Sunday, April 06, 2008

More Dosa Love

Srivalli's Dosa Mela ("dosa" is a family of Southern Indian crepes/pancakes and "mela" is a gathering or fair) has me all excited. I have two recipes to take along to the dosa mela today: my version of the classic Mysore Masala dosa and then, specially for certain people who can't get dosa batter to ferment, a simple goduma dosa, that needs no soaking, grinding, fermenting or any other form of molly-coddling whatsoever.

Eating out at a dosa restaurant is always a lot of fun. Generally, the menu is long but predictable and having a working knowledge of dosa vocabulary goes a long way in making informed decisions about what dosa to choose from the menu!

What to expect when you are expecting dosa to be served :D
Dosa: An airy pancake/crepe made with fermented rice-lentil batter
Rava Dosa: Instead of the regular dosa batter, this dosa is made with a semolina (rava) batter; it is a dosa that looks lacier and has a different taste
Masala: Normal usage: spice; in the dosa context, this is a spicy, turmeric-tinged potato filling
Sada: This refers to "plain", sans potato filling
Mysore: This is a beautiful city in Southern India. In the dosa context, it means that the dosa will be smeared with a spicy chutney (either a paste or a powder)
Paper: An extra-crispy dosa that is as thin as paper
Ghee: Indian clarified butter will be used in copious amounts in the making of this dosa

So when you read "Sada Rava Dosa" or "Paper Masala Dosa" or "Ghee Mysore Dosa" on the menu, you know exactly what they are referring to. South Indian restaurants specializing in dosas are becoming more popular in the US, thank goodness. In NYC, I highly recommend the gunpowder masala dosa at Chennai Garden (they call it gunpowder for a reason, trust me). In St. Louis, I am told that a restaurant called Priyaa serves dosas, but I have yet to eat there. Of course, if you live in St. Louis, you can be nice to me and I'll be happy to invite you home for dosas ;)

The Mysore Masala Dosa is not difficult to make but I will say that it a multi-component dish: you need to make coconut chutney and sambar (who ever heard of a proper dosa meal without those fixings?) and for the dosa, you need some potato masala (my recipe for the potato masala is exactly like Sailu's) and chutney. The chutney that I am accustomed to seeing in Mysore dosas is the powdered kind (podi). This is not difficult to make at home, but I chose the lazy way out and used store-bought MTR chutney powder. The recipe for the dosa batter comes from the booklet 100 Tiffin Varieties by S. Mallika Badrinath. This tiny and inexpensive booklet is full of good ideas and recipes (well, a hundred of them, as advertised). Apart from a bunch of dosa recipes, she has 2 "Dosa Bonanza" tables (one for the soaking/grinding variety and one for the ready-mix variety) which cover about 20-some dosas in the space of 3-4 pages by cleverly putting columns in a spreadsheet: name of dosa, ingredients, seasonings, method of cooking, yield etc. Very efficient!

Mysore Masala Dosa

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(From Mallika Badrinath's 100 Tiffin Varieties; serves 2-3)
Ingredients:
Soak together for 5-6 hours:
½ C Brown rice
½ C Sona masuri rice (or other white rice)
1 heaped T urad dal
1 heaped T toor dal

¼ C poha (flattened rice flakes)
1 t salt (or to taste)

½ t sugar
1 ½ T rava (semolina)

Method:
1. An hour before grinding, soak the poha. Then, drain the soaked poha and add it to the soaked ingredients. Grind everything together into a smooth batter.
2. Add salt and ferment in a warm spot for 12-16 hours or until utterly bubbly.
3. An hour before making dosas, stir in the sugar and rava into the batter. The batter should be easy to pour- add some water if it is too thick.

Make thin dosas, using the back of the ladle to spread the dosa out on the skillet. These thin dosas only need to be cooked on one side. When the top of the dosa is dry, sprinkle some (or a lot!) of the chutney powder and a little bit of the potato stuffing. Fold, serve, eat...right away.
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I think the little bit of rava makes this dosa extra crispy and delicious. This was such a wonderful meal!

