Dosa's are one of the staple foods which is available all over India originally from the south. In the south, dosa's can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are rice pancakes filled with vegetables and usually accompanied with coconut chutney and dal. The dal can be either spicy 'Rassam' or thick and soupy. I will give you both the recipes. This recipe is supplied by my sister who is the greatest dosa maker in the world!! You dont have to make the dal or the chutney or you can make the dal and not the chutney or the other way round its up to you!!! You can just have the pancakes on their own they taste great! They are served in a large dish with the dosa stuffed with the vegetable mix, the dal and the chutney are served in small bowls which sit inside the main plate. Although the recipe I have written looks long and labourious it's really not that bad if you try it and you can adapt it to your version no problem!
For Dosa mix (Pancake): Wash and mix all the dals soak for at least 5 to 6 hours and then blend into a smooth pancake-like mixture and leave to ferment overnight in a warm place such as your boiler cupboard. Leave until required. You can also store any extra pancake mixture in the fridge for a couple of days or some people even freeze it to use another time. You can get ready made dosa mix from Indian grocery stores, which will not require you to do the above :)!
Make Dal Masala: To make authentic tasting dal you need to make the dal masala first. This requires you to do some extra work! :) If you can't hack it then you can get dal 'garam masala' from stores and supermarkets nowadays. But believe me, if have you a little bit of time i'ts worth the extra effort and you can store the homemade masala in an airtight container for quite sometime.
Take a heavy based pan and place over very low heat add the chann dal and the urad dal and roast over slow heat, when fragrent and slightly red add all the other ingredients and roast over a gentle heat until all the ingredients have heated through and there is a spicy aroma! Leave to cool and then blend all the ingredients in a coffee grinder or such into a powder. This can be kept in an airtight container until required. You can get garam masala or even dosa masala sometimes readymade from indian grocery stores. Saves you doing the above!
Rassam: Thin consume which can be eaten with dosa it is very popular in a cold climate! Serves 2 to 3 people.
Boil the toovar dal or place in pressure cooker or cook in water until tender blend into soupy consistency. Take a large pan and add the oil gently heat until hot and add the channa dal and urad dal wait a couple of seconds until roasted and slightly red, stirring all the time, then add the rai, hing, limdo. The rai should pop. Add the toovar dal and stir. Add the water and stir. Now add the salt, haldi powder, garam masala, amli paste and stir thoroughly. If the mixture is thick add more water, rassam is more like a consome then a dal. Leave over slow to meduim heat to boil for at least 3/4 to an hour. rasam can also be eaten with 'Idli' (steamed rice cakes) or with rice.
Dosa Dal (normal) Make same as above, but you will need more boiled toovar dal, at least 2 to 2 1/2 cups. You can add vegetables to this add some diced bringles (aubergines), Onions, small potato. This dal is thick and rich. Delicious!
Dosa Stuffing (vegetable): Serves 2 to 3 people.
In a wok or karahi add the oil and place over meduim heat. When hot, add the limdo leaves, urad dal and stir. When slightly red add the jeera seeds and the rai seeds once popped add the potatoes and the onions. Now add the salt and the haldi powder and the green chiles, cover and cook on meduim to low heat. Keep stirring making sure it does not stick. When nearly tender, add all the other ingredients. Now stir and leave to cook until done. You can add lemon juice to this now, if you prefer.
In a small frying pan put the oil to heat. When oil is ho,t add the urad dal. Wait until it goes slightly red and add the rai and the limdo. Once popped, take of the heat and leave aside. Take a bowl and mix the rest of the ingredients together. When mixed, add the stuff from the frying pan. If the chutney is too tart for your taste, you can add sugar or sugar substitute to tone it down.
Dosa Pancake method:
Now that you have made the dal, the chutney and the stuffing. Take a flat frying pan (in India there are special dosa tawai's) or you can use a heavy based griddle or even a non stick frying pan. Place on meduim heat, test if hot enough by placing a drop of the pancake mixture on it. If the mixture is done immediately, its done! Now take a ladle or cup and pour about 1/2 cup of mixture on to the frying pan. Spread across the pan into a circle using the ladle or some people move the pan around! Do this as quickly as possible as the pancake will start cooking immediately. Add a good teaspoon of oil around the edges. Once the pancke looks done on one side, gently ease it off the pan with a flat edged pallett knife or spatula and turn. (The first 2 always stick and break don't panic). Once both sides are cooked, place a generous helping of the stuffing in the middle fold over the the two sides and serve hot, with hot dal or rassam and chutney or ketchup!!! enjoy!!! you deserve it! :)
In between the pancakes if you clean the pan with a kitchen towel soaked in water, it helps the next pancake cook more evenly. The thinner you can make the pancake the better. If you can someone else to make this for you, even better!!! :) !