PHOTO: Rachael Brugger
In India, the dosawallah, a street vendor, specializes in making only this pancake, spreading the batter skillfully into a huge, crispy pancake, perfect for filling. Dosa is traditionally made from a fermented-lentil batter, but I divy out this rice-flour version into smaller cakes. Chickpeas make a great addition to this mix. The pancake and stuffing are gluten-free and can be made with water or soy milk for a vegan version.
Yield: 6 to 8 small dosa
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1¼ cups milk
- black pepper
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. mustard oil (optional)
Masala Dosa (Filling)
- 1 can chickpeas (or 2 medium potatoes, cut in large chunks)
- 1 T. vegetable oil (or use part mustard oil or sesame oil)
- 1 tsp. mustard seed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small hot pepper, minced
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1½ tsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 1 T. grated unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/2 cup reserved potato cooking water, or tap water)
- salt, to taste
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- chopped cilantro for garnish
If possible, mix batter several hours (even overnight) before preparing dosa. This allows batter to sour a little. Alternatively, substitute plain yogurt or buttermilk for milk. Heat nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat, or coat regular skillet or griddle with thin layer of two oils. Pour about 1/3 cup batter in middle and use back of ladle or spoon to spread it in concentric circles about 5 to 7 inches in diameter. Dribble a few more drops of oil on top of and around the edges of the dosa. Cook 3 to 5 minutes until edges brown and curl; flip carefully and cook for another 3 minutes. Stack and cover pancakes as you make them.
Boil potatoes until just tender and drain, reserving cooking water. Cool and dice.
Heat oil in medium frying pan. Add mustard seeds, heating until they just pop. Add onions and pepper, then add spices, ginger and coconut. Sauté briefly and add potatoes, water and salt. Mix well and add lemon juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. Pile potatoes on top of a dosa or fold and wrap each dosa around a few tablespoons potato stuffing.