A dish originating with my grandma, fed to me by my mum as a child and still fed to me by my wife. The tradition continues! I hope to train my future daughters-in-law to make it as well (mastery of this dish is a prerequisite for my sons’ marriage too). It is a simple preparation that can be conjured up in minutes. It is a fuss-free snack for the evening "tiffin".
- 95 g (3¼ oz/½ cup) fine semolina
- 3 tbsp rice flour
- 3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 tbsp buttermilk
- ghee, for cooking
- store-bought lime pickle, to serve
- tomato chilli chutney, to serve (optional)
- 1 tbsp gingili (unscented sesame oil)
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 small green chillies, chopped
- ⅛ tsp asafoetida
- 10 curry leaves, finely shredded
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.
Combine the semolina, rice flour and plain flour in a large bowl with the buttermilk and 435 ml (15¼ fl oz/1¾ cups) of water and stir to combine until smooth. Set aside.
To make the tempering, heat the gingili in a small frying pan over medium–high heat, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle for 20 seconds. Add the cumin, chilli flakes, green chilli and asafoetida and cook for less than 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the curry leaves. Stir the tempering into the semolina batter.
Heat a little ghee in an omelette or similar-sized frying pan over medium–high heat. Whisk the batter to combine again, then put 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and swirl the mixture around to make a very thin pancake about 12.5 cm (5 inches) in diameter. Cook for 1 minute, then carefully flip over and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate while you make the remaining dosa, stirring the batter each time before adding it to the pan.
Serve immediately with the lime pickle and chutney.
• This is an unfermented dosa batter and is not supposed to be a crispy dosa. The mixture should be more like a crepe batter.
• Most Indian meals are cooked then tempered with either black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal (black lentils/black gram) and/or chillies in gingili or ghee. The critical part of tempering is not to burn or overcook the tempering and to retain the flavour and colour of each ingredient. This is then added to the dish at the finishing stage and usually immediately covered so the flavours can infuse the dish.
Recipes and images courtesy of From India by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan, published by Murdoch Books, $59.99 photographer Mark Roper.