For a gorgeous version of Mysore Masala dosa, check this recipe from Ruchii. What's more, she is from Mysore!

In case you are still hungry, here is the second dosa. You mix two flours, pour in water to make a batter and make dosas. Easy breezy but delicious. The concept of using atta (fine whole wheat flour) for dosa is completely new to me. I followed Krithika's recipe for Goduma dosa, and halved it to get just enough dosas for two, and one little dosa just for Dale (he loves dosa like you would not believe; sits and begs by the stove until I feed him some). I did not bother to let the batter rest, and made sure that it was a very thin batter. These dosas are unlike any I have made before, the batter pours on the skillet and turns into this lacy pattern as it dances over the hot surface.
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I served these crispy dosas with Indosungod's Tomato Carrot Chutney- a clever recipe that uses carrot instead of coconut.
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*** *** ***

In the past couple of weeks, I have been trooping all over town meeting food bloggers here in St. Louis. First it was a St. Louis Food Bloggers potluck, hosted by Stef. Just as expected, it was a wonderful event, with good company and great food. Among other goodies, I tasted these lavender-pear cupcakes, gawked at IronStef's creations and could not get enough of this gorgeous orzo with roasted vegetables.

My own contributions to the potluck: Ragda-Patties with the works, and Carrot Halwa (although those posts are old ones, and the recipes I now use have been tweaked a bit).
I was in a silly mood, and shaped the patties as hearts. It turned out not to be such a bad idea after all; the heart-shaped patties have better stacking properties and I could fit more patties per square inch on the baking dish!
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It turns out that Stef's husband, Jonathan, is a professional photographer. Here is a gorgeous photo he took of my date-tamarind chutney being poured onto a patty:
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Then, yesterday, I got a chance to have coffee with Seema, just in the nick of time as she relocates to India in a few days. It was wonderful to sit and talk with her and get to meet her family, including an adorable toddler. Here's wishing Seema good times in her new home and plenty of good eats in her new kitchen in India.

Meeting up with food bloggers sometimes results in funny conversations in real life.

When I told my friend M about the bloggers potluck...
M: A Food Bloggers' potluck?? Can regular people go?
Me: No, you have to be a food blogger or be married to one!
M: Oh :( loose associations with food bloggers don't count, eh?


And when my friend J (who has no idea about this blog) asked about my weekend plans...
Me: I'm going to have coffee with a friend...she is relocating to India and I want to meet up with her.
J: How do you know her?
Me: Umm...I met her online...


Have a great week, everyone!

44 comments:

  1. Ooo ... I like Mallika Badrinath's book! And now I'm hungry. For dosas. And ragda patties. Nupur, why do you have to live so far away???

    Hey, how's Dale? And has he gotten his goody bag as yet? :)

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  2. Oh my God, the dosa looks amazing!! Reminds me of Sarvana Bhawan.

    Looking at the ragda patties..why don't I live in St. Louis?

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  3. Great post! Someday (when I'm retired and get to travel around the country!) I'm going to come to St. Louis just so I can try your dosas.

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  4. Nupur - that is a lovely squeeze bottle for chutneys and sauces. May I ask where you got it from?

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  5. The first time I tasted masala dosa was in London, nearly 20 years ago, at a restaurant called The India Club, which is on The Strand near the theater district. The restaurant is completely nondescript, but has the best Indian food I've ever tasted. To this day, every time I'm in London I go to The India Club for masala dosa.

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  6. Oh, the Masala Dosa looks wonderful and just the way it is supposed to be - crisp and brown on the outside and soft & spongy on the inside. How lovely that you guys had a bloggers' Potluck & got to meet people that otherwise are just names! The cutlets looks wonderful too.

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  7. The lovely lacy dosa made my mouth water...yum. Dosa and its varieties are greatly loved at our house. My hubby V in fact loves to make fluffy/crispy dosas while I sit and relish them.
    And I love ragada pattice too. My maushi in bombay makes the best ragada pattice I have ever tasted. I can remember, my sister and I eating platefuls of this at her house. Thanks for the memories!!

