Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Whole Wheat Dosa (Quick Indian Lacy Pancakes)

A friend gave me a bag of semolina flour for making pasta. I had never made fresh pasta. So what else can one do with a bag of pasta flour? Well, make Dosa of course!

This is a basic recipe that makes very good dosas. It is really quite easy and doesn't require planning ahead like the traditional dosa batter. You can make wonderful, light, lacy dosas with almost any flour such as whole wheat, corn, millet, etc.


1 Cup Whole Wheat or other flour
1/2 cup Rice flour
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1/4 cup Plain Yogurt/Buttermilk (Optional)
11/2 cups Water
1/2 tsp whole Cumin seeds OR 1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 or 2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 hot green chili, finely chopped
A few curry leaves, finely sliced

A few Tbsp Oil for cooking the Dosas


Mix the flours and salt. Add the yogurt/buttermilk if using and the water and mix thoroughly; let sit for about 30 minutes to hydrate the flours well.

The batter should be smooth and have the consistency of thick buttermilk. Add water as necessary.

Let the batter rest for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flours to hydrate.

Remove stems, seeds and membranes from the chili and chop finely.

Prepare thalippu: Heat the oil with the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds slow down dancing and popping, add the chopped hot green chili and curry leaves and cook just until the chili softens. Let cool.

Stir in the cumin seeds/onions and the cooled thalippu just before making the dosas.

Heat a non-stick skillet or a seasoned cast iron griddle.

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 - along 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.

Taste. Add salt and also additional water if the batter is too thick.

Stir the batter well each time before making new dosas since the flours tend to settle to the bottom.

Pour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter into the of skillet/griddle; quickly swirl the batter to make a thin pancake about 7 or 8 inches or in accordance with the size of your pan. The whole wheat batter is delicate; so it is better not to spread the batter in the traditional manner with the back of the spoon.

Drizzle a few drops of oil all around the edges of the dosa.

Dosa cooks pretty quickly; when the top looks dry, it is time to flip the dosa to cook the other side.

Loosen the edges and the bottom; quickly flip over to cook the top side. Altogether it should only take about 2 minutes at the most to cook one dosa. Adjust the heat as necessary so that the dosa cooks but does not burn.

If the dosas are thick and heavy, thin the batter with a little water. With practice one will be able to turn out very thin and delicious dosas.

Wipe the griddle with the oily paper towel wad every once in a while to prevent the dosas from sticking.

Serve these dosas hot off the griddle; they are best when fresh.

Whole wheat dosas are especially delicious served with green chili chutney; they may also be served with podi (a dry lentil-spice chutney), Indian pickles, plain Yogurt, etc.

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