The Art of Making a Crispy Dosa
Prerna Singh serves a lovely Indian pancake that can be filled with just about anything that tastes good.
By Prerna Singh
Dosa is an Indian style crepe or thin pancake. While in the north India roti or bread made usually with wheat is popular, dosa is a southern favorite. It is usually made by mixing rice and lentils in a particular ratio and then ground and fermented before making crepes out of it.
1 ½ cups parboiled rice (washed and soaked overnight)
½ cup split urad dal (washed and soaked overnight) I use washed urad dal with no skin on.
2 tbsp semolina or poha (flattened rice) – Using this makes dosa crisper.
1 tbsp salt
Oil (If you have an oil spray then better.)
You will also need:
Griddle, spatula, a wet grinder (to grind rice and lentils) – if you don’t have a wet grinder your blender should also work but with a wet grinder the batter is just smoother.
Soak rice and urad dal for at least 6 hours or overnight. Then grind them separately into a smooth flowing batter. Grinding the two separately and then mixing makes the batter lighter. It also helps in speeding up the fermentation process.
Mix the two, add salt and cover the batter. Let it ferment overnight. The lid should be tight enough to trap the temperature inside but loose enough to let a little circulation of air. So don’t use an air tight container. Also the temperature should be somewhere around 80-85 deg. F for a proper fermentation.
Making of crepes:
Heat a griddle. To test I sprinkle water on the griddle, if the water sizzles away right the moment then the griddle is hot enough.
In a bowl, mix water and oil. ½ tbsp. oil to 2 cups of water. This water and oil mixture is used to clean and oil the pan after every dosa comes out of the griddle.
Spray some oil on the pan. Dip a piece of cloth on the water oil mixture. Squeeze out extra water and then rub it over the pan to clean excess oil.
Now pour a ladle of dosa batter. Starting from the center in an outward direction, swirl the ladle in a circular motion spreading the batter into a thin crepe.
When the batter is spread, after a few seconds (8-10) it will start getting dry, spray or sprinkle oil on the dosa.
Give it a few more seconds and the bottom of your dosa will start getting darker and golden brown in color. This means your dosa is almost ready.
At this point if you want to add any filling in your dosa, you can place it in the center and fold the two sides, one over the other. The filling can be a simple potato filling or vegetables or even minced/cooked meat.
Traditionally dosa is served with sambhar (lentil soup cooked with vegetables) or spicy coconut chutney.