The variety of dosa, hailing from Southern India, is a good case to point the diversity in Indian cuisine. Dosa is a pancake-like food prepared from a batter made with rice and lentils. All varieties of dosa begin like that, but each adds a distinctive twist to this delightful dish.
Here is the recipe for plain dosa, the most simple, and a few examples of dosa variations...
- Rinse the rice, then drain. Mix the rice, urad dal, and fenugreek together in a bowl then cover with water. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to stand overnight. The softened rice should be easy to mash now. Add the soda water and a pinch of salt. Mash in the bean curds.
- To cook, simply spread a small amount of oil on a tava -an iron griddle- and heat for a few minutes. Pour the batter in a circular pattern, either starting from the center and working out, or working from the outside in until the central hole is filled. Flip when the edges are browned.
Rava is a delightful variation.
Instead of the fenugreek, substitute a teaspoon of coriander, chopped very finely. Soak the rice as before, but during the mashing, add 2 cups (500 ml) of buttermilk. Cook as before.
Now we're getting really exotic. This variation uses cottage cheese to add bulk and tang. A truly delicious style.
In addition to the ingredients listed first, include a cup of grated paneer after the soaking phase. For a zesty variation, add 2 finely chopped green chiles.
For an even spicier style from Southern India, try dosa with a fine masala. Prepare the dosa batter as before, add the masala and cook as explained.
To save yourself some trouble on the batter, you can use a cup of wheat flour mixed with 1/4 cup of rice flour, rather than preparing your own. Now, you will take the rava recipe - apart from the rice - and add a cup of jaggery, a sweet brown sugar.
Cook as before.