Dosa are irresistible but it took me a bit of time to get it right when it came to making them at home. One of the keys was finding a large thin iron pan that I seasoned to within an inch of it life so it was shiny and non-stick. That way when the dosa is peeled off the bottom of the pan it’s perfectly crisp and glossy. You’ll need to plan ahead as there are two fermentation stages before the dosa batter is ready to cook.
Dosa are a delicious crisp fermented pancake that are often eaten for breakfast. These have a beautiful potato mixture inside. It really is delicious, with the crunch of the pancake and then a soft and fragrant filling.
- ½ cup roasted chana dahl
- 1 tbsp crushed asjwan seeds (see Note)
- 8 cloves garlic
- 5-6 long red chillies
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup raw short grain rice
- 1 cup cooked short grain rice
- 1 cup ural dahl
- ¼ cup chana dahl
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- pinch salt
- 60 ml oil for cooking
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp mustard oil
- ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp chana dal
- ¼ tsp asafetida (see Note)
- 1 large red onion, finely sliced
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- 10 curry leaves
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 medium potatoes, diced and boiled
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (see Note)
- 1 tsp salt
- lemon juice, to taste
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- ½ lime, cut into wedges
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Fermentation time: 5 hours (or overnight) + 8 hours
For the red chutney, combine the ingredients and blend to a paste in a spice grinder or small blender.
For the dosa, place both the cooked and raw rice and dahls into a medium-sized bowl and rinse a few times under running water. Add the fenugreek seeds and cover with water.
Cover with cling wrap or a cloth and leave to ferment at room temperature for 5 hours or overnight.
Drain most of the liquid but reserve to one side. Blend the rice and dal into a batter, adding a little of the soaking liquid if required to loosen. The batter should be the consistency of double cream.
Cover and ferment for a further 8 hours until bubbly and light. Add salt and mix again. Set aside.
For the potato bhaji, heat the oils in a medium sized pan and add the mustard seeds. They will begin to sizzle and pop; once that starts, add the chana dahl and toast until golden. Add the asafetida, the sliced onions, green chillis, curry leaves and pinch of salt and cook until light golden.
Add the cooked diced potatoes, turmeric, a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and the ½ cup of water. Stir to combine, lower the heat and cook for a further 3-4 minutes to allow the heat to draw through the potatoes and for the flavours to combine. Set aside.
To make and assemble the dosa, heat the dosa pan over a low heat and pour a ladle of the twice-fermented batter into the centre of the pan. Starting from the middle, spread the batter out in concentric circles towards the outside to form a thin pancake.
Don’t try to retrace the lines. Drizzle a little oil around and over the dosa and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp. Place a spoonful or two of the potato bhaji into the centre of the dosa and carefully roll into a large tube ensuring the potato remains in the centre of the dosa.
Serve the dosa warm with a little bowl of red chutney (optional), fresh lime wedges and fresh chopped coriander.
• Ajwain seeds are available from Indian food shops and spice shops. They have an intense caraway flavour. Substitute caraway seeds.
• Gary uses fresh turmeric when making this recipe in Far Flung; you can buy fresh turmeric at farmer’s markets and some greengrocers and supermarkets. Use a spice grinder to grind up fresh turmeric.