Monday, March 24, 2008

Morning Pancakes

I have been sitting on a formula for my favorite pancake of any culture – that of India and their dosa. This past winter during my month long sojourn through the southern third of the sub-continent I ate at least one dosa a day. Then while staying in the port city of Fort Cochin I met with a local chef there who gave me a lesson on making this paper-thin savory cake. So, soon as I got home a made a beeline for Kalustyan’s New York’s best resource for spices, rices, dalhs and more (they can be accessed on-line).

For two months now I have had the rice and dalh I’d need sitting in the cabinet waiting for me. Making the actual batter is a full day’s wait -- soaking, grinding and fermenting. This past holiday weekend gave me no excuse it was the perfect quiet few days.

I made a mash of plantains, onions, chilies and curry to fill my dosa as well as some cheese.

I stuffed myself just as the dosas themselves eating dosas all day long as well as a few idylls – they are made from the dosa batter steamed in custard cups for about 10 minutes.

I’m still a be full and have to admit to not always achieving a perfect round pancake – though now I motivated to go at it again and not in two months.


1/2-cup uncooked white long grain rice
1/2-cup urad dal
1/4-teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2-teaspoon salt

1 small onion – halved
2-tablespoons canola oil
In separate bowls soak the rice and urad dal in one cup of water each for 4 to 8 hours.

Pour the rice and dal along with any unabsorbed water into a blender along witht eh fenugreek and salt. Process the grains until completely smooth. Transfer the puree to a clean bowl, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the puree sit in a warm spot for 8 to 12 hours.

Heat a cast iron griddle over a medium heat. Hold the onion with a fork, and dip the cut side into the oil. Use the oiled onion half to lubricate the pan. Sprinkle a few drops of water on then pan, and then pour a thin layer of the batter into the pan. Work the batter quickly in a circular motion to as thin as possible. Then start loosening the batter from the edges carefully moving under then dosa. You will not be flipping this particular pancake. Once set fill with whatever stuffing you are using, and fold in half and serve.

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