Masala Dosa is my ultimate comfort food; a yummy pancake filled with a mix of fried mashed potato, spices, tomato, and onion.
When I lived in India, I used to have masala dosa for breakfast but honestly, it's wonderful to eat any time of day!
This recipe will make eight x 24cm dosa.
Step 1: Ingredients
200g raw white rice (normal rice, not Basmati or anything fancy)
100g raw black gram (urad dal)
50g cooked white rice
Aloo Masala Filling
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 large onion
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 star anise
3cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fennel seeds1 piece nutmeg flower (mace)
2 whole cloves
3 cloves garlic
3cm piece of ginger
1 fresh green chilli
1 small tomato
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons vegan butter/margarine
Step 2: Prepare the Dosa Batter
You'll need to do this a day in advance of when you want to make masala dosa because the batter needs to ferment for at least eight hours.
Place the dal and the uncooked rice into a bowl, and add enough cold water to cover. Let stand for 4-6 hours to soften.
When you're ready to make the batter, rinse and drain the rice and dal well, then put into a blender or mixie jug, along with the cooked rice and 200ml of cold water. Blitz on high speed until you have a nice smooth batter... although if it's a little grainy, it's not a problem as it will cook out.
Transfer the batter to a large bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and put in a warm place to ferment.
The next day, the batter will have risen (which is why you need a large bowl!), and will be a little frothy (see the photo). It will also have a slight sour aroma, and will be the consistency of melted ice cream.
Step 3: Prepare Your Potatoes
Scrub your spuds but don't peel them or cut them up. Boil them whole until they are soft; this helps retain nutrients, plus they're easier to peel when cooked. There's also less wastage.
Once cool, slice, peel, and then mash roughly. It doesn't have to be perfect, in fact, we want some lumps. Lumps in this instance are very good!
Step 4: Fry Your Spices
Heat the oil over a medium heat, add the mustard seeds, and when they begin to pop, add the curry leaves. Cook for 30 seconds.
Step 5: Add Your Onions
Add the onion, and sauté until it becomes translucent - this should take around five minutes.
Mix in the cinnamon stick, star anise, nutmeg flower, cloves, fennel seeds, and turmeric. Fry for another couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
Step 6: Time to Spice Things Up a Little!
Make a paste with the garlic, ginger, and chilli by pounding them all together with a mortar and pestle or nora (grinding stone). Or you can use a mixie or small food processor attachment. If you don't have any of those, simply finely mince everything.
Stir the paste into the onions, and fry for another few minutes (again, stirring all the time), until there's no more 'raw' garlic and chilli smell.
Add the tomatoes, mix in, and cook for five minutes or so (stirring occasionally), until you have a rich, thick paste, which comes away cleanly from the sides of the pan. Make sure you don't burn the onions though.
Step 7: Time for a Mashup!
Add the mashed potatoes, and mix in well, making sure everything is coated with the masala. Break up any large lumps of potato you may have with your spatula.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the aloo masala for 10 minutes.
Taste, season with salt, and then remove from the heat while you make the dosa.
Try not to eat it!
Step 8: Time for a Battering!
Heat a non-stick skillet over a medium heat - you don't want the pan too hot or else the dosa will stick. Stir the batter, and if necessary, thin with a little cold water.
Pour a small ladleful of dosa batter into the centre of the skillet, and then tilt the pan so that the batter covers the base. Or you could smooth the batter out toward the edge with the back of a spoon. You can add a little more batter to fill any holes or gaps.
Dot a little bit of vegan margarine over the top of the dosa, and spread out with the back of a teaspoon.
Step 9: Flippin' Eck!
As the dosa cooks, the batter will start to look transparent in places, the underside will begin to brown, and the top will firm up. Very carefully, slide your spatula underneath the dosa in order to make sure it has not stuck to the skillet. You can either then use the spatula to turn the dosa over, or gently pick it up with your fingers at its edge, and flip it over like that. Please don't burn yourself!
Step 10: Get Stuffed!
Put a couple of spoonfuls of the masala filling over one half of the dosa, and spread it out toward the edge.
(I actually put a bit too much in this photo, and the dosa split when I tried to turn it over! You only need half of this amount.)
Step 11: Flip Your Lid!
Fold the other half of the dosa over so that it covers the filling. Press down, and flatten with your spatula, and cook for a couple of minutes.
Step 12: Flippin' Crazy!
Turn the dosa over, press down to flatten even further, and cook for a final couple of minutes.
Step 13: And We're Done!
Serve on its own, or with some sambar and coconut chutney. However you have it, I truly hope you love masala dosa as much as I do.