Wednesday, June 25, 2008

5 star Dosa

Pouring an oval large dosa: Pour two spoons of batter in a straight line and then shape into an oval. Pan must not be too hot. When done on both sides, smear red chutney inside, then place palya/potato in center.

This recipe is for the intermediate cook, familiar with Indian cooking.
DOSAS are thin crepes made with a fermented batter of rice and white lentils plus other ingredients. Pouring them is tricky so if you are a beginner pay attention to my notes, use a non-stick pan, a non-stick spray, and control the heat of your range.
Don't give up if the first dosa sticks, breaks up...the first dosa is considered a sacrifice, even for well experienced cooks.

May 2008 was Dosa recipe search month. Tired of eating my own average to good dosas for 30 years, I determined to find one GREAT dosa recipe.
Every other morning, the grinder would churn out different proportions of urad and rice and every night, the dosas would be poured with the comment pad next to the stove recording every move as I poured, ate, thought, ate some more. In my laptop I have a Dosa Diary that starts in June 2001 and has recorded all my experiments with dosa since.
Finally three weeks into this trial and error period, when HD (Hubby Dearest) started getting a glazed look in his eyes as he looked at yet another dosa on his dinner plate and faint rebellious murmurs of `high cholesterol' and `my heart' reached me over the sizzle of dosas on the pan, I found the perfect recipe.
It is from Seema Bhat's site Recipe Junction.
Kudos to you Seema for sharing this GREAT recipe.
Seema has posted it on her site as Paper Dosa with many other great recipes.

Here's Seema Bhat's (Recipe Junction)recipe, with my pictures, for those of you want to try it.
Read my notes for translation of Indian words and further explanations of how I got the best results.
On the health front, one of these dynamic dosas is plenty for diabetic me with a tablespoon of potato/palya, a little chutney and plenty of restraint. This dish did not raise my blood sugar. Remember, our traditional Indian combinations of rice and dal are a high protein with very little fat but too much potato is adding to the carbs.

SEEMA BHAT'S DOSA RECIPE (From Recipe Junction...with her notes.)

1 Cup Rice.
1/2 cup Urad Dal
1/2 cup Rice Powder
2 tsp Methi seeds
2 Tbsp Besan Powder
Salt as per taste

• Wash and soak rice, dal and methi seeds for about 4 hours in warm water (I soaked overnight in cold water)
• Grind all together into a smooth and thick batter along with salt, rice and besan powder.
• Set it in a warm place for 8 to 12 hours and let it ferment nicely.
• Heat up the griddle. Pour enough batter and spread it around in a quick clockwise motion from the center going outwards. Tip: keep the flame on low when pouring the batter and once you roll it immediately turn the flame on high to let it roast well.
• Pour some Ghee/Oil and allow it to cook on high heat until nicely roasted on one side.
• Serve hot with chutney of your choice.
• Tip: addition of besan powder here gives a nice orange/brown color to the dosa when roasted well

Geeta Aunty's added notes:

As my legs ache when I stand for a long time I only make dosas for the two of us now. As HD gets tired of washing up, I minimize that work by soaking the dosa and urad in the blender jar with methi seeds. I divide Seema's recipe by half.
I substituted par boiled rice for regular rice as I prefer the flavor of par boiled rice.
Urad Dal is a white split lentil, available at an Indian Grocer's.
Rice powder is rice flour also available at an Indian Grocer's.
Methi seeds are whole fenugreek seeds..I used half a tsp only as I was afraid the batter would get bitter.
Besan Atta is chick pea flour, available at the Indian Grocer's; the package is marked Besan and the flour is yellow in color.
After blending the mixture, I let it ferment in the blender jar in a warm place.
While pouring I spray the skillet with a non-stick spray and then sprinkle a few drops of water on the skillet each time I pour a dosa. (I hold my hand cupped under the water tap, get a little water in it and then sprinkle it on the pan. This trick I learned watching the cook at Woody's on Commercial Street, Bangalore, pour their wonderful dosas.
As my mother always told me, pour on medium heat and then raise the heat. (Raise it to medium high not high as I get better results that way). My mother cut the top off an onion and used either that or half a potato to create a non-stick surface. She would dip it in a little oil and the smear the dosa pan with it.
Seema's recipe is perfect for masala dosas too as my pictures will show you. You can use a slightly thicker batter and remove the dosa earlier from the pan to get it a little softer, or as in my case, leave it a little longer to get it really crisp.
I use 1/2 tsp of olive oil around each dosa but less is fine. The dosa does not absorb the oil poured around it on a non-stick pan.
I cannot resist putting a thin sliver of butter on each dosa to eat at the end with a little sugar in memory of the ghee and sugar we would eat with our dosas as children.
One last mouthful of this makes a great dessert bite to end the meal with.
Dosas have to be eaten hot, preferably right after they are made.
I make the long masala dosa so I only have to make one each for HD and me, on a non-stick 18 by 10 skillet used over two burners of my gas range.

