The Dosa Tava is made with the ideal curvature and thickness to deliver outstanding cooking results when preparing dosa.
Finding the right tool for the job plagues many people. With so many competing brands and gadgets out on the market, making a choice gets tricky. This goes double for cooking equipment, which can easily change a good dish into a mess.
For those that understand the importance of finding the right cookware for the job, the search never stops. No sooner do you buy a dosa pan (called a tawa) then you realize you want a better one.
Why get into the world of dosa? A dish that can be found, for a price, all over the world? Because it is an excellent starter to a world of flavors.
If you want to find the best dosa tawa in one attempt, read through our guide on dosa and dosa pans.
To start with, it is important to get to know what dosa is and how to make it. For those of you already familiar, you can skip down to the features section. For those who have heard the term and want to get in on the dish, this will get you everything you need to understand what kind of dosa pan you will need.
Also for those newbies check out a basic starter recipe here.
Dosa have been compared to crepes and tortillas. Many cultures came to the fortunate conclusion that flat breads were useful. They allow the creation of quick foods you eat with a variety of fillings and sauces.
The dosa traditionally uses a combination of fermented rice and lentils (urad dal). This gets spread on a hot flat griddle or pan and cooked until crispy on the edges and soft and firm in the middle.
Variations on the basics exist across regions. Some are thicker than others use slightly different starter batters. We’ll talk about some of the most popular and highlight the cooking techniques needed to make each golden and delicious.
We’ll mention the different varieties that require some changes in composition and cooking. We won’t mention dishes with names related to the toppings or fillings (as those are about the recipe, not design).
The starter dosa with no frills that will get you going. this dosa starts cooking quickly once it hits the pan. For this reason, temperature control and even heat are essential.
An undercooked or overcooked dosa becomes inedible quickly. This is why it is important to understand the variety of dosa types and cooking techniques needed for each.
A measured amount of batter is applied to the hot pan. The batter should be just sticky enough to allow quick and even spreading without clumping. It is important to hit the pan and get the shape spread out quickly to avoid uneven cooking.
Once the batter is spread around and thin on the dosa pan check the edges. When they are light golden brown they will peel up just a bit. The Sada dosa doesn’t require flipping and cooking on both sides but should be thin enough to be done in one quick cook.
A slight change up to the original, the Mysore dosa gets gunpowder added in the pan. You will recognize gunpowder as the South Indian spicy mix of dry lentils and red chile. the dosa changes to a brilliant red color. Because of this, gauging the doneness of the dish gets tricky.
This is why it is good to be used to the timing needed for a pan to cook a Sada dosa. The cooking time doesn’t change, but cooking visually becomes much harder.
Mysore dosa is best eaten with some sauces to cool it down or heat it up, depending. It is always handy to have a blender ready for making some of these.
These huge dosa get spread even thinner than others. The chance to burn them goes up as does the time needed to spread them. A pan designed with a bit of a tilt up in the middle makes it much easier to evenly cook as the time spent spreading from the center out increases.
Large dosa pan technology further increases your chance to make the perfect paper dosa.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Set Dosa. These are the thickest dosa and come out of Karnataka. You apply the batter thick and look for a rich round shape with tiny bubbles. These commonly require a flip to finish the other side.
Made from mung beans, this dosa from the Andhra area is no-carb. Pesa Rattu requires the filling ingredients to be mixed into the batter itself. The end result is thicker than a standard dosa and on par with a set dosa.
Owing to the different ingredients that can be mixed with the batter, the cooking time varies. Careful temperature control and a flip or two is needed for these. The idea is to make these pliable enough to fold while avoiding burning of some of the ingredients.
You don’t want to leave black spots on the dosa.
This small and thick cousin to the Karnataka Set Dosa also mixes filling in the batter. The smaller size allows for a smaller tawa. The thickness and differences in ingredients also require excellent heat control.
You will also want the ability to flip them to even out the heat. Whenever you flip a dosa you want to be careful to maintain elasticity. A dosa that crumbles will do you no good.
Our final dosa contains rice flour and coconut milk. This specialty from Kerala can be quick to burn from the higher sugar content in the ingredients. The edges lift up quickly, forming a shallow bowl shape.
Err on the side of undercooked with these as they tend to be firm and the sugar can crystallize if cooked on high heat.
Now that you have a firm idea of what you need to make a dosa come out properly, we can go over the features a tawa presents. Then we’ll go into a review of best pans on the market today.
