Utterflea and the fake oats dosa

It was a normal day on Twitter, soon to be called X. 

Every second, about 143,199 fingers all over the planet hit return and sent upto 280 characters whooshing into the ether. Silly things flew everywhere. Covered elephants, tweeted govinethiraj, look very much like uncovered elephants. Someone called realGod asked if you suffer jetlag or make use of it. Someone else quizzed: What grows when it eats and dies when it drinks? I tweeted back And who cares? 

Getting carried away by my own useless knowledge, I continued excitedly, using my tweet name of humbird, that at the Jolie Femme Thai silk factory poor silkworms build their cocoons but are boiled to extract silk thread before they become butterflies. Cruel.

In the middle of this riveting stuff comes a tweet from Delhi’s well-known timepass queen utterflea: I wonder what an oats dosa would taste like. 

You do know dosa, right? It’s that round crêpey pancake thing you get in Mughlai-Chinese-multicuisine fine dining restobars, god bless long-winded descriptions. Utterflea may have gone OMG with half a dozen exclamation marks, hashtags and other unspeakable characters. She’s Dravidian, same as me, and that bit about Mughlai-Chinese restaurants must have travestetised her vegetarian mind.

Just kidding, I may have tweeted. A pristine dosa can only be had in its original form in a pristine South Indian home.

I trust you’re not confusing my dosa with your fancy American gluten-free buckwheat pancakes that you submerge in maple syrup and pretend you’re having a non-diabetic meal. The Indian dosa, aka the world’s first fast food, consists usually of a fermented batter fashioned from Ponni rice, black gram (urad dal to troglodytes), some pigeon peas (tuvar dal to you) and a few chickpeas (come on! Chhole!). Oh, also a generous tablespoon of fenugreek seeds (you got it, methi), and salt (better known as namak haraam). 

Everything is soaked overnight and then ground to a smoother-than-a-baby’s-bottom paste. Fried to a paper-thin golden brown on a griddle, it is eaten with gusto, or if you don’t have that, gunpowder, lime pickles or coconut chutney. Even sugar with ghee will do. 

Ghee wiz! I tweeted before I lost the thought. 

Am I being long-winded? Deal with it, dear reader. I have to somehow write 800 words before the sun sets. Plus it’s April Fool’s Day, so all bets are off. 

Coming back to the pancake at issue, anyone who has even partaken of an essential, basic dosa knows that rice is what makes it a dosa. Utterflea’s idle tweet about an oats dosa was designed to be provocative. I wonder what an oats dosa would taste like.

I couldn’t help tweeting back Delicious, actually. Sometimes, a barefaced lie is the only way to sound authoritative. 

We make it often, I tweeted. (We never.) The batter should contain every lentil of a normal dosa plus quinoa and oats. Now I waited for utterflea to be utterly fleasome.

On cue, she tweeted: And I bet it tastes like the postman’s glue we used to seal inland envelopes back when the postal service was a thing.

She was right, damn her eyes. Oats does become gooey, so how could the dosa not be?

No, no, no, I tweeted, protesting too much. It’s gooey when amateurs make it. We’re not amateurs. Ours is a dark gold pancake bursting with fibre containing that amazing Mayan grain that’s neither rice nor wheat but better than both while having half the carbs of either. That’s why we call it a quinoa dosa.

Nothing came from utterflea and I hate silence, so I added more useless information: It has more flavonoids and anti-oxidants than you can count on ten fingers.
While utterflea, who is not used to being taken seriously, was chewing on my serious reply, a panic-stricken tweet arrived from zBeaVis aimed @humbird, yours truly: Why are u misleading people?? Oats and urad is a dangerous potent mix…stomach can explode!! 

As the world of tweeters began to laugh at the notion of exploding oats pancakes, zBeaVis, who surely knows more chemistry than utterflea and humbird combined, marched on: Oats hv Beta-glucans and LDLs.While black lentils hv tryptophan…u can DIE if u mix both!!!

I stood transfixed. Two formidable tweeters, both convulsed by their own questions and witty responses, were training their 280-character guns on me. 

You go, girl! utterflea exhorted zBeaVis. 

zBeaVis, unused to open praise, was chuffed. An involuntary tweet escaped her. Why ds he call it kinwa dosa when it’s oats dosa? Ask him.

I will not lie. You can’t call it an oats dosa by just adding a spoonful of oats to a normal dosa batter. But when I tried to make a pristine oats dosa with only oats, I got a pudding. I added some quinoa, and it was still goo. So I added readymade dosa batter and finally it came out golden and crisp. But I couldn’t in good faith call it an oats dosa.

I called it a quinoa dosa.

If you know how to do it right, please tweet someone else.

You can reach C Y Gopinath at cygopi@gmail.com

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The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper

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