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  8. Masala dosai looks gorgeous Nupur. When you have a chapati/paratha making handicap like mine these godhuma dosais come in very handy. Love the lacy pattern you got there. I am glad you tried the tomato chutney with carrot, they do make a good replacement for coconut don't they atleast in the texture dept?

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  9. Thanks for your kind words - it was also great meeting you!

    House of India here in STL serves masala dosas on their weekend buffet. I can't believe you haven't been there yet!

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  10. Drooling over your dosas, Nupur....and craving for some right now :-)

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  11. Oh, the dosas look just perfect Nupur, better than any restaurant *any* day. Inviting us home if we live in STL hmm? I'll be packing tonight... :):)

    I love the dosa vocabulary you detailed -- it's not unlike eating in a sushi bar where the Japanese words for tea and a few others take on new meanings only applicable when enjoying sushi. One Mysore Masala Dosa for me please -- even with "gunpowder" ;)
    BTW I have also tried Krithika's wheat dosa, easy and tasty! Good to know it's pet-friendly too. Hope Dale is still doing well!

    Your heart-shaped ragda patties could be patented... very pretty! And now it's time for me to close this treatise of a comment and say thanks for this lovely post -- I know you're busy and it's great to see you around :)

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  12. Nupur, thank you so much for those lovely dosas...they look really yum!..and those goduma dosas really look so crisp!..

    and of course your heart shaped patties look awesome...

    its fun meeting fellow bloggers right...we just don't know the time passing!..

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  13. As usual everything looks incredibly delicious Nupur! I didn't have much luck the one time I tried making idli, but I think I'm going to have to give your dosa recipe a try - nice to know there's another recipe that doesn't require fermentation. I made the adai this evening (so good!) and that quinoa soup earlier this week (outstanding!). Hope you had a great weekend!

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  14. you are making me so hungry, gal. i'm like dale, sitting at the computer and salivating.

    you use MTR podi? we use the red spicy podi you sent us on dosas. :D it's perfect.

    recently, i made wheat dosas with a bit of added sourdough. really yummy.

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  15. Hi Nupur...the mysore Dosa looks amazing ...nice and crispy.the recipe is quite new to me basically the addition of rawa and poha...have bookmarked it:)

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  16. Wonderful post! Love Dosas , specially Mysore D. packed with fire.. err.. chutney! The goduma dosa lokks lovely and lacy!

    Looks like the potluck was a smash hit! the heart shaped patties look yum!

    BTW, Dale is looking very hansome (as always)in the profile pic !!

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  17. Lovely looking dosas....and nice write-up.

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  18. KayKat, I wish I lived in Seattle :) Dale is doing great (just had his monthly BIG injection this weekend) and sends his love!

    enjay, ragda patties is (are?) sooo easy to make...no matter where you live!

    Kalyn, actually, I hope someday I am going to be living in India and that you will come and visit me there! But I promise you dosas no matter where I live :)

    Garam Masala, it is a bottle that agave nectar came in (Madhava brand). Once empty, I took off the labels (a blow-dryer is a good way to loosen labels from bottles and jars) and am reusing it for chutneys etc. :)

    Lydia, oh, the best food does come from little nondescript restaurants, doesn't it?! I wonder if you have a South Indian restaurant near where you live now.

    Vani, yes, I was quite pleased with the results :) feels great to make at home what I have always loved to eat in restaurants.
    So true- putting faces to the blogs was the best part about the potluck, and meeting people who share a common passion with you.

    Namita, V is the dosa-making expert in our home too, I must admit. His dosas always are incredibly thin and perfectly browned. Your memories sound lovely! Ragda patties is a source of much joy, right?

    Indosungod, I was amazed at these goduma dosas...would never have thought to make a thin batter with chapati flour!! Your chutney is ever so innovative...yes, it is startling how close the texture is to coconut chutney. I have tons of recipes from your blog that I want to try!

