Monday, January 14, 2008

Dosa (Indian Rice and Lentil Crepes)

Don't let the name 'crepe' make one think these are humdrum or flavorless. They are light, lacy and delectable, slightly crispy and so flavorful that one just has to taste to experience. There are many kinds of dosas made with diverse ingredients which are eaten from breakfast to midnight snack. This is simply our home version. They are traditionally eaten for breakfast or with afternoon tea in South India but are popular anytime. Dosas can be served plain or filled accompanied by diverse side dishes of curries, chutneys, and sauces.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked raw rice (any type)
2/3 cups skinless Urad dal, whole or split
2 tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
2 tsp Salt
2 or 3 Tbsp Oil

Method:

Check the dal for debris or little rocks and remove them. Wash the rice, dal and fenugreek seeds together and soak in plenty of water to cover for a few hours or overnight. Drain and rinse with fresh water. Grind to a fine paste in a blender using just enough water to ease the grinding process. This may have to be done in 2 or 3 batches so as not to overload the blender container. Pour into a large container and at the end rinse the blender container with a few spoons of water to get all of the batter. Add salt and mix well. The batter should be about the consistency of a moderately thick pancake batter. Add a little more water as necessary. Cover and let sit in a draft free place for a few hours or overnight to ferment. The batter will rise so make sure the batter container has plenty of room.

Use a seasoned cast iron griddle or a nonstick skillet for making the dosa. Scrunch up a sheet of paper towel into a thick wad and dip it lightly in a little oil and wipe the skillet or griddle to coat lightly with the oil. If a drop of water flicked on the skillet sizzles and dries up within a few seconds, it is hot enough to start cooking.

The first dosa is a tester - for checking the heat of skillet and the consistency and seasoning of the batter. Pour only a tablespoon of the batter in the center of the griddle and drizzle with a few drops of oil all around it close to the edges. When you see bubbles forming and breaking and the edges change color, it is time to flip over to cook the other side. Slide a thin spatula under the edges and loosen it. Then swiftly slide the spatula under the whole dosa and flip and cook for about a minute. Test to check the seasoning. Adjust seasoning and also consistency of the batter by stirring in additional water if the batter is thick.

Pour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter in the middle of skillet/griddle; quickly spread the batter with the back of the spoon in a spiral outwards to make a thin pancake about 8 or 9 inches in accordance with the size of your pan. Drizzle a few drops of oil all around the edges of the dosa. It cooks pretty quickly. Loosen the edges and the bottom and quickly flip over to cook the top side. Altogether it should only take about 2 minutes at the most to cook one dosa. If the dosas are thick and heavy, thin the batter with a little water.

Wipe the griddle with the oily paper towel wad every once in a while to prevent the dosas from sticking. With practice one will be able to turn out very thin and delicious dosas. Fold the dosas in half and stack them as you cook. Serve hot. The leftover batter can be refrigerated for later use.

No comments: