Author Topic: South Indian Rice and Black Lentil Crepes (Dosa) & Sesame Tamarind Chutney Powder  (Read 675 times)

Olga Drozd

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South Indian Rice and Black Lentil Crepes (Dosa)

There are as many different kinds of dosas as there are kitchens in the south of India, but a basic dosa is prepared with a batter made from rice and urad dal.  The batter is left to ferment, and then poured out onto a griddle to make anything from an 8-inch pancake to an enormous thin crepe.  Unlike the North Indian chapatis, which are used as a spoon to pick up other foods, moist and absorbent dosas are wonderful dipped into a curry or eaten with a coconut chutney--finger food par excellence.  NOTE:  Urad Dal; Also referred to as black gram dal, though when hulled it is off white in color. This dal is used more in the south of India than anywhere else, where it is an important ingredient in dosas.

3/4 cup urad dal, soaked overnight in water to cover (see Note above)
Approximately 3 1/2 cups water - divided
2 cups rice flour - divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

You will need a blender, a small saucepan, a large bowl, a 10-inch or larger griddle or cast iron skillet, a rubber spatula, and a metal spatula.

Drain the dal and place in a blender.  Add 1 cup cold water and blend until smooth.  (This may require giving the dal a stir manually at intervals.)

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water over low heat.  Stir in 1 Tablespoon of the rice flour, and cook, stirring until it begins to thicken.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground dal, salt, the remaining rice flour, and 2 cups water.  Stir well to make a thin batter.  Add the thickened rice paste and stir again to mix well.  Cover the bowl and let stand for at least 5 to 6 hours at room temperature.  (You can let the batter stand for up to 12 hours if necessary).

Heat a large griddle or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  With a paper towel, lightly oil the griddle.  The batter should be the thickness of a thin crepe batter; add a bit more water to thin if necessary. Pour 1/2 cup batter onto the hot griddle, starting at the center and moving out.  Use a spatula to help spread the batter as far as possible to the edges of the griddle; the dosa should be as thin as possible.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes on the first side, then turn and cook for about 1 minute longer, or until cooked through.

Remove the dosa from the griddle, place on a plate, and cover with a clean cloth to keep warm.

Repeat with remaining batter, stacking the dosas as you finish them and covering to keep warm.  Makes 15 to 20 thin crepe like breads, 8 to 10 inch in diameter.

Serve with South Indian Spicy Lentil Stew and coconut chutney for a very tradition South Indian meal.  For a lighter simpler meal, serve with Sesame Tamarind Chutney Powder mixed into a paste for dipping.


To use, just sprinkle the powder over bread or rice OR, in more orthodox fashion, mix it with vegetable oil or water to make a paste, and serve in condiment dishes as you might a hot mustard.

8 dried red chiles
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup urad dal
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 teaspoon salt

You will need a heavy skillet, a spice grinder, a mortar and pestle, and a small bowl.

In a dry heavy skillet roast the chiles over medium heat, stirring them constantly to prevent scorching, for 3 to 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Using the same skillet, dry roast the sesame seeds until they begin to turn slightly golden.  Remove from the heat and keep stirring for a minute or so; they will go on roasting in the retained heat of the pan, and it is important not to let them overcook, as they can lose their sweet nuttiness and become bitter.  Remove from the pan ans set aside.

Using the same technique, dry roast the dal, stirring constantly, until roasted and golden, 5 to 8 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

In a spice grinder, grind the chiles and then, separately, the dal, and place in a bowl. Then grind the sesame seeds, you can grind them in the spice grinder, but they quickly turn into a paste and stir to release their oils, so it is best to use a mortar to pulverize them.

Add the sesame seeds to the other ground ingredients, together with the asafoetida, and mix well.  Transfer 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the ground powder to the spice grinder, add the tamarind paste and salt, and blend well. Return this mixture to the remaining powder and mix well.  Let dry completely, stirring every now and again, before storing in a well sealed glass container.  Makes 1 scant cup powder.

Use as a condiment with bread:  Dip bread into the powder or sprinkle a little powder on top. Alternatively mix up with a little oil to make a paste, and place on the table to accompany rice and Black Lentil Crepes.