For smaller dosa, a minimum of 22 cm will do. For larger dosa, especially paper dosa, beyond 30cm will be needed. The largest tawa run around 37cm to give you an upper end.
A dosa needs to be non-stick to create a proper texture. However, certain too slick polymers will not hold the batter and will make a runny mess. Check out the amazing history of Teflon to understand more about sticky-enough substances.
As we’ve mentioned before, control comes in handy. Different pans will take gas or electric heat better. Check the rating of the pan for the heat source you have on-hand to prevent uneven cooking issues.
A loose or improper handle can be disastrous for a flip cooked dosa. For those looking to make Appam or Uttapam you want a handle that will not loosen over time. Heat transfer on the handles can also be an issue.
Finally, a good dosa tawa presents an easy to clean surface that won’t mar or get scraped up easily. Pans that clean well last longer. Pans which stick and burn easily may wear out quickly.
Best Dosa Pans Available
Each of these pans is currently available to be found. We’ll give an overview of their features and what types of dosa they work best for. To make things simple the title of each section is a link to that product listing on Amazon.
You will love the abrasion resistant coating which allows metal spoons and other non-sharp implements to be used. The coating also makes for easy cleanup. It is built for gas stovetops.
The handle has a heat safe grip. This gives you cool-to-the-touch control that won’t come loose over time.
The 28 cm size works well for all types of dosa but will leave you a little short on making paper dosa.
Despite the name, this is not flat. It has a small edge, but it is flat.
The heat conductivity works well on gas and electric ranges. The small 22cm size works especially well for Set and Appam dosa.
The coating is a proprietary non-stick made in Germany. This makes for a bit of a tougher grip than Teflon, so it works well for thinner batters.
The handle can get warm if cooking for a long period, so consider a cloth or towel for gripping.
The low edges on this flat iron dosa tawa make a great surface for paper dosa. Mysore dosa stands out splendidly against the dark grey color. At 24 cm it has space enough for many sizes.
The aluminum material heats faster and gets hotter than other tawa on this list. This cooks well but take heed not to leave anything on for too long as clean up is rough.
Not the best for Appam or Uttapam because the heat gets too high for the range of batter ingredients.
Another entry with a proprietary coating out of Germany, the Pigeon 280 heats quickly. The spiral bottom distributes heat well which helps deliver the right heat without burning.
This mid-range size provides versatility for most dosa variations. The angle of the sides gives just enough purchase to help a lift and flip.
This unit gives good heat on electric ranges and excellent control on gas ranges. The handle doesn’t heat up over continued use making it great for big batches of scrumptious dosa.
This design delivers the best tawa for making paper dosa. With two handles and a larger cooking area of 30 cm, you can stretch that batter.
The two handle configuration makes it easy to move for adjusting heat. The lack of a central handle makes flipping extremely difficult.
Clean up on this unit is extra easy because of the lower edges. The nearly edgeless design also makes this a good beginner tawa. It is easier to see the edges lifting on a Sada Dosa and you can make up to 3 smaller dosa across the surface to test batters and cook times.
The aluminum design transfers heat well but it can overheat if you don’t adjust temperatures down after it has heated thoroughly.
This unit can be purchased in a variety of colors and makes an excellent gift for those staring in dosa creation. It is easy to clean and has high reusability.
The coating can be damaged more easily than others in this grouping. Consider wooden or nylon utensils only.
The 28cm surface area beings plenty of space for making all types of dosa. The handle had a good feel making flipping a joy.
Grooves on the bottom of the surface distribute heat well. The thickness provides good temperature control over higher heats. This is also an energy efficient model which requires less heat to reach higher temperatures.
This final trait makes it great of thicker dosa as it will heat thoroughly without burning.
Another entry from Hawkins, this tawa features a curved design with low sides. The design makes it nearly impossible to warp from heat. This means it can be used on outdoor cooking surfaces like campfires or grills without damage.
The non-stick material allows metal products to be used risk-free. At 26cm it is a good middle size for many uses. The handle can heat up, so again, a cloth or towel is recommended for prolonged use.
Finally, the unit heats well over several sources and stays hot on the surface and just above. This makes it heat thicker dosa without flipping. The handle works well for a flip when needed.
Always the Best
With all of this information, you are well armed to find the dosa pan you desire. While you get started on your journey into the Indian subcontinent and its renowned palette of flavors, perhaps enjoy a coffee.
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