Friday, 6 November 2009

Dosas with Potato Chickpea Masala

Food is good. Food wrapped up in a little parcel is even better.
Ever since the Daring Cooks made a form of dosa last month, I have been looking forward to making even more authentic ones. You know, the kind where you grind and ferment the batter.. no? Let me 'splain it - medium grain rice and urad dal are soaked separately, with some fenugreek seeds for flavour, then ground in a special machine, fermented overnight and then cooked up like crepes and stuffed with savoury filling.
This particular filling is from Gourmet magazine's last issue. Sniff. I will miss you Ruth Reichl.
It is spicy and warm and totally delicious. But then again I love spicy foods. I have included the Rava Dosa (crepe) recipe that the magazine used, because I assume that the bