Cast iron tawa is the best option to get restaurant-like dosas. Agreed that, non stick tawa is commonly used in most of the houses today. But, if you are craving that perfectly textured, crisp and tasty dosa, just the way your grandmother made, then traditional cookware will do the trick.
Cast iron tawa is made of natural material (a blend of alloys including iron and carbon among others) and has been in vogue for a long time. However, non stick dosa tawa took over the reigns in recent years owing to convenience and easy maintenance. Cast iron tawa understandably has a few downsides. But when it comes to quality food and health, one cannot compromise but choose only the best choice. Meaning, cast iron dosa tawa comes with multiple benefits, which in fact overweighs the negative side. In this article, you will find out how to make the best use of cast iron tawa. We will share with you a few, easy tips on how to season cast iron tawa and maintain its quality for lifetime.
How to season new dosa tawa?
If you know how to clean and use cast iron tawa first time, then that’s great! You won’t have any problem in kickstarting your dosa-making journey. However, only few are aware as to how to use iron tawa or how to season cast iron tawa. And this article will be very helpful for them to achieve satisfying results without any fuss.
So let’s get started on how to season new dosa tawa. Here are the steps:
Rinse your new dosa tawa completely using mild dishwashing liquid, scrubber and water.
After cleaning, wipe the tawa using a soft cloth. Once it is dry, apply oil and leave it for six hours.
Next, heat the cast iron tawa over a medium flame for 5 minutes. Once done, switch off the flame and let the tawa cool down completely.
Once cooled, use a soft cloth to wipe away excess oil and store the cast iron tawa in a dry place.
Repeat the process for 3-4 times before starting to cook, to get the desired result.
Alternatively, during the first seasoning process, you can use rice starch water (or its cooked water) for cleaning. For this, the cast iron tawa must be soaked in the starch water for a couple of days. Wash it thoroughly and then repeat the above given seasoning steps.
Before the first use, heat the cast iron tawa on a medium flame. Pour a few drops of oil on the dosa tawa. Use half-cut onion to spread the oil on the entire cooking surface of the tawa. Keep spreading the onion a couple of times, until the onion turns golden brown. Then with a tissue or paper cloth wipe the excess oil from the dosa tawa.
There is no need to worry if the initial dosas don't come out well. It is normal. The cast iron tawa will work well after a few attempts.
Remember that on continuous usage, the cast iron tawa will achieve a non-sticky finish and your dosa will turn out with good texture along with enhanced taste.
The seasoning steps are required only for a New cast iron dosa tawaor when a tawa is not used for a long period and requires reseasoning.
How to season & maintain iron dosa tawa?
The iron cookware needs to be seasoned regularly to avoid rusting. That is because seasoning helps to bond oil to the pan making the iron tawa rust-free and non-sticky. Each time we cook, more patina (seasoning) builds up.
How to use iron tawa?
First things first. It is advisable to maintain a separate cast iron or iron tawa for dosas and rotis/chapatis. One has to also remember that iron cookware can heat up quickly and retain heat in lesser time compared to cast iron. On occasions when the iron dosa tawa is left to overheat, it may lead the dosas to stick to the tawa. To avoid this, it is always recommended to use the iron tawa on a low or medium flame.
Before the initial use, follow this step to initiate a smooth cooking and prevent dosa sticking to the surface. Apply oil on the iron tawa and heat on a low flame. Apply a layer of oil and salt. Spread it entirely on the tawa with a wooden ladle. Keep doing this for a couple of minutes. Remove from the flame and wipe the oil with a tissue or paper cloth. This will give you a perfect start to your dosa-making ritual.
An alternate method: Heat the iron tawa over a low heat. Place on it two small-sized red chillies, roughly torn. Spread them out to cover the iron tawa. Saute them for a couple of minutes. Turn off the flame. Using a cloth or tissue, clean the dosa tawa surface. After this the iron tawa can be used.
You can even follow the onion trick that is mentioned above in the cast iron seasoning steps for a smooth beginning.
Tips for cleaning iron dosa tawa
Use a little diluted dishwashing liquid/soap for cleaning.
Clean gently with a soft sponge without removing the seasoning layer.
Use a light coat of oil after drying. The nonstick surface keeps gradually improving with use and oiling.
You can wipe out the pan with a paper towel - no washing at all - to find it clean as a whistle. The tawa will only require a little brush of oil on the surface, before you store it away.
How to maintain iron tawa?
Once you are done using the iron dosa tawa, you can simply clean it with water.
It is not even necessary to wash the iron tawa with soap after every use. A damp cloth or tissue is enough to wipe off the food remains.
Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the iron tawa surface to maintain its natural, non-sticky finish. This step helps prevent rusting.
Always treat your iron tawa with oil seasoning once in a while, even when you are not using it regularly. Re-seasoning will remove the dull, grey or rusty appearance. (This step applies to cast iron dosa tawa as well).
Never leave your cast iron tawa or iron tawa soaked in water for too long. It will only attract rust.
Cooking in cast iron or iron cookware is the best you can do for you and your family’s health. No gain without pain, they say. Although one has to show extra attention and care to cast iron dosa tawa / iron tawa, it is worthwhile considering the multiple benefits such cookware has. Once you cross the initial apprehensions and understand the basic care and maintenance rules, cast iron tawa will turn out to be your most reliable cookware in your kitchen. For sure, it will replace any existing non stick tawa.