When I first became interested in South Indian cuisine, I thought a special dal grinder was needed in order to make dishes like dosa, idly and utthapam. Thankfully, I discovered that all you need is a regular blender. Since urad dal is soaked for several hours first, it actually gets quite soft from the water and grinds up easily without any fancy equipment.My favorite dosa recipe, is just soaked and ground urad dal with fenugreek seeds and salt which is added to rice flour and water and left to ferment overnight. The rice flour lends the perfect grainy quality to the batter, and is so much easier than having to soak and grind dry rice, which is how they're traditionally made.
Dosa making in action! With dancing and antics!
dosa batter1 cup urad dal (split with no skin)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup water (to grind with dal)
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups white rice flour
3 cups water (to mix with rice flour)
soak the urad dal and fenukgreek in plenty of water for three hours and drain. grind the dal/fenugreek with 1/2 cup of water and the salt in a blender until very smooth. measure the white rice flour into a large bowl and stir in three cups of water and the smooth dal puree. leave to rest overnight (cover with a kitchen towel if you like). chill in the morning if you're not going to use it right away, and bring it back to room temperature before you use it.
to make the dosa, use a well seasoned cast iron grill and cut an onion in half. using a fork, pierce the onion with the cut side down, and wipe the cut onion side all over the hot griddle. the onion will season the grill and prevent the dosa from sticking. it sounds crazy, but this really works and your dosa won't stick if you do it! measure a big ladleful of batter and pour it into the center of your hot grill. starting in the center of your batter, with a large spoon, quickly spread the batter out with the back of the spoon in circles that get progressively bigger and bigger. this will spread the dosa batter out evenly and thinly. let cook for about 2-3 minutes, and flip when brown. cook the other side for a couple of minutes and then fill with potato masala, coconut chutney and cilantro yogurt sauce. utthapam can be made out of the same batter, just make them like thick pancakes and add veggies like green chilies, chopped onion, tomatoes and fresh cilantro.
Here's the finished outcome: coconut chutney (fresh coconut, jalapeno, salt and cilantro), a bowl of sambar and the plated dosa smothered in yogurt sauce (unsweetened plain soy yogurt, cilantro, salt, and lemon juice) with coconut on the side.