Thursday, May 17, 2012

Project 365 Days Of Food- Day 47, Dosais- Rice and Gram Pancakes!

Dosais- are beautiful, pale-golden pancakes, crispy on the surface yet slightly spongy inside. The best ones are made with a lot of ghee to ensure they are thin and crisp- ones made by the Street Dosai Vendors are enormous, up to 18 inches(45 cm) across, but home-made ones are about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Dosais may be eaten as an accompaniment, to scoop up other food, but are most often eaten for breakfast, together with Sambhar (Recipe coming soon) & Coconut Chutney (Recipe coming soon).

Dosais can be made with a variety of batters, each giving a slightly different texture or colour, but the traditional mix is of the rice and split grams used in the following one. The mixture of rice and split gram is prepared in advance and allowed to ferment overnight, and is ground to a smooth batter the next day (My dear Tamil friend's mom once said-Traditionally, young girls were said to have improved their figure and their posture by the heavy job of grinding the rice with a heavy granite pestle and mortar- a method still used by Tamil women in villages ).
In today's day and age- The food processor/mixer-grinder is of great help.

I remember my friends mom making good Dosais on a Dosai Kalu, which translated means 'dosai stone'. The dosai kalu is in fact made of cast iron and needs to be kept clean and oiled at all times. A good substitute  is a heavy griddle or cast-iron frying pan, both of which distribute the heat well. The pan is wiped with a cloth dipped in oil before the batter is ladled into it!!! 
Okay, let's just move on to the best part now- much talking done already :-)

The Ingredients & The Making:-
1 cup sona masuri rice (or similar medium grained rice)
1 cup idli rice (parboiled rice)
½ cup whole urad dal (skinned black gram)
½ teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
Salt 1 teaspoon

*** This recipe requires 2 standing periods (6 hours for the grain mixture, and at least  another 8 hours for  the finished batter)
Method & Recipe Source -

Making good Dosais is an art, and like any pancake-making needs a little practice. They are well worth it.