Engineering student’s device costs Rs. 1 lakh and can make 700 of the crisp, south Indian pancakes a day
An egg puff costs you Rs. 10, a vegetable burger Rs. 20, but a dosa often costs you more than Rs. 25. A crispy , hot masala dosa is arguably the most common food item in Tamil Nadu, but by no means one of the cheaper items.
This was what prompted Eshwar Vikas, an engineering student, to think of a machine that could produce dosas in seconds and make them cheaper.
Dosas, pooris and chappatis are hand-made, while burgers and pizzas are manufactured, which explains the difference in pricing. Also, finding skilled dosa-makers is not easy, he says.
Two year ago, the electronics engineering student of SRM University here started working on a small dosa-maker. The table-top piece, approximately the size of a microwave oven, takes less than a minute to bring out a dosa. You can choose the kind you want — thick, thin, crispy, uthapam or kal dosa. The batter is spread and dispersed, and the cooked dosa is peeled and rolled out. After every dosa, the machine uses an internal mechanism and water to clean the hot plate.
The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, has already produced an automated dosa machine, but Eshwar explains that he wants his prototype to be very different. “Those machines are very bulky and use a sophisticated mechanism to spread batter. They were mainly for use in hostels. We have used simple techniques with DC motors, sensors and valves,” he says. His ‘Dosamatic’, meant for smaller restaurants and retail outlets, will cost one third the price of an existing automated dosa-making machine that costs around Rs. 3 lakh.
A native of Hyderabad, Eshwar always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Two months ago, an international bank offered him a plum job but he was not interested.
Eshwar has spent over Rs. 6 lakh on his Dosamatic, funded mainly by his earnings from internships. He got a grant of Rs.1.20 lakh from his university. “Smaller restaurants make at least 400 dosas a day. This machine can make 700,” he says, fairly confident that the demo enquires and verbal orders he has got from hotels and restaurants in Chennai will materialise soon.
We have used simple technology with DC motors, sensors and valves… Smaller restaurants can make at least 400 dosas a day. This machine can make 700.