Dosa is one of my culinary staples. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a south Indian savory crepe/pancake made with a batter that is fermented. When I was traveling in India a few years ago, I found it was often served with a spicy potato filling (masala dosa was what they called it). It’s very easy to make and is versatile in how you can serve it. It’s also a nice gluten free alternative to traditional pancakes and is a nice source of protein.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Fermentation time: 1-2 days
Yield: 4 cups batter (or six 3/4 cup batter pancakes)
1c brown rice (uncooked)
1c red lentils (uncooked)
1/2t sea salt
- place the brown rice, lentils, fenugreek and salt in a bowl
- more than cover with water as the rice and lentils will expand as they absorb the liquid
- Let sit 4-6 hours or overnight if you prefer
- Put it all in a blender and add water until the level of the liquid is about an inch above the other ingredients
- blend until smooth
- pour into a bowl and set it on the counter uncovered for 1-2 days. You’ll see it puffing up and as the fermentation progresses, the scent will become a little more sour.
- To cook, heat a skillet (if not non-stick, perhaps add the slightest bit of oil spread evenly) and stir the batter with a spoon until smooth and creamy. Add a little water if necessary. Pour in 3/4 cup of batter and cook on medium flame. (I like to leave my dosa fairly thick and substantial like a traditional american-style breakfast pancake, but the tradition in South India is to use a ladle to spread the dosa batter very thin in the pan and cook it like a crispy crepe which makes it easier to place a filling inside and use as a wrap.)
- Although not necessary, I like to place a lid over it as it cooks as it seems to help the topside cook through more completely and quickly
- Once the top of the dosa appears as cooked through, flip it over and cook for another minute or 2.
- To tend to the batter, I put in in the refrigerator after about 3 days as the fermentation will tend to exhaust itself over time and the batter will lose some of its elasticity.
- Stir the batter each time before using until creamy smooth.
I believe the traditional South Indian dosa is made with rice and urad dal (a black lentil – not sure if they use the skinned ones which then appear white), but I prefer thered lentils as they turn the batter a lovely orange hue. I encourage you to creatively experiment with dosa and all other ferments for that matter. My step mother Sandra who is one of the best kitchen creatives I know recently made dosa with rice, mung beans and flax seeds and said it was delicious! I’ll try that next. Thanks too to my sister friends Lori and Lisa who got me going with this recipe several months ago which has kept my belly full of dosa ever since.
Many ideas for serving. Breakfast: mix blueberries in the batter before serving and top with fresh fruit, or simply spread with coconut oil. For lunch, I like to spread the dosa with almond butter and top with avocado and sauerkraut or curtido. Dinner time: I simply use it as a base and top it with a savory stir fry.