Updated: Mar 6
The French have crepes, the Chinese jian bing, the US pancakes, and India has fabulous dosa. The famous “paper dosa” is delicate super thin, cooked in ghee and my favourite. If you have yet to have one, go out and get one today! Here is a video of a street vendor in India making dosas.
For an introduction to dosas and their history check out the Mung bean dosa recipe. This is unique dosa From Tamil Nadu that is not commonly available. It is a delicate dosa Made from ground split Bengal gram (split chana dal) with herbs and vegetables, giving it a wonderful flavour. This is one of those dosas that you can have with just a simple chutney or pod, but a sambhar is always welcome.
This is another fabulous cookbook from this author. It focuses on dosas, oothapams, adais and appams, with lots of recipes from all the southern states in India, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 cup split Bengal gram (split chana dal)
2 tablespoons rice
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 small green bell pepper, finely diced. I like poblano peppers, so I use those instead.
1 medium tomato, finely diced
5-7 curry leaves, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon chilli powder, or as desired
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Ghee or oil for frying
Soak the lentils and rice in water for 2 hours. Drain and grind to a fine batter in a blender with 1/2 cup water. You should get a smooth batter.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The consistency of the batter should be that of heavy cream.
Make the dosas, see instructions below. These dosas will be slightly thicker due to the minced vegetables. Serve immediately with chutneys of choice and podi, but a sambhar is always welcome.
Notes on making dosas:
Making dosas are an art form, but they are not that hard to learn. Here are some tips on making them perfect. It does take some practice, but once you get it, usually on your second or third dosa, it is super simple. 1) Heat the pan till very hot, usually on medium-high. Let the pan heat up evenly for about 3-4 minutes. When you splash a small drop of water it should sizzle and evaporate almost immediately. 2) The perfect “hot” on the pan allows the batter to spread evenly and in a thin layer. If the pan is too cool, the dosas are thicker, and if it is too hot, the dosas will rip while you are spreading them out. 3) Use a non-stick pan. Just so much easier. Also, you use a fraction of the oil, so the dish is so much healthier. 4) Add a 1/4 cup of batter to the centre of the non-stick pan. Using a round-bottomed large soup ladle, silicone of course. Spread the batter out starting at the centre and working your way out in small concentric circles. Don’t rush it, you have the time, spread the batter out in small circles till is all spread out evenly. Remember, once you start spreading outward, you cannot stop or go backwards. This motion has to be smooth and continuous. Here is a good video. However, I tend to get the ridges smaller and the dosa more even, which will come with time and practice.
5) Use gentle pressure to spread the batter, the pressure will depend on the batter type and the thinness you want the dosa to be. Too much pressure will cause the batter to either rip or create vacant spots. Too little pressure will give you a thicker dosa. 6) If the dosa is ripping when you spread it out, either the pan is too hot or you are using too much pressure. Adjust your technique as needed.
7) Drizzle some oil or ghee. This is important to "fry" the batter and brown it evenly. It will also help to detach the dosa from the pan so it is easier to flip. 8) Flipping the dosa is easy and about confidence. Remember you are using a non-stick pan, and have drizzled some oil. When you see that the dosa is browning in spots and the edges have lifted off the pan, which means that the dosa is not stuck. Use the spatula to get under it and flip in a smooth motion, just as you would for a pancake. Super easy, trust me.