South Indian Cookbook

Masala Dosai

Masala Dosai, (or dosa) is a favorite part of the South Indian breakfast. Masala Dosai is a flat rice pancake that is fried very crisply in a tawa, or seasoned frying pan. Masala refers to the wonderful curries and chutneys that accompany the Dosai. I will provide the traditional way of making this dish, but if you need to, there are ways of adapting to a modern lifestyle and appliances. This dish is best if you make the batter the night before so it has a chance to sit and ferment a little to achieve the correct sourdough type flavor.

3 cups boiled rice (not basmati)
1 cup raw rice
1 cup black gram dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Salt to taste

In one bowl, soak the rice together in water. In another bowl, soak the black gram dal and fenugreek in water. This should be done for 5 to 6 hours. After soaking, grind the contents of each bowl to a smooth consistency and stir the two together. (If you do not have a grinder, you can use pre-ground rice and dal flour, although the end result will not be as good.) Add the salt and mix well. Cover the mixture and allow to ferment overnight.

Make the Potato Crumble and Coconut Chutney and set aside. Heat a frying pan (either a well seasoned or Teflon pan) to medium heat and spread a very thin layer of oil with a cloth or paper towel. When the pan is at the right temperature ladle the batter in a spiral pattern starting in the center, keeping the batter thin until you have a flat pancake. You may have to experiment a little until you achieve a consistent thickness. Put a little oil around the edges of the pancake. Fry until it is crisp. There is no need to turn it over if it is thin enough.

Place an egg-sized portion of Potato Crumble in the center and fold the sides over the filling, like you would an omlette. Serve hot with the fold-side down. Place the Coconut Chutney, Sambar, and Mint Chutney on the side of the Masala Dosai to be dipped in.

You should be able to find the ingredients for Masala Dosai at your local store. If you are in a hurry, mixes for masala dosai can be bought here.