I love Masala Dosa. We often make this as brunch or dinner at home. This is one of the most popular south Indian breakfasts served in canteens and restaurants. Dosa is a thin crispy crepe made using fermented rice and lentil batter. Masala Dosa is one that has spiced and seasoned potatoes stuffed in it. These crispy crepes are quite addictive and delicious. These are not a regular food as it takes a considerable amount of time to prepare. Masala Dosa is a famous recipe not only in India but outside India too. Though it is originated in South India but Masala Dosa is on the menu list of many North Indian Specialty restaurants too. Though making Masala Dosa is a long process, but it’s worth it.
For making dosa the batter has to be slightly thin than the idli batter. The basic plain dosa recipe is made soaking urad dal/skinned black lentils and rice. The soaked lentils and rice are then finely ground and fermented overnight. Warm temperature is important for the idli-dosa batter to ferment well.
I have used regular rice and boiled rice in 2:1 ratio. So this masala dosa recipe is for a crisp, golden brown masala dosa but one which is still soft. Since I have made the dosa in non stick pan it is easy to take out but the colour of the dosa remains white as compared to making on iron tava. The Masala in the Dosa is a potato sabzi. There can be other variations too. This potato sabzi recipe is the way I always make it. I have topped the potato mix with some grated carrot but that is optional. To add extra crunch I have added some fried peanuts too. You can add chopped onion too to make Onion Dosa too.
It is the easiest and simple version of it where lots of onions are added to the potato filling. This adds a hint of sweetness to the potato filling and is much like the masala dosa we get in restaurants. Without the Masala or Potato filling in the Dosa, the Dosa becomes a plain Dosa which can be had with coconut chutney and sambar.
For the tempering (tadka/chaunk) of sambar:
- Preparing the Masala Dosa:
- Rinse the rice and urad dal separately first. Soak both of them separately overnight.
- Next morning grind both the batters separately. Mix both the rice and urad dal batter with salt.
- Mash the boiled rice and mix with the batter. Add adequate water. The batter should be thick yet flowing.
- Cover and let the batter ferment for 8-9 hours.
- Heat a flat iron pan or a flat non-stick pan. Smear some oil if using an iron pan. Don’t smear oil on a non stick pan, as you won’t be able to spread the dosa batter properly.
- Spread the dosa batter in a circular way on the pan. Add some oil on top.
- Flip and cook the other side. Flip again.
- Spread the potato sabzi filling on one side of the dosa.
- Cover with the other half and let the dosa cook for 15-30 seconds.
- Serve masala dosa hot with Coconut Chutney and Sambar.
- Preparing the Masala or Potato Filling:
- Heat oil and fry peanuts and keep aside.
- Splutter the mustard seeds. Add cumin seeds and chana and urad dal.
- Fry the dals well. Now add the sliced onions and curry leaves.
- Fry the onions till they become soft. Add the green chilies and ginger.
- Add the turmeric powder and asafetida. Mix well.
- Now add the boiled chopped potatoes and boiled chana. Add the fried peanuts and salt.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring well. Add chopped coriander leaves. Stir and keep aside.
- Preparing the Coconut Chutney:
- Soak the roasted chana dal for 1 hour.
- Wash and rinse the curry leaves. Dry them on a kitchen towel.
- Heat oil in a small pan. Add the curry leaves and mustard seeds fry till they become crisp.
- Add the rest of the ingredients in a blender.
- Add some water, about ½ cup (depends on what consistency of chutney you want) and blend to a smooth chutney.
- Check the salt and add more if required.
- Now add the fried mustard seed and curry patta with the batter.
- Coconut Chutney is ready. Serve it with Masala Dosa or Plain Dosa.
- Preparing the Sambar:
- First soak the tamarind in warm water for 30 mins. Rinse the dal in water well.
- Boil dal in 2.5 cups of water in the pressure cooker. The dal should become soft and mushy.
- Once the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid.
- Boil the vegetables in another pan till half done. Now add these boiled vegetables, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt in the boiled dal/lentil. (Pour the boiled vegetable stock too).
- Cook for another 10-15 minutes or till all the vegetables are done.
- Add the sambar powder and tamarind pulp. If the consistency of sambar is thick, then add some more water. Keep the cooker on heat and then simmer the sambar for 10-12 minutes on a low flame. Keep on stirring at intervals so that the dal does not stick to the bottom. Switch off and keep the sambar covered.
- In a small pan, heat oil. Crackle the mustard seeds first. Then add the red chilies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
- Pour the whole tempering in the steaming hot sambar. Close with a lid so that the flavors infuse for about 5-6 minutes.
- Later stir and then serve the vegetable sambar with masala dosa.
Notes for Dosa:
~If you are unable to spread the batter on the pan, then add some water to the dosa batter. This will help you in spreading the batter evenly on the pan.
~ If the pan is very hot you cannot spread the dosa batter nicely. Sprinkle some water on the pan and then wipe it with a tissue, this brings down the temperature of the pan. Do this on an iron pan. Don’t do this on a non stick pan. It might affect the non stick coating.