As much as I wish I could spend all day in the kitchen cooking a slow and leisurely meal, there are times — most times in my case– when time is just not on my side. That’s when I start sniffing around for ideas for new meals, or very often reworking something old into something new, in 30 minutes or less.
One of my favorite recipes to make over is the delicious dosa. I love these crispy, flaky, healthy circles of lentil-and-rice goodness with a passion. Perhaps it’s because I am an honorary Tamilian (believe me, I know more ingredient names in Tamil than Desi does, and Tamil’s his mother tongue. Ha!). Or maybe it’s just that dosas are a perfect combination of healthy meets delicious, which makes it the perfect food for a foodie health nut.
So when I came upon a dosa recipe by Jamie Oliver that needed me to do nothing more than mix two flours with a glug of water, I ran to my pantry without pausing to put my reader down.
To be completely honest, I was a tiny bit skeptical. There is a good reason why generations of south Indian cooks have soaked lentils and rice for hours, usually overnight,and then painstakingly ground them up into the perfect consistency – and then fermented the batter for several hours more — before ladling out the dosa batter on a sizzling griddle. All that soaking and grinding and fermenting is important to create dosas that are light, airy, and perfectly textured and flavored. And I still believe that is the best kind of dosa to make, when you have the time.
But quick dosas, lifesaving additions to our busy lives, can be just as delicious. What I really loved about Jamie’s recipe was that it was even simpler than most quick dosa recipes I’ve tried my hand at in the past. There’s just one caveat– eat this dosa pretty fast after it cooks, for it tends to stiffen up on standing.
To stuff into my dosa, I made a traditional potato subzi with a slight variation: I added to it a rainbow of bell peppers, to add more nutrition and because I wanted those lovely colors to contrast with the golden dosa.
I can’t think of an easier recipe for breakfast: it probably will take you just as much time as it would to whip up pancakes out of the box, and the potato subzi, also quite easy, can easily be made ahead of time.
If you feel like adding some traditional flavor to your non-traditional dosa, dunk it in some coconut chutney. In fact, do it anyway. You’ll be ecstatic.
Enjoy the weekend, all! You’ve earned it.
- For the dosa:
- 1 cup garbanzo bean flour or chickpea flour or besan
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- Salt to taste
- For the potato-pepper subzi:
- 6 medium potatoes, skins scrubbed clean
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 dry red chillies, broken into pieces
- 2 bell peppers. Use any color or a mix of colors. I used red, green and yellow.
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- Make the potato subzi:
- Boil the potatoes in their jackets until a fork inserted in the thickest portion goes cleanly through. Dice the potatoes into a fairly small dice. I leave the skins on because I love them, but you can peel your potatoes if you'd rather.
- Heat the oil in a wok or a large saucepan
- Add the mustard seeds and when they crackle, add the red chillies and onions.
- Saute, stirring frequently, until the onion just starts to turn color
- Add the ginger and saute a few more seconds. Add the diced bell peppers and ground black pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the peppers start to soften. Add the potatoes.
- Let the potatoes cook over medium-high heat until they start to form a crust at the bottom. Stir a few times so they don't stick. With a potato masher or a heavy ladle, mash the potatoes slightly.
- Season with salt and stir in the lemon juice.
- Sprinkle the coriander leaves and mix.
- Make the dosa:
- Mix the flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl with enough water to make a runny batter. You want something far runnier than a pancake batter because you want to spread it fairly thin.
- Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Using a round-bottomed ladle, pour about half a cup of batter into the center of the griddle. Quickly, spread outward in a circular motion with the bottom of the ladle. You want your dosa to be fairly thin if you like it crispy.
- Sprinkle or spray some oil around the edges. Cook until the top is dry and the edges are browned. Remove to a plate.
- Place the stuffing inside the dosa, fold over, and serve with some chutney.