Dosas are a staple of south Indian cuisine. As much as paneer butter masala and chicken tikka are synonymous with Indian food for the western world, India has as many types of cuinines as we have states.
India is a sort of Europe, if you will. We are made of several states, each with their own cuisine, language, culture and clothing. Just like Europe is made of several countries, each with their own language, and culture. India is an amalgamation of all these states. Some cuisines and languages are just more well-known than others.
South India is made of four states and the one I live in is Tamil Nadu. The food here consists of fermented rice flours and mostly curries that have very mild spices. Of course even in Tamil Nadu, there are several kinds of food. We have many, almost a dozen sub-cultures, and they each have their own cuisines! Its quite wonderful, in a way. For example, food from different cities might be different, within the same state!
Dosas are pretty predominant across Tamil Nadu. Different people make it differently. There are so many many variations of this. I have made several variations myself in this blog. Well, you can imagine my delight when I came across this book: Dosai by Chandra Padmanabhan. She is one of my favorite south Indian cookbook authors. Every recipe of hers is a keeper! This book is so amazing. Here’s a lovely recipe from the book.
Paithum Paruppu and Vendayam Dosai
(Green Gram and Fenugreek Dosa)
(recipe from Dosai by Chandra Padmanabhan)
Makes 10-12 dosais
1/4 cup husked green gram (mung dal)
2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 cup Parboiled Rice
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
3-4 Green Chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 Onion, finely chopped
5-6 Curry Leaves
Oil, as needed
Combine the dal and the fenugreek seeds. Wash well and soak in water for a couple of hours. Separately, wash the rice and soak for a couple of hours.
Drain and grind the dal, till light and fluffy, adding 1/2-3/4 cup water.
Drain the rice and grind to a smooth batter with 1-1 3/4 cups water.
Combine both the batters and add the salt and mix well. Set aside and allow to ferment for 4 hours.
When ready to make the dosas, add the cumin seeds, green chillies, coriander leaves, onion and curry leaves. Adjust the consistency by adding some water to make the batter of pouring consistency.
Prepare a tawa or flat top pan. To Prepare: Smear a thin layer of oil evenly on a tawa or griddle pan using a halved potato, or onion dipped in oil. Heat the tawa. When you sprinkle a few drops of water on it, it should sizzle.
With a clean wet cloth, wipe the tawa to remove excess oil. Lower heat and the tawa is now ready for cooking the dosai.
How to cook the dosai:
Pour a ladle of batter into the center of the tawa or griddle pan. Spread quickly using a circular motion with the back of the ladle to form a 6″ round dosai.
Drizzle 1 tsp oil around the edges.
Raise heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, till the base is golden brown.
Turn over carefully and fry the other side, till crisp and golden. Remove from heat.
Wipe the tawa with a wet cloth after making each dosai so that it does not get over-heated.
Oil the tawa again if it becomes too dry.
Repeat for the remaining batter.