When my sister-in-law, Padmavathy, or Paddu, who lives in Madras, spent a few days with us recently, I was thrilled to bits, partly for a selfish reason. Paddu is one of the best cooks in our family, and I was eager to learn as much as I could from her in the kitchen.This dosa recipe was one I picked up from her. I have always loved dosas and have my own recipe that makes pretty darn good ones. Still, it always seems like a long process. This recipe, from Paddu requires fewer hours of soaking time, after which you can make the batter and cook all the dosas your heart desires.I am still beating myself on the head because I didn't bring back with me a wet grinder for dosa and idli batter when I went to India recently. So as always I made the batter in my blender which doesn't grind it as fine. I do like the slight graininess because it gives the dosa an extra crispiness.
I used short-grain rice for the dosa, and there were two kinds of dal, udad and chana, that went into it, along with poha (flattened rice) and methi seeds. I spread the dosas very thin and crepe-like because that's how both Desi and I like them. They turned out quite amazing. Thanks, Paddu, for a keeper recipe!
- Soak in water all the ingredients except the salt for at least 4-5 hours and more if you have the time. Drain.
- Blend the rice-dal mixture, in several batches, adding enough water to make a smooth batter that's runny enough to spread into a crepe, but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. At this stage, you can leave the batter to ferment overnight, which helps make the dosas softer and also adds a ton of probiotic bacteria to your gut. But if you prefer the dosas unfermented, you can make them rightaway, without fermenting.
- To make the dosa, heat a cast-iron or non-stick griddle. Using a ladle with a rounded bottom, pour some batter into the center of the griddle and, in a quick but smooth motion, spread outward in concentric circles. Don't be afraid if you make holes: just add a small drop of batter to patch it. In this case, practice definitely makes perfect and trust me, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.
- Pour a few drops of oil around the dosa's edges. This really helps give it that crispiness I love. Once the underside is golden brown, loosen the dosa gently from the skillet and flip over. If your griddle was hot enough to begin with, this step will be very, very easy.
- Cook the other side for a few seconds, giving more time if your dosa is thicker. Serve hot with some sambar or chutney or both.