Cookware 22

Making dosais on a cast iron pan

fharzana | Jan 1, 2012 03:27 PM

I've been making dosais for over 8 years now. It is a South Indian favorite made from a thin-ish dough made from rice and lentils. I'm not South Indian and didn't grow up eating these thin pancakes. I saw my in-laws making them on flat non-stick pans and so that how I have made them for all these years. I've looked into the dangers of non-stick pans properly just recently and went cold turkey on those. That forced me to find an alternative cookware to make dosais. I picked up a Lodge cast iron flat pan for that purpose. Turns out dosais are supposed to be made on a cast iron pan - in fact, South Indian restaurants make them cast iron surface. They call this iron surface a 'stone' though - not sure why.

There has been a learning curve for me to get used to making dosais a cast iron pan. I've learned that the pan has to be perfectly seasoned at all time, makes sense no? The surface has to have a beautiful layer of 'non-stick' for you to be able to lift the dosai off the pan. Otherwise, the dosai will get stuck on the pan and burn and burn. I've also learned that washing/rinsing your cast iron pan isn't a good idea, especially for dosai making. If you must, wash it perhaps once a month, maybe once every two months. Even then, don't use any harsh detergent, soap, or scrubber. Use only a little bit of mild soap and a cloth to clean the pan. If you see that you have washed off some of the non-stick layer, season the pan all over again. There is nothing worse than starting to make your dosais and realizing that your pan isn't behaving. Your audience will be upset and you will disappointed.

One thing is clear, I've made dosais on a cast iron pan and am a permanent convert. I will NEVER make dosais on a non-stick pan. Cast iron gives them such a beautiful texture and color - makes them so nice and crunchy. I can't believe I didn't look into cast iron pans sooner.

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