Saturday, September 29, 2007

Brown Rice Masala Dosas

We shared an extra crispy one!

I have a good number of Indian cookbooks that specialize in South Indian cuisine. That's my favorite, I have a strong affinity towards the magic that becomes fermented dal--idli, uthappam, dosa, vada and savory dal pancakes. In all my cookbooks, I've seen that dosa is made by soaking white rice (regular or parboiled) in one bowl and urad dal and fenugreek in another. Then the dal is ground into a creamy texture, the rice is ground coarsely and then the two batters are mixed together to ferment with some salt. I've always wanted to try this with brown rice, but it didn't seem possible. Last year, I found a dosa recipe that I use regularly, which calls for white rice flour instead of soaking and grinding the grain. Last night I tried this recipe with brown rice flour instead, and the results were wonderful. The dosa came with the same great results I usually get. I'm pretty excited!

My personal photographer, Eve, filmed me in action this morning as I was preparing our brunch.

The potato masala is hiding inside the dosa!

Brown Rice Masala Dosa Batter
(makes about 12 dosas with extra batter for uthappam*)

1 cup urad dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cup water (divided)
3 cups brown rice flour

  1. Soak the urad dal and fenugreek together in a big bowl amply covered with water for three hours.
  2. Drain off the water.
  3. In a blender, grind the urad dal/fenugreek seeds, salt and 1/2 cup water until creamy.
  4. Transfer this to a big bowl, add the brown rice flour and remaining water (three cups) and mix to form a thick batter.
  5. Cover with a towel and place someplace warm: the inside of your unheated oven or the top of your fridge will work if your house is cool.
  6. Let rest 12 hours. If you're not going to use the batter right away, you can refrigerate it for several days, but bring it back to room temperature before you prepare your dosa.
To prepare the dosa (see it in action in the video above):
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Place 1/2-1 teaspoon of oil on the skillet and rub in with the cut side of an onion. The starch from the onion creates a non-stick surface and makes the dosa release from the pan effortlessly. Don't skip this step or the dosa will stick!
  3. Ladle on a big scoop of batter (1/2-3/4 cup) and working quickly with a spoon, thin it out into a big circle. Start in the middle and with concentric circles, spread the batter out very thinly with the back of a big spoon.
  4. Cook for 1-3 minutes, until you can see the bottom has nicely browned.
  5. With a flat edged spatula, flip the dosa over and cook another minute or two to brown up the bottom.
  6. Fill with potato masala and eat with chutney and delicious lemon pickle.
Potato Masala (makes about 8 servings)
8 cups thin skinned potato, chopped into 3/4" dice (about three pounds)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon urad dal
1 teaspoon chana dal
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
a handful of curry leaves
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup frozen peas
1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper to taste
garnish with chopped cilantro
  1. Boil the cubed potatoes in lots of salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pan over medium, heat the oil and saute the two dals until they change color and release a toasted odor.
  3. Quickly add the jalapeno, curry leaves, ginger, mustard seeds, onion and salt. Stir often and saute until the onion becomes translucent and limp.
  4. Add the steamed potatoes and turmeric and mix to combine.
  5. Add the peas (no need to defrost) and about 1/2-1 cup of water (too much water will make it mushy).
  6. Stir frequently and heat through until the peas are warm, the water has been absorbed and the flavors are combined.
  7. If you want it spicier, stir in a dash of cayenne pepper and then season to taste with the lemon juice and more salt, if needed.
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Dosa are traditionally served with cilantro chutney (blended fresh cilantro, lemon juice, hot pepper, salt and a bit of water), sambar and coconut chutney.

*If the potatoes get eaten up and you have leftover batter make uthappam! Add chopped tomatoes, hot pepper, cilantro and chopped onion into the batter and make delicious pancakes!


  1. wow! the best post ever! the video rocks :)

  2. Awesome video! I seriously want to come to your house for a meal (or 100), your dishes look delicious!

  3. you are my hero. come back, kittee, come back!

  4. I'm starving here, but that's not the reason why I have to tell you that all of your dishes look so yummy... they simply do!

  5. Great video! I'm eager to try the onion technique, which I hadn't seen before.

    Also, I sent you an email, but just in case it got caught in your spam filter, you can reach me at blog at fatfreevegan dot com.


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