Masala Dosa

SERVES 10–12 Ac­tive: 2 hr. 25 min. To­tal: 2 hr. 50 min.

SAVEUR - - Contents -

This light and crispy crêpe with potato fill­ing is one of the most pop­u­lar and tra­di­tional dosas in South In­dia. Re­move the pota­toes from their boil­ing liq­uid as soon as they’re ten­der to pre­vent their sop­ping up ex­cess wa­ter. The com­po­nents—un­cooked bat­ter and pre­pared fill­ings—store well, so feel free to pre­pare them in phases or up to a few days be­fore as­sem­bling and serv­ing. FOR THE POTATO SABZI: 1 lb. russet pota­toes (about 1 large potato) 2 Tbsp. ghee (clar­i­fied but­ter) or olive oil, plus more for brush­ing or driz­zling 1 tsp. black mus­tard seeds 1 Tbsp. chana dal, also known as split yel­low gram lentils or split husked black or brown chick­peas 1 Tbsp. urad dal, also known as split husked black gram lentils, or ivory white lentils (they are white in color) 1 large yel­low onion (8 oz.), halved and thinly sliced 1 large jalapeño or 2 medium ser­rano chiles, diced (¼ cup) ¾ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste Pinch of ground turmeric 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped

fresh cilantro leaves 2–3 tsp. fresh le­mon juice


½ cup pack­aged spiced chut­ney pow­der (also known as pudi or masala chut­ney pow­der) ¼ cup ghee (clar­i­fied but­ter) or olive oil FOR SERV­ING: Dosa Bat­ter (recipe p. 49) Co­conut Chut­ney (recipe p. 51) 1 Pre­pare the potato sabzi: Fill a medium pot about two-thirds of the way with wa­ter. Bring to a boil and add the potato; let cook un­til potato feels just ten­der when a par­ing knife is in­serted into the cen­ter, about 25 min­utes. Re­move and let cool slightly, then peel and break into bite-size pieces.

2 In a pan set over medium heat, add the 2 ta­ble­spoons ghee or oil. Once hot, add the mus­tard seeds and cook, giv­ing the pan a good shake ev­ery few sec­onds, un­til the seeds pop and sput­ter, about 2 min­utes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the chana dal and urad dal. Cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the dal is fra­grant and lightly golden, 2–3 min­utes. Add the onions and chiles and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the onions are ten­der and translu­cent, 6–8 min­utes. Add the pota­toes, ¾ tea­spoon kosher salt, and the turmeric and stir well; cook un­til the pota­toes have ab­sorbed the spices and turned a pale yel­low, 8–10 min­utes. (If the pota­toes are look­ing pasty and dry, add wa­ter, mash­ing in 1 ta­ble­spoon at a time un­til they achieve a lumpy but pli­able con­sis­tency.) Taste and ad­just the salt as de­sired.

3 Re­move the fill­ing from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Add the le­mon juice to taste. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside or re­frig­er­ate un­til you are ready to cook the dosas.

4 Mean­while, in a small bowl, mix the gun­pow­der paste: Add the chut­ney pow­der and ghee or oil. Mix un­til a smooth paste forms, then set aside. (Gun­pow­der paste will keep for up to a few weeks in the re­frig­er­a­tor.)

5 Heat a 12-inch non­stick pan or well-sea­soned cast-iron grid­dle over medium-high heat, or set a non­stick elec­tric grid­dle to medium-high. (If us­ing cast iron, grease the sur­face lightly with oil.) Sprin­kle a few drops of wa­ter on the hot sur­face: It is ready when the drops of wa­ter siz­zle and evap­o­rate right away. Be sure the dosa bat­ter is well­stirred and free of lumps, then la­dle ⅓ cup of bat­ter into the cen­ter of the grid­dle. Work­ing quickly but evenly, and us­ing the bot­tom of the la­dle, form the dosa by mak­ing a con­tin­u­ous spi­ral mo­tion, start­ing in the cen­ter and drag­ging the bat­ter out­ward to­ward the pan’s edges to form a large, con­nected bull’seye shape 10 inches in di­am­e­ter. (If de­sired, you can trickle and drag more bat­ter around the edges to fill the pan, and patch any too-thin ar­eas or small holes with ad­di­tional bat­ter.) When the top de­vel­ops bub­bles and

looks just set, quickly brush or driz­zle a lit­tle ghee or oil (about 1 tea­spoon) over the top as the dosa cooks, tak­ing care to sat­u­rate the outer ar­eas. When the bot­tom is lightly crispy and golden brown, about 5 min­utes, you can fill the dosa, or use a spat­ula to flip the dosa and crisp the re­main­ing side if de­sired. (This is help­ful if you’re new to dosa mak­ing and want to be sure thicker spots are prop­erly cooked through.) If flip­ping, driz­zle an ad­di­tional tea­spoon of oil around the edges after flip­ping, and cook the other side un­til the thicker ridges of bat­ter are set but still flex­i­ble, 30–60 sec­onds. Flip the dosa again so that the crispier, browner side is on the bot­tom. Spread 1 ta­ble­spoon of the gun­pow­der fill­ing over the lighter sur­face of the dosa. 6 Fill the dosa on the pan if de­sired: Spoon ¼ cup of the potato sabzi onto the cen­ter of the dosa on its lighter side, us­ing the back of the spoon to spread and press the fill­ing into a thin layer so that it heats evenly. Care­fully loosen the perime­ter of the dosa with a flat spat­ula, then slide the spat­ula be­neath the cen­ter to dis­lodge. Use the spat­ula to coax one edge of the dosa gen­tly over to the other side, tuck­ing the edge slightly on the in­side of the crêpe to cre­ate a tall cylin­dri­cal roll. Al­ter­na­tively, you can fold the dosa into thirds like a let­ter.

7 Re­move to a plate and serve im­me­di­ately with co­conut chut­ney and ad­di­tional gun­power paste and potato sabzi if de­sired. Eat with your hands.

2 A masala dosa feast in­cludes turmeric-tinged potato sabzi, rich gun­pow­der chile paste, and crisp, airy wrap­pers.

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