Raving Over Ravas

“When was your first?” Wills asks earnestly. My mind’s a complete blank. It could have been Subra, Lingam, Prakesh or Kumar. I just couldn’t remember. Instead, I smile and say to Wills, “Well, this is a first for me too, sharing a banana leaf with you and eating off it.”
 Thambi hovers nearby. He gestures for us to move our hands and our remnant Vada aside.
There it is, sitting patiently on the stainless steel plate. We could hear the crunch as Thambi lifts it gingerly, it scrapes the plate a little, a delightfully crusty sound.
Thambi plops it on our singular banana leaf, his head bobble. That universal Indian head shake, a common gesture that usually consists of a side-to-side tilting of the head in arcs which often means a yes. Like a Frenchman’s voilà to suggest an appearance as if by magic.
Our first Rava.  Sigh…

www.smartdory.comDeliciously fragrant with ghee, its edges crisp almost waffle like with its signature holes and blisters.

The pan side, seared golden, its soft side moist with sprinkling of ginger and carrot bits, green and red chillis, curry leaf, shave coconut, cashew nuts, crushed peppercorns and cumin seeds.

Unlike thick pancake batter which is unceremoniously ladled onto a pan. The Rava Dosa batter is a thin gruel consistency. This is made quickly from semolina and chawal flour and buttermilk and does not require overnight fermentation like regular Dosa.

The cook swirls the batter in a bowl and then uses his hand and fingers to sprinkle this thin batter over a hot grille. Sometime he rubs a halved onion on the grille beforehand to get a nice onion flavour. Other times, onion slivers are scattered over the pan before the sprinkling of the thin batter.

This produces a net like thin crispy Dosa, much akin to the Malay’s Roti Jala. Then the cook tops it with pure ghee.  Cooks it gently over moderate heat until it crisp up.

Great eaten on its own. Best smothered with fish curry gravy.

Our fingers touch. It feels almost like making love to our food.

Doris Lim is a popular freelance writer who blogs as Little Fish on travel and food stories here. Be sure to check out her other inspiring stories and follow her Instagram @SmartDoryID & Facebook to check out more places to eat delicious street foods or dine in the best restaurants!


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