American and imported, lower gluten higher gluten. In the end it comes to food is addiction and your favorite Dosai or the dosa form the restaurant is hard to duplicate at home. All one can do is come closer.
long,short,crispy or KAL-DOSAI, familiar name in Chennai are all made by a cook known to dosa masters or parotta master, who makes 200 TO 300 parottas on a busy day. masters also behind preparation process. I was walking to go to court, in Guindy,Chennai2008, got my eyes, on the roadside a parotta master was making dough, I had stopped,asked him what do you put in apart from flour and water,he said nothing just flour and water.
plain and simple, he had half cup of oil he touches in between in comparison to large dough he was making, that is all he does 7 days a week and 356 days a year. Other wise he sings same slogan every day. What gives a nice color,what to use there are information on line. but what about steel plate and heat under neath ? Well my wife likes paper dosa, my son likes regular and i like kal dosa so all can be made in one batter and close to eaten in restaurant .
measure and buy a 5/8 steel plate, mine is 12x19 paid $45 at metal shorts. leave it on the two burners for ever. clean with steel pads as necessary in its place and wipe. turn knobs lower and higher as required,sprinkle water part or whole to reduce heat. wipe steel before spread dosa and use flat bottom cup. Batter: fenugreek+Chenna dhal+ 5 rice+one urad dhal. I use granulated yeast,start yeast wait and add to the last cup or so grinding mix well place Big thali under neath to catch over flow.
batter will change character when left out or in the refrigerator for a days.with out refrigeration count on three days menu,dosa, Uthappam and Kuzhi panayaram. works well. One week old batter from refrigerator, work well add pinch of soda to cold batter. saves time and come handy.
Steel plate is heavy can not be removed for cleaning. gets dirty around and accumulates ,one has to live with it. paper dosa need practice. Wipe, spread,wait, generous oil then scrape top remove excess discord. Two different electric burners underneath still not perfect
I have a small correction to make. The steel plate I bought in use is 3/8" in thickness but not 5/8" as I wrote earlier. Sorry about that. After I wrote, I had fermented the batter that evening. Weather is better in Seattle, after dinner Batter with Yeast left for fermentation, it was ready to use in the morning. House was not heated, just warmth from the kitchen area. In winter it takes longer,and can be used for dinner, hour house is open and barely heated. Please remember or note down the earlier steps and correct if necessary. Matter of few attempts, you will get the one you are looking for.
Small batch I leave it on the counter for couple days, not much difference I have noticed,but there is a combination of things at the 48th hour you will notice. If you didn't finish after two or so days save in the cooler, mix rava and water,wait it should be thin batter,add cumin,onions all those and make rava dosa, comes out real good. Remember it is white flour free. Rava dosa is 2/3 gluten that I have to care for. Oil, pour batter holding ladle 9" above the griddle,move as you pour do not go back.Try very small one to sample. do it on weekend and keep alternate lunch in case if you need. Remember the story, Astrologer left lemon with the nurse and told her throw on to the floor as soon as Queen gives birth, Well lemon it the Threshold and returned. Nurse picked up and throw again, Lemon reached astrologer. Years later his prediction went wrong ,because of the delay in his calculation that he didn't know off. Food preparation is science.