Funnily enough, it never crossed my mind before that dosa/ the traditional South Indian rice pancake was something I could make at home from only 2, rather inexpensive ingredients. The whole process does require some pre-planning so that the dosa batter gets well fermented and frothy to produce the lacy, frilled pancakes that so go well with sambar and dry potato curry. I was not quite sure what skinless urad dal looked like and where to look for it but it came as a pleasant surprise to see that I did not have to search further than the grains section of my local grocery store where this nondescript dal often goes unnoticed among more commonly consumed pulses like yellow dal or lentils.
Swathi from Zesty South Indian Kitchen advises soaking the rice and dal for at least 6 hours but I personally find it easier to leave them overnight right before going to sleep. On waking up, I simply have to grind them separately to a paste in my wet grinder and let the batter ferment naturally on my kitchen counter till lunch time. If you are not as lazy, you can always use the more trusted ‘roche carri‘ to grind the rice and dal to a smoother consistency but I chose to skip this and use the energy to make coconut mint chutney which I served along with my hot dosas.
DOSA/ SOUTH INDIAN PANCAKE
2 cups raw rice
1/2 cup parboiled rice
3/4 cup skinless split urad dal
2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Vegetable oil, for greasing
Water, for grinding
- Soak the raw and parboiled rice together in a bowl and soak urad dal in a separate bowl to cover them about 2-inch deep.
- Leave the pulses to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. The next morning, drain all the water from the rice and urad dal.
- Wash the rice and the urad dal two to three times and drain well. You will need to grind the rice and the urad dal separately.
- Grind the rice in a food processor or grinder, adding very little water if necessary, to get a smooth but slightly grainy paste.
- Place the ground rice and dal together in a large mixing bowl and add enough water to make a batter. Do not add salt now.
- The consistency of dosa batter should be such that it thickly coats a spoon. Keep covered in a warm, dark spot for 6-8 hours.
- After the fermentation, stir batter well and add salt. It is now ready to make dosas. Heat a skillet or a heavy based frying pan.
- Add a little oil in the skillet and brush well with a kitchen towel through all the sides to grease pan. Turn heat to medium high.
- Fill ¼ cup of batter in the ladle and gently pour batter onto the center of the pan. Spread batter in sweeping circular motions.
- It should form a pancake of roughly 8″ diameter. The dosa may develop tiny holes as you spread the batter, this is normal.
- As soon as you have finished spreading the batter, dip the basting brush in oil and drizzle all over the surface of the dosa.
- When the upper surface begins to look cooked, flip the dosa over. The surface underneath should be light golden in color.
- Allow to cook for 1 minute after flipping and remove from pan. Grease the pan again before continuing to make more dosas.
- Serve the dosas hot with sides like coconut chutney, sambar or potato masala. Makes about 20 dosas/ south indian crepes.
Dosa/ South Indian Crepe