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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Erra Karam Dosa

I think everyone has fond memories related to food. Food has the power to bring back memories attached to your childhood or the place where you grew up or the person who prepared the dish so lovingly or any other thing associated to it, which are always pleasant. Erra karam dosa is one such dish to my husband, which draws him back to his childhood and his town. In fact he calls them Ramakkka dosalu, by the name of the person who used to prepare and sell them in his neighborhood, when he was a kid.

There is a sort of family business run by women, going on for years in smaller towns around Andhra Pradesh. Women sitting under thatched roofs, in front of their homes or on streets prepare and sell simple, South Indian breakfasts in the mornings to the long queue of customers. I feel, they take off the burden from busy moms and come to their rescue (at least a few times, when moms could afford). The breakfast dishes are neither fancy things sold at restaurants nor elaborate in menu. Instead they are simple dishes like dosas, idlis etc, which are tastier, cheaper and remind us of home made dishes. These places have a few, simple wooden benches and tables for the people who would like to eat there or You would get the food packed in leaves, specially meant for the purpose and then wrapped in (News)paper, if you are taking the stuff home.

Erra karam dosa is one such lovely breakfast dish served at these places. Though these dosas are prepared at our home, I have began associating these dosas with the above said places, because of my husband's nickname for them. These dosas are speciality of rayalaseema region in Andhra. Erra Karam represents the red colored chillie paste used in the dish. The crisp, golden colored dosas are smeared with onion - chillie paste and roasted chickpea powder and served with chutney.

Preparation of erra karam:
Medium sized onions - 6
Chillie powder - 1tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Also add garlic if you like.

Peel the skins of the onions and chop onions into large chunks.
Grind the onions, chillie powder and salt into a fine paste using water if required.
Heat oil in a pan, add the ground mixture to it and fry it till the raw smell of the onions disappear and the mixture becomes thicker.

Preparation of pappula podi / daliya powder:
Grind 1/2 cup of pappulu/daliya/roasted chickpeas and 1/4 tsp of salt into a fine powder.

Ingredients for the dosa batter:
2 cups rice
1/2 cup urad dal / skinned black gram
1 handful of chana dal
1 - 2 Tbsp poha / beaten rice flakes
1 tsp methi seeds
Salt to taste

* Add all the ingredients to a big pot and wash them thoroughly twice with water. Soak them in plenty of water for 3 - 4 hours. The water level should be such that the ingredients should be immersed in water through out the soaking period. 
* After the soaking period, throw away the water used for soaking the rice mixture. Grind the rice mixture in an electric grinder / blender into a smooth batter using water as needed. The consistency of the batter should be not runny. 
* Collect the batter into a big container, add salt and mix well. The batter quantity will increase after the fermentation process and so keeping that in mind, select a container big enough to store the batter. Allow the batter to ferment for 10 - 12 hours in a warm place. If you live in a hot, humid place the fermentation takes lesser time.
* I usually soak the ingredients during afternoon and grind them in evening. I leave the batter container covered, in my convection oven with the light on and allow it to ferment overnight. Dosa batter would be ready for breakfast.

Ingredients needed to prepare erra karam dosas:
Dosa batter

Erra Karam
Daliya powder

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. 
Pour a ladle full 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 circle / 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 a minute or less so that it is brown on the other side too. 
Now again flip it, take a spoon of erra karam and spread on the dosa uniformly, sprinkle some daliya powder and put a little oil on the powder. Fold the dosa and let it cook on both sides for a few seconds. 
Remove the dosa with a spatula. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. You can just eat the dosas as it is or serve with chutney.


The quantities I mentioned here are good for six people. You can reduce the quantities according to your needs.

Post a comment


FH said...

Suma,I am drooling.Such a beautiful color of that dosa after the Karam added.Gorgeous.Thank you so much for the recipe.:)

Swapna said...

I love dosas with this chutney..A friend had once invited us for brunch and made these dosas..We ate so many that we lost count..A few questions for u:
1. What is it that you refer to as "Daliya"?
2. Is there any trick to make thin,crispy dosas? It would be great if u share it with me..My dosas always turn out a bit thick..
I am a big dosa fan..I won't mind them having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:)

Shivapriya said...

