Dosa or Savory Pancake is a childhood favourite and I grew up eating it in different forms. Dosa is a pancake made from fermented rice and black lentils batter. Dosa is an inherent part of the South Indian tiffin or breakfast and now it is popular all over the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, Dosa is served hot along with Sambar and Coconut Chutney. I have learned from my mom that the secret ingredient that makes any dish delicious is love. When you cook with love then your dish will surely turn out great.
I have seen many people struggling to make a perfectly round dosa. My husband was not very handy in the kitchen but was an expert at making dosas. When I would be braiding my daughter’s hair for school in the morning he would go to the kitchen and make dosas for her. Remember that he just spread the batter, everything was ready for him but he could make a perfect dosa! If I made a dosa which was not roasted enough he would say,” Why don’t you put some lipstick on the dosa!”
Dosas take time to make and there is usually only one griddle and if you have a large family then you have to wait for your turn. , I have vivid memories of my school days waiting patiently for my turn of a piping hot crisp dosa landing on my plate before rushing off to school. All our cousins and I lived in the same area and we went to school in our big ambassador car. The eldest amongst us was given the thankless task of rounding up the gang into the car in time for school. Believe me, it was very tough. Two cousins were known to delay by asking for an omelette at the last minute. Two other cousins would trudge down sluggishly down the steps. One would have an idly rolled in the hand while the other would have a dosa and we gave them the moniker of the idly dosa sisters!
Dosas are like eggs, make them the way you like them. Once you have the batter ready you can make various dishes with it; plain dosa, masala dosa, uttapam or set dosa, panniyaram or appe.
Plain dosa or a pancake made by spreading a spoonful of batter on the griddle and folding it into half.
Masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a soft gooey filling of potatoes, fried onions, and spices. The dosa is wrapped around the potato curry potato. In the north, you can find paneer dosa, cheese dosa, keema or minced meat dosa. The choices are innumerable.
Recipe for Dosa or Savory Pancake
Preparing the Dosa Batter:
1 cup whole or skinned urad dal or black lentil
2 cups parboiled rice
1 tsp methi or fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp chana dal or split Bengal gram
Salt as needed
Preparing the Dosa Batter:
Rinse the rice and urad dal separately first.
Wash the dals thoroughly a few times and soak in enough water for 4 hours.
Soak the rice, chana dal and methi in a bowl or pan.
Grind the urad dal to a fine and fluffy batter in the mixer.
Drain the water completely from the rice, add a little water and grind to a paste.
Blend until smooth and frothy. But do not make it runny as it should be a thick batter. Mix both the batters, preferably with the hand as that packs in more air and makes for softer and fluffier dosas. Transfer to a large vessel as the batter will rise overnight. I usually grind more batter, and I use 2 pots to ferment and refrigerate. I divide the batter to 2 pots as it stays good in the refrigerator for few more days.
The batter is allowed to ferment overnight and then the batter is mixed with water to get the desired thickness. Now you can add salt.
Dilute the batter by adding a little water as needed to make it of a pourable and spreading consistency. Sprinkle few drops of water on the griddle to check if it is ready. It begins to sizzle.
Check if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a little water on the griddle then pour a ladle full of batter in the centre of the pan. Spread the batter out Spread it evenly in a circular way with the base of a ladle to make a wafer-thin pancake. Fold it into half to serve as a normal plain dosa. But if you want to serve it in a fancy cone shape like I did, cut the dosa from the centre to the edge and roll it into a cone and transfer it onto a plate. Serve it hot and watch the oooooohs and aaaaaaaaaahs that roll out from your loved ones.
Drizzle a little oil or ghee (clarified butter) on the edges and see the dosa change colour from white to golden. I usually do not add oil for myself. But if you are not counting your calories and looking for amazing taste then add ghee liberally and you will get a heavenly dosa. When it turns golden or brown, flip it and cook if you like. I flip only if it is an Uttapam. You can add a blob of butter just before removing it from the griddle. The butter melts on the hot dosa and spreads all over it and the taste is sinfully scrumptious. You can add mulagapodi or gunpowder (spread it liberally on the inside of the dosa) or potato curry or ginger chutney which is slightly sweet
Serve the piping hot Dosa or Savory Pancake with chutney (Recipe of chutney is here Coconut Chutney) or sambar. My dosa is very yummy and as good or better than any restaurant. Do try it out if you would like to have an authentic or restaurant style Dosa.