This recipe works best during summer months when warm temperatures (like South India’s) facilitate fermentation. I like to cook them on my cast iron “dosa stone” from India, but a flat griddle or crepe pan can work. I recommend using a pan without sides, and an offset or very thin spatula that can slide between the lacy edge of the crepe and the griddle.
Preparation of the dosa batter needs to begin 24 hours before you plan to cook them. | Makes: 20 crepes
- ¾ cup split and skinned urad dhal (also called black gram dhal, but in this form they will appear as creamy white, split oval beans)
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
- 2 cups white rice flour, divided
1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- The evening before, rinse the urad dhal in a bowl with a few changes of water. In the same bowl combine drained dhal, optional fenugreek seeds and enough fresh water to cover the
beans by more than an inch. Soak overnight.
- In the morning, drain the dhal and place in a blender (a food processor does not grind dhal finely enough). Add about a cup of water and blend until smooth, moving beans around as needed to grind thoroughly. Pour mixture back into bowl and set aside.
- In a small pan combine 1 tablespoon of the rice flour and ½ cup water. Stir over medium heat until thick. Add to the dhal. Next add remaining flour, salt and whisk together with enough water to make a fairly thin batter, about 2 cups. Cover with a plate or loose plastic and allow to rest in a warm place, undisturbed for 8-12 hours.
- When batter has fermented it will have the consistency of foamy pancake batter. Heat griddle over medium to medium low heat. Place oil in a small bowl beside griddle. Fold a paper towel into eighths, dip one end into oil and smear over the hot surface (repeat with each dosa). Griddle is ready when a few drops of water sizzle on it.
- Using a ladle, spoon about 1/3 cup of batter onto the center of the griddle, then using the rounded back of the ladle, spread batter out from the center in a spiral motion. Dosa should be no more than 1/8” thick, so either spread more thinly or add water, as required. Drizzle a small amount of oil around the entire outer edge to make it crispy and easier to lift. After about 1 ½ minutes begin to lift up the edges to loosen crepe from pan. When underside is nicely browned flip dosa over and cook another 30 seconds. Remove to a warm platter folded in half, cover with a cloth and continue to cook the remaining batter. Two pans will make this go faster!
- Serve two dosas per plate with a small bowl of Sambar or our Green Garbanzo Everyday Dal.