When I am visiting and my mother makes dosai for tiffen, I cringe. She laughs knowingly. The dosai legacy of my husband’s place is legendary. At any point, we grind enough dosai batter for our entire street. We may run out of salt, but not of dosai batter. Huge gundaans of rice and urad dal would be soaking on the counter before the last ladle of the old batch is used up. Zero downtime.
Still, if we were to go to Saravana Bhavan or our favourite Udupi restaurant, I will order Masala Dosai.
I don’t understand it either.
My love-hate relationship with dosai has been going on for a long time. Apathy at home, love at Udupi restaurants, I looked inward. I thought really hard.
I realized I missed the ghee laden, crisp fried, golden dosa , enveloping a luscious potato masala and smeared with a spicy flavour bursting channa dal chutney and dunked in freshly ground coconut chutney. I missed the frills. I wanted the full package.
I make dosai every day but seldom the light, airy, crisp fried version, the coconut chutney every other day and the potato masala too every once in a while but never all of them together.
Dosai regulars will know that the home-made regular dosai which is more pliable than crisp (which is our usual) is different from the masala dosa/paper roast batter which is different from the thicker benne dosa variety they serve in karnataka that has an almost paradoxical crispy outside and a porous inside texture.
I’ve been waiting for about 237 weeks now waiting for a teeny weeny pause in our batter making machinery to try and squeeze in the mysore masala dosa. And finally one humid, sweaty Chennai evening, when we were out of dosai batter finally, when the counter was free of soaking rice and dal, when the idli/dosai top management was away at a wedding, I took it upon myself to grind up my longtime dream – the light, airy gorgeous mysore masala dosa batter.
You will not believe how thin you can make these dosas. They make the most gorgeous crispy, paper thin dosas.
If you were just about to send your husband out to get a packet of ‘dosai batter’, wait. I know what you’re thinking.
No, it is not as hard as you think. It is the simplest thing to do. All you need to do is plan a day ahead. Just let the rice and dals soak for an hour or two. Grind them up in your wet grinder.I love using the wet grinder. I think it is an ingenious machine. Then just mix up the batters nicely, add salt, mix well, cover and let ferment overnight.
It is so much cheaper.
Even your smallest batch will make more batter than what’s in your average dosai batter packet. You won’t be scraping for batter for one last dosai.
You’ll confidently face dinner time, guests, hungry kids and hungry husband with your dosai batter in the fridge. Kids and husband might stay away too for the same reason. But hey, no last minute running to the provision store for a dosai batter packet.
Make them as thin as you like them, drizzle a spoon of ghee all around the dosa, smear a generous helping of the channa dal chutney all over the dosa, ladle a large spoonful of the potato masala, fold over to make a semicircle and serve piping hot alongside coconut chutney and sambar and a tumbler of piping hot coffee. The best ever tiffen!
Mysore Masala Dosa
The most gorgeous crispy, paper thin dosas.
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1 hr 25 min
1 hr 25 min
- Rice – 3 cups (I used 2 cups parboiled idli rice + 1 cup raw rice)
- Whole urad dal – 1 cup
- Channa dal – ½ cup
- Aval/Poha – ½ cup
- Fenugreek seeds – 3 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Boiled potatoes – 2 peeled and coarsely mashed
- Onion – 1 small chopped fine
- Green chillies – 2 chopped fine
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 stem
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Water as necessary
- Whole dry red chillies – 3
- Channa dal – ½ cup
- Urad dal – 1 tbsp
- Garlic – 4 pods peeled
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Rinse rice in 2-3 changes of water or till the water runs clear. Soak rice in water for 2 hours.
- Combine channa dal, urad dal and fenugreek seeds in a large bowl, rinse 2-3 times and soak together for 2 hours. Add poha to the soaking dal mixture.
- You’ll know the dals are ready to be ground when you find them swollen and the urad dal is near splitting – you can easily split the dal when you press with your fingers.
- Switch on the wet grinder and while the grinder is running, add in handfuls of the dal mixture making sure to not add too much liquid. When the grinder slows down, sprinkle some soaking liquid to help it along. Add the rest of the dal mixture in the same manner. Let the grinder run for 30 minutes or till the ground batter is smooth, fluffy and almost buttery. When you drop a tiny bit of the batter into a bowl of water it’ll stay afloat without mixing with the water. This may seem scary for first timers but you may have some un-ground/partially ground dal around the edges of the grinder vessel and you’ll need to put your hand in and scrape the sides of the vessel while it is running to mix this up with the rest of the batter, to have it ground. Once done, scrape the batter into a large dabba with a lid.
- Similar to the dal mixture, add the soaked rice in handfuls while the grinder is running adding just enough water to keep it running. Let the grinder run for 20-30 minutes or till the rice is ground into a smooth batter. The rice batter will be thinner and slightly grainier. You’ll need to scrape the sides of the vessel in between. Once ground, pour this rice batter into the dal batter and mix well with your hand. Add in salt and mix well with your hand. Cover with lid and leave it on the counter to ferment overnight (8 hours).
- To make dosa, heat a thick cast iron dosa tawa (non-stick tawa would work too). when the tawa is hot, ladle a big spoonful of the batter on the centre of the tawa and quickly spread it out in concentric circles to make a dosa. Drizzle oil/ghee/melted butter all around the sides of the dosa. Cook un-covered till the underside is golden brown. Spread the chutney paste on the top of the dosa. Plop a couple of tablespoons of the potato masala at the centre of the dosa and close the dosa to make a semi-circle. Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar and piping hot filter coffee. The best!
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