For masala dosa, I smear the red chutney inside before I put the palya and tri-fold the dosa.

Red chutney: Grind 6 red chillies, three pods garlic, half an onion with salt and a little tamarind paste.
Smear inside of dosa with one tablespoon before adding palya/potato.

5 star palya/potato filling.

4 medium Idaho/brown potatoes.
1/2 chopped onion
1 sprig Curry leaves/karipata
1 Tbsp chopped coriander/kothimiri.
1 tsp Rai/mustard seed.
1 tsp whole jeera/cumin.
1-2 jalapeno or any other green chillies, chopped.
(If you do not want the palya to be too spicy, put the chillies in whole)
1/4 tsp haldi/turmeric.
1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala. (I use Everest Pav Bhaji).
1 tsp salt to taste
1/2 lime

Peel and chop potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Boil with haldi in just enough water to cover them.
When done, drain excess water.
Peel and chop onion. Fry in 1 tbsp oil. Remove from pan.
In same oil, season rai. When it splutters add jeera. When jeera gets light brown add karipata,kothimiri and green chillies. Fry for two minutes.
Add pav bhaji masala and fry for two minutes.
Add potato and salt and mix well...potato will get slightly mashed at this point.
Finally add fried onions and squeeze the juice of half a lime on potatoes. Mix and remove from stove.

OPTIONAL: Add grated garlic with green chillies.
Leftover palya makes great aloo bondas the next day or is great used with cheese for a grilled cheese and potato recipe.

From my mother's house with my own changes:
5 star chutney.
(In our younger days we would serve three chutneys with dosa...brown dal chutney, green coriander chutney and this white one. The white has turned light brown due to the tamarind paste we use here and it is the only one I make now.)


2 tsps oil
1 Tbsp rai/mustard seed.
1/2 Tbsp urad dal/split white lentil.
1/2 Tbsp jeera/whole cumin.
1/2 tsp methi seeds/whole fenugreek seeds.
One pinch hing/asafoetedia.
5-6 dried red chillies.
One tsp tamarind paste.
One green chilli.
1/2 cup grated coconut.
1/4 cup fried channa/pottu kadle
Salt to taste.
1 sprig curry leaves/karipata

Heat oil in a frying pan. Put in rai and cover pan. When it splutters, add urad dal. When urad turns light brown add jeera, methi seeds, one pinch asafoetedia/hing,red chillies, and green chilli. (Quantity of the last two ingredients depends on your taste). Fry till jeera turns brown. Be careful as jeera scorches quickly. Remove half this mix and place in blender with 5 of the 6 red chillies and the green chilly. Add karipata (curry leaves) to the mix in pan and fry for 1 min. Set aside.
Add grated coconut, pottu kadle/fried channa to mix in blender with tamarind and salt.
Blend till slightly coarse adding 1/4 cup water.
Taste and adjust salt, tamarind and chillies if necessary.
OPT: Garlic or a little ginger can be added to this chutney.
Pour into bowl. Add mix from frying pan on top.
Serve with idli or dosa.
Delicious eaten with hot rice and 1/2 tsp ghee too.

The really capable serve sambar with masala dosa too but for me the buck stops here.
My sambar recipe is good but not great, so I will put it up when I'm satisfied it has attained five star status.


Daisy said...

Thanks for sharing your recipes with us. I am hoping to make the dosa recipe soon.


Pooja said...

I am glad to have an experienced cook around on blog world now :) .
A wonderful presentation. Take care of your leg aching too. don't cook too much standing for a long time dear Geeta aunty(as u called yourself so) :) .
Love idea of soaking rice and ural dal in grinder itself is good .

Sangeeth said...

very nice recipes ....lovely