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Friday, January 18, 2013

Sada Dosa / Plain Dosa

I make dosas at least twice a week but have been postponing to post about them for ages, just because I wanted to do a pictorial presentation. Seems like I have to devote a post entirely for that later. I was planning to post something else from the "Subah ho ya Shyam" section of the "India House Vegetarian Restaurant" but since I made dosas yesterday and didn't have time to cook the planned stuff, it is going to be dosas for today's marathon post.

The yummy dosas happen to be a pretty common breakfast among south Indian homes. They need advanced preparation in terms of soaking the ingredients and an overnight fermentation of the batter. That may sound like a tedious and daunting process for the novices but it is not that difficult as it sounds. A little experience and skill will take you a long way in mastering the art of making delicious, crispy dosas.

Dosas can be served with an assortment of chutneys / sambhar / potato masala. Because of the morning rush hours, a chutney made with roasted chickpeas (dalia) or peanuts is the common stuff served along with dosas at homes. When served with potato masala, obviously it becomes masala dosa. And the word plain / sada in the title just is a restaurant term and doesn't mean the dosas are served just plain. They are the regular dosas that are served with chutney and sambhar and do not come along with the special potato masala.

Good dosas obviously result from good dosa batters and all the versions given below work excellent.

Ingredients for dosa batter:
My mother's version:
2 cups rice
1/2 cup urad dal / skinned black gram
1 Tbsp poha
Salt to taste
Oil to make dosas

My MIL's version:
2 cups rice
1/2 cup urad dal / skinned black gram
A handful of chana dal 
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
Salt to taste
Oil to make dosas

My version:
I add rice, urad & chana dals, poha and methi in the same proportions as above to make my batter.

Dosa batter preparation:
* Wash all the ingredients (excepting salt and oil) thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 3 - 4 hours. 
* Then add the ingredients to a grinder / mixie / blender and grind into a smooth batter using water as needed. The batter should be on a thicker side and not be runny.
* Collect the batter into a container, add salt and mix well. The container should be big enough to allow the increase of volume of the batter due to the fermentation process.
* Cover  the batter and allow it to ferment overnight or for at least 10-12 hours in a warm place. I usually leave my batter in my convection oven overnight during winter, with the light on. I don't turn my oven on. :) This tip really works, if you live in a cold place.
* If the batter is fermented properly, there will be an increase in the quantity of the batter and so always use a container which can hold more than the ground batter.

Making dosas:
* Heat a tawa / griddle. When you sprinkle a few drops of water on the griddle, the water should sizzle and evaporate. This means the griddle is ready to go.
* Pour a ladleful of batter on the griddle and spread it into a thin circle with the help of the backside of the ladle.Take ½ tsp of oil and spread around the edges of the dosa. Cook on low - medium flame until the lower side turns golden brown. Flip the dosa and again spread some oil around dosa and let it sit for 30 seconds or so, so that it is cooked on the other side too. Remove the dosa with a spatula and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
* Serve dosas with chutney & sambhar. Traditionally, dosas are served with onion sambhar in India but surprisingly, I have seen restaurants in Chicagoland area serving dosas ranging from capsicum to ridge gourd sambhars. And so my dosas were served with carrot sambhar and chutney. :)

1. Don't go with Basmati rice. Even extra long grain rice or any cheap variety rice will do.
2. Allow the dosas to ferment in a warm place. If you are making dosas for the first time, the better time to try would be to grind the batter on a really hot, summer day. In that way, the fermentation of the batter is ensured.

Check here to find out what others are cooking during the marathon.



Anonymous said...

Hey there
U live in UK right? So I would like to know how u proceed to make the batter ferment please ???
I don't have any room where it's humid & hot unfortunately

Nayna Kanabar said...

I have never added poha or channa dhal to my dosa batter so I will surely try it next time. Do you know of one recipe yeilds crispier dosa than the other?

Chef Mireille said...

a perfect basic that I still have not mastered

Chitra said...

Dosa looks very nice.I make dosa in idli batter. never tried a batter for dosa alone. will try ur version. thnx :)

Priya said...

Sada dosas are always my favourite, inviting and super crispy.

Padmajha PJ said...

I have never added poha / channa dal. Am grinding the batter tomorrow. Will try your method.

Rajani S said...

That's a beautiful click, Suma. Really love it!

Pavani said...

Oh. Yummy crispy dosas. They look perfect.

Chools said...

I live in Scotland in the UK. To get my dosa mixture to ferment (It's cold here!) I use a flask type yogurt maker. Works just fine