Saturday, March 3, 2012
It was Shrove Tuesday not too long ago and I had a great and rather obvious idea to have pancakes for dinner (as is the tradition). But I wasn't content with stuffed crêpes, no, I was going to make Dosa (a crispy Indian pancake), not that I had any idea how to make them, or actually what they were made of, so the research began.
I read a lot of recipes, and methods and realised that I wasn't going to be eating Dosa for dinner that night, in fact not the next night either, you have to soak lentils and rice, then grind and ferment them. I came up with what I thought was a good set of quantities from reading multiple recipes, and then I came across a page called The Perfect Dosa Recipe, I didn't end up following the recipe from that site, but it was an invaluable source of information.
In a bowl put one and a half cups of rice and one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, fill with water and cover. In another bowl place half a cup of urid dal, fill with water and cover. It's important to soak them separately as you want to grind them separately. Leave the rice and dal to soak overnight, or eight hours.
Drain the rice, retaining the soaking liquid. Transfer the rice to a blender and blend until completely smooth, it'll take a while, you may need to add some of the soaking liquid to the blender, but try not to add too much. Once blended pour the puréed rice in to a bowl. Repeat the process with the urid dal and then pour in to the puréed rice.
Add about one teaspoon of salt and mix together with your fingers, it's very important to use your hands (clean) as apparently the warmth of the hands will kick start the fermenting process. Once thoroughly combined cover and leave to ferment overnight.
The mix should have increased in volume and the texture should almost resemble marshmallow.
Now I defer completely to The Perfect Dosa Recipe for the method of cooking them, it looks simple, but I struggled, there were a lot of 'practice' dosa made. The gist of it is, thin the batter down with some water, you need to be able to pour it, but it shouldn't be runny. Then in a hot pan with a few drops of oil in it, ladle in about quarter of a cup of the batter and using the back of the ladle spread it around the pan in a circular motion (the bit I struggled with), and then drizzle a little oil around the edge of the Dosa. Cook until the bottom of the Dosa is golden brown.
I stuffed the Dosa with a aloo masala (dry potato curry) and served with some coconut masala on the side for dipping.