I was never a South Indian cuisine fan, may be because i had never explored it properly. But after my gluten problem i realised the South Indian cuisine will work for me because it is mostly gluten free. In South Indian dishes you would mostly find rice, coconut, curry leaves, fermented batter, soupy veggies actually all the good stuff that the gut needs. I read a lot of books on nutrition and Ayurveda (The ancient Indian philosophy around food and wellness, it is the traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing).
Ayurveda strongly recommends eating vegetarian, and a lot of fermented food items. Fermented foods are full of probiotics or good bacteria that maintains the gut health. So after my gluten issue, i started concentrating a lot of strengthening my gut health and that is why i started experimenting with the South Indian way of cooking. I have always thought Dosa making is an art, it is an impossible task that only South Indian mothers can do, but when i was hospitalised for a few weeks i asked my South Indian nurses to give me some tips on making the perfect Dosa and the chutneys. I followed the recipe exactly how they had taught me and voila i nailed it the very first time i made it in my own kitchen and after that i was hooked. I am now stuffing my dosas with different things, from mince meats to mashed potatoes. This recipe is for plain dosa, something that you can make easily just like your pancakes and eat it for breakfast or any other meal. The same batter is also used to make IDLI. Will tell you how in my later post. Also i wanna add just one thing for my non Indian friends, if you haven’t tried Dosa yet please try this, don’t get intimidated by the ingredients (actually there are not too many ingredients anyway), this is super simple to make all you have to do is soak a few things, blend them and form round pancakes on a flat pan. So let’s get started, shall we?
Serves: 2-3 people
Time: 8 hours to soak the rice and lentil, another 6-8 hours for fermentation. If you want to make this tomorrow for breakfast, you should soak the rice and lentil today by midday. Colder climate might take more time to ferment so keep it in a warm place to ferment.
White Rice: 2 cups
Urad Daal Whole White (Urad daal is a type of lentil): 1 cup (Go to any Indian store you will find this easily)
Chana Daal (Optional): 1 tablespoon
Olive oil/veg oil/ghee
Non Stick Flat Pan
Make the batter: As explained earlier, soak the rice and urad daal, chana daal in water for 7-8 hours. Soak them separately.
Remove the excess water after 8 hours and grind rice, daal separately using a blender.
The tip in grinding urad dal is to add the water slowly. If you add all of the water at once, it won’t fluff up well. Now time to grind the rice. Grind the rice into a batter like consistency, slowly add water to this else the batter will become too runny. Once ground, transfer the rice batter to the dal mixture bowl and mix well. The batter should look light and smooth.
You can add some salt (according to your taste, don’t add too much though). I added 1 tbsp. If you like in a colder climate then add salt after fermentation.
Transfer this to a bowl, cover it and let this sit in a warm place for 7-8 hours, after 8 hours you would notice the batter has risen and the batter now looks foamy. Your batter is ready. Just give the batter is quick stir, dont over do it.
Making the round dosa on the pan:
You need a non stick flat pan.
Put the pan on heat. The pat should be hot but NEVER very hot.
Just before pouring the batter, lower the heat.
Now in a round or flat shaped serving spoon or small bowl, fill in the batter.
Pour the batter gently in the middle of the pan, and now very quickly and gently start making a circle using the flat base of the spoon or bowl. Just keep going round and round.
You will go from center to the edge.
After the batter gets over in the spoon, lift the bowl or spoon gently. A circle must have formed by now.
Let this round pancake cook on low heat.
Now can now add a few drops of oil with a small spoon over the pancake or dosa. This will make the dosa crisp. If you like soft dosa don’t add a lot of oil, but if you like crisp add generously. But do not touch dosa with the spoon.
After a minute you would see the edge of the pancake becoming stiff, the more it cooks the edge will become crisper and this is when you know you can lift this dosa with a flat non stick spoon and flip it.
You gently lift this and flip. Cook for 20-30 seconds on the other side.
Your dosa is ready.
Serve this with Tomato Chutney and the Coconut Chutney. The Chutneys are important, without them you won’t enjoy eating this. Also the chutneys are super quick and easy to make so why not give it a try.
My take : Colder Climate will take more than 8 hours to ferment the batter so in winter keep the batter in the warmest spot in the house or leave it for longer hours.