Chinta chiguru pappu and karam dosa are my husband's fav's .

Chandrika said...


I have had Karam dosa several times, but I never got the correct recipe. Ur's seems perfect..

Seema Bhat said...

your dosa looks super. Never heard of it befor and that chutney oh my god ...how did you manage to get such rich colour?

Viji said...

Suma nice step by step presentation. Sometime when you read such recipes, you feel as though you are going to taste :) can't avoid it. Viji

Bong Mom said...

Such a beautiful color dosa and I liked the memory associated with it so much
I don't make dosas at home as it doesn't come out crispy enough for me, idli sometimes but never tried dosa. Would love to have this somewhere. Do you know if "Karam Dosa" is available at restaurants, don't remember seeing them on the menu

swapna susarla said...

Hi sumagandhur
lovely dosa.i too like the street dosa centers.:-D

Suma Gandlur said...

Thanks. I am sure you are going to like them, if you give them a try.

Suma Gandlur said...

They are my husband's favorite too.

Give them a try and probably you may like them.

Thanks. These are Andhra special, I should say. I got the red color from the chillie powder.

Suma Gandlur said...

Thanks. You are welcome to gobble up those.

Suma Gandlur said...

These dosas are available only in some parts of Andhra. I don't think they would be on the menu of good restaurants even there. Unfortunately, they are not available here in USA or in India any where else except Andhra.
Making plain dosas need not be such daunting task. You don't even need to add all the ingredients I mentioned. You can just add rice and uraddal and a tsp of poha.
Give them a try and you would perfect them in no time.

Suma Gandlur said...

We too love these dosas.
1. Roasted chana dal / pappulu which are used to make chutney are sold by Indian grocers as 'Daliya'here. This is a recent development. A few years back, they were sold as roasted chana dal.
2. As far as I know, Good dosas depend upon the usage of the right combination of ingredients and proper fermentation.
But if your dosas are good and the problem is their thickness, my guess is you are adding less water.
Add a little bit more water to the batter and try.
Or take less than a ladleful of batter and try to spread it immediately as thin as possible.
I would be more than glad if it helps.

Sharmi said...

Hi Suma, this dosa looks so good. My MIL says "Dosalu Kara-kara adaka pothe avi dosalu kavu ani". your dosa reminded me of her. will surely make this dosa. thanks


Anonymous said...

Hi Suma,
I found your blog through Nupur's blog.Great blog with nice recipes and pictures.Erra Karam Dosa looks delicious.I have a question though,I would like to know which onion you use and is there any special tip to blend the onion.(whenever I use blender to make onion paste onion tastes bitter).Thanks Durga.

Suma Gandlur said...

I use the regular kind of onions which are pinkish. I grind them as mentioned and fry it so that raw smell of onions disappear.
I never had the problem of onion paste turning bitter.

Anonymous said...

Hi Suma,
Thank you for letting me know.I will try and let you know how it turned out.There so many other recipes to try too.Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Hi Suma,
Nice posting. My mother is from Rayalaseema too. We used to love these dosas on the streets whenever we visited Cuddapah (district). We call these ammammauri dosa (grandma's
town dosas).
I would like to say that if you use the actual chilies instead of the powder in the karam pachadi it will be more authentic. Also frying in ghee will make a big difference.

Suma Gandlur said...

Upon my SIL's suggestion, I went with the chili powder instead of the chilis for that bright color.
Preparing dosas with ghee always taste good but I avoid it for the calories.:)

Anonymous said...

You got the perfect reciepe for the karam dosa.These one's ,you can find on find on the road side tiffen shops ,I lived in Proddatur for 4 years,enjoyed the culture specific food from rayalaseema.
I still miss them.....

If you have steam dosa reciepe from rayalaseema,please share with us

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot suma for the erra kaaram especially...easy to make.....my aunt adds dried coconut to grind....it gives u a diff taste...

Krishna said...

Omg i am drooling already... This are my favorite too even i grew up in rayalseema and i am searching for this receipe from long time.... Now its time to prepare thanks suma for sharing awesome receipe