Dosa- The savory rice and lentil crepe is perhaps one of those Indian foods that is popular all over the world. A crepe with a crispy exterior and a spongy and melt in the mouth interior, which encases the mildly spiced potato and onion curry, which is then dipped in coconut chutney. To me, it is one of those ultimate breakfast dishes that can keep me going till lunch.
To me, Dosa brings back a lot of memories. The memories of my mother or my grandmother making dosas on those blackened ancestral skillets. And us girls loitered in the kitchen asking "is it ready?" every five minutes.
During my high school days we would have extra classes for Maths and Science on Saturdays. During those times, my classmates and I would visit this hotel called Sudha hotel which was just opposite school. The Dosas that were made there were delicious. Or at least I thought so. For Rs.2.50, we would get a scrumptious masala dosa. Besides that, we could watch their cooks make the dosas on griddle that was just enormous. The cook would dip a broom in a stainless steel bucket containing oil and splatter liberal amounts on the preheated griddle. He would then dip a bowl into a large vessel containing dosa batter and with experienced hands spread the batter into perfect circle. As the dosa was roasted, the cook threw a handful of the potato curry and fold the dosa twice and then place it on a plate lined with banana leaf. The dosa would then be served along with a small bowl of coconut chutney and sambar. To me, eating dosa at Sudha hotel was not only a treat to my taste buds but also a visual treat. Watching the cook, make at least ten dosas at a time, was mind boggling and unforgettable.
I am surprised that after all these years, I still remember every small detail about that joint. The burly cook who made the dosas, to the pleasant faced manager behind the counter. To the fiber glass tables and chairs and those greasy stainless steel jugs and glasses. I am not sure if the hotel still exists. But the memory of the Sudha hotel dosas is still fresh in my mind.
Before I came across this recipe, I could make decent dosas. but they lacked the taste and texture of a South Indian hotel. And then, I came across this recipe in a TV show. The cook refused to divulge the measurements. But he had given out the ingredients. I had to experiment quite a few times to get the right taste and texture. After that, there was no looking back. I could make restaurant style dosas right at home.
Even though this is a great recipe, it took me quite some time to capture it. The images that you see, were taken during a period of one month. Yes. It took me that long. But even now, I am not completely satisfied the results. There are chances that I might repost the recipe with better pictures.
This recipe might seem a bit long and tedious. But trust me, the taste is well worth the effort. Give my version of dosa a try and I assure you, you will not miss the Masala dosas from the restaurant ever again.
Restaurant style Masala Dosa recipe:
Preparation time: 20min+ 5-6hrs of soaking time
Fermentation time: 6-7hrs
Cooking time: 30min
Makes- Approximately 24 dosas
Sona Masuri rice- 2 cups or 240gm
Beaten rice- 2-3tbsp
Urad dal- 1 cup or 120gm
Fenugreek seeds- 1-1/2 tsp
Rice flour- 2 cups
Fine semolina or chiroti rava- 1/2 cup, dry roasted
Salt to taste
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Oil or ghee to grease and roast the Dosas
One recipe onion and potato curry
Coconut chutney to serve
- Wash and soak the Rice along with the beaten rice in enough water and set aside for 5-6 hrs
- Wash and soak the urad dal along with the fenugreek seeds in enough water and keep aside 5-6hrs
- Make a paste by mixing the rice flour and the semolina with enough water. Mix well so that there are no lumps.
- Drain the soaked urad dal and fenugreek mixture and blend in a blender till smooth and airy by adding water little by little.
- Drain the soaked rice and beaten rice mixture and blend in the same blender jar till smooth.
- Combine the ground urad dal paste and the rice paste along with rice flour and semolina mixture and beat well. Set aside to ferment for atlas 5-6hrs.
- Once the batter has fermented and risen, add the salt and sugar and mix well.
- If the batter is thick then add water to achieve the required consistency.
- Heat a non stick or a cast Iron skillet. Sprinkle a little water. If it steams and sizzles then the skillet is ready to use.
- Pour a ladle full of batter on the skillet and spread the batter with the ladle in a circular motion to make a dosa of 6-7" in diameter.
- Drizzle a teaspoon oil or ghee around the dosa and cook on medium heat till the dosa turns brown and crisp.
- Place a table spoon of the onion and potato curry in the centre and fold over to make a semi circle.
- Serve immediately with coconut chutney on the side.
- Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Tips for a perfect dosa:
- Use your hands to mix/beat the ground pastes. Using your hands will not only ensure that batter becomes light and airy but it will also speed up the fermentation process.
- The batter should neither be too thick or too thin. It should be just thick enough to coat the back of the ladle or spoon.
- To avoid the batter from going stale, add the required amount of salt and a pinch of sugar only to the portion of the batter that is going to be used. The remaining batter can be refrigerated for almost a week.
- The batter should always be at room temperature. If the batter is refrigerated, leave it in room temperature for about 20mins before you proceed.
- To prepare the tawa or skillet, heat it till it becomes very hot. Sprinkle some water. It should evaporate quickly. Wipe the skillet with a tissue or a cloth and then rub it with potato or onion slice dipped in oil. The skillet should not be very hot when spreading the batter.