    Jonathan, I know...I have tried only two Indian restaurants on STL so far! Probably because I cook so much Indian food at home and want to try something different when we eat out. But I am going to try this buffet soon since you recommend it :)

    Sunita, glad you like them, my dear, and wish I could share some with you right now!

    Linda, you show up any old day and there will be dosas waiting for you! I must say that some dosa restaurants do a superb job with dosas...and they have those huge griddles that result in those giant dosas that are so much fun to eat.
    Dale is doing quite well and says thanks for asking :) I don't know if all dogs like dosa or if this is something peculiar to him...but he *loves* them :D

    Srivalli, so true...with fellow bloggers there is always so much to chatter on about! Thanks for hosting this party. I am so thrilled that I will get dozens of new dosa recipes to play with.

    Cathy, dosas are soooo much easier to make than idlis, and so much more forgiving! The first dosa needs fermenting...the second can be put together in minutes. Just play with the thickness (thin-ness?) of the batter to get crispy results.
    So glad you got a chance to try the adai and quinoa soup :) an glad you enjoyed both.
    I did have a good weekend; it is getting nice and springy here! Hopefully those are not famous last words :D

    Bee, LOL well, I seem to have some sort of mental block with using peanut podi in dosas (peanut podi in Marathi dishes, lentil podi in dosas...or so my brain insists).
    Your experiments with sourdough have me ridiculously excited. I can't wait for summer when I will have the time to try that out!

    Saswati, yes, I was intrigued by the addition of rava and poha too, which is why I decided to give it a try. I have had great results with including poha in dosa batter....seems to ferment well and give such spongy airy results. The rava seems to make dosas crispy. Let me know how it works for you, if you do try it :)

    Manasi, the potluck was a smash hit indeed...we stuffed ourselves silly :D ate more dessert than I eat in a year usually.
    Dale says thanks :)

    Jayashree, glad you like it!

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  19. Oh masal dosa looks so delicious. I have not ate them in ages.

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  20. mysore md looks soooo good, Nupur! do u always use brown rice in it? i would like to try ur proportions & was wondering if u've tried 'em with just white rice, tx.

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  21. Great post! You always inspire me, but the dosas have been added to the "soon to be made" list over here. I also liked seeing your whimsical side with the hearts (which turned out to be practical too)!

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  22. The dosa looks fantastic. Pictures are awesome.

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  23. Your dosas look amazing. Cooked to perfection. I've been experimenting with dosa lately and would love to try these.

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  24. wow,those are simple easy recipes for dosas....whats the recipe you use for sambar? I can never make my sambar taste like the authentic kind you find in the south indian temples in the US

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  25. Beautiful dosas!
    I'm nodding in agreement at the 'met her online' response. Done that quite a few times.
    the expression on the other person's face it always droll.

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  26. It was so great meeting you! Glad you had a nice time. Loved your food! I look forward to seeing you again sometime.

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  27. I am coming, I love Mysore Masala Dosas but I know for sure that I suck at making Dosas.
    The Goduma Dosa is a novelty and seems to be ok for ppl like me. Shall try that out. I can use store bought rice flour, can I ?

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  28. both the dosas look lovely Nupur! and it's nice to know you got to meet fellow foodies!:) that's really exciting :)

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  29. I fall into that " can't get dosa batter to ferment" category :) I don't know what I do wrong.

    I make these easy wheat dosas whenever I get bored of making Poli. It tastes pretty good.

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  30. Your ragda hearts were so pretty at the potluck! It was great to meet you both. And thank you for the compliment on the orzo with roasted veggies.

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  31. You know what, Nupur-y'day i opened this post and ogled for a long time-i was so tempted by the dosas and other goodies (especially those hearty heart shaped tikkis) that i even forgot to comment!! Why, cuz' i had to amke the godhuma dosa!! Pure magic, girl!

    Dale does have very good taste, doesn't he :).

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  32. Happy Cook, thanks!

    Richa, yes, for several months I have been using brown rice instead of white rice in dosas (for the nutrition boost). But just white rice would work fine...in fact the original recipe in the cookbook uses only white rice.

    Laura, thank you for the sweet words! I do hope you get a chance to try dosas at home...they are delicious and nutritious all at once.

    Uma, thank you :)

    Lisa, I have been experimenting with dosas too...and have 1000s of dosa recipes still waiting to be tried :)

    Supriya, I know what you mean about that authentic kind of sambar (no, mine does not taste like it)...I think addition of freshly ground masala paste along with sambar powder is key. You could try recipes from Indosungod, Paati, Maheshwari or Padma.

    TheCooker, yes, droll expression is right! :D People raise their eyebrows...it is quite hilarious.

    Stef, I hope to meet you again too! Thank you for graciously hosting the potluck :)

    Sandeepa, no way...just start afresh with confidence and you will be churning out dosas like an expert...it is not difficult! Now idlis is another story, but dosa is quite manageable. The goduma dosa is fun to make but please make sure the batter is quite thin (try one and add more water if it does not form the lacy pattern). Sure, the store-bought rice flour works just fine. I'll be posting something for your RCI next :)

    Mansi Desai, yes, it certainly is exciting to meet fellow foodies :)

    Kalai, thanks!

    Anjali, really? :( that's too bad. I wonder what makes certain locations so unfriendly to natural fermentation. Would perhaps adding the tiniest pinch of store-bought yeast work? Or adding a little starter from the idli/dosa batter from a friend?

    Lisa, I can't wait to try that orzo recipe. It was wonderful to meet you too :) and I am looking forward to reading your blog regularly and learning some new vegan recipes.

    Musical, LOL I know that feeling...when you have to leave the computer and head for the kitchen right that minute! Aren't the goduma dosas pretty?!
    Dale is surprising me with his obsession with dosa/adai/uttapam. Nowadays he is so spoilt (with being sick and all) that I make a little dosa just for him!

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  33. I know what you mean - I met up with Deeba of Passionate about Baking and we had a great time catchin up! and yes - other people dont understand! :)

    The Mysore Masala looks crispy and scrumptious - the ones I have eaten in Mumbai's Udipe restaurants though, always had a red chutney smeared instead of the podi...

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  34. I just read mallika badrinath's book from a friend and was planning to buy it...loved the recipes

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  35. LOL at the last line of this post! Hilarious! It is funny explaining to people. : )

    That must have been a great time and I love your heart patties!

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  36. hi nupur, could you post how to bake ragda patties in oven instead of frying in oil on stovetop, thnx

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  37. Hi Nupur,

    I bet the ragda patties w/ the date-tamarind chutney were delicious! I love the heart shapes. Sorry I missed the potluck, unfotunately I had to work :-(

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  38. Miri, oh, you met up with Deeba?! That must have been fun! About the Mysore masala dosas...we must have eaten in different restaurants :D I somehow always remember that thick layer of powdered chutney inside them.

    easycrafts, yes, those little books are worth keeping at hand.

    Anali, it sure is...I love the shocked expression that says, "I did not know you did that sort of thing". Yes, the potluck was a lot of fun :)

    Bruno, I am sorry you had to work and miss the potluck :( I was hoping to see you there. Hope all is well with you, Bruno!

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  39. Dosa mast diste! - that's a little of the Marathi I know! Liked your thali too!

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  40. what is the best dosa restaurant in the st. louis area?

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  41. Hi Nupur,

    Tried out the recipe for your dosa batter and the sambar you recommended. Tuened out to be an awesome Saturday brunch. The dosas were crisp and I could spread them paper thin. Nice recipe, I'm waiting to try out something else soon.

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  42. Had some leftover batter. Just FYI the leftover batter made awesome dhoklas with the addition of a little soda.

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  43. OMG So Mouth watering recipe thank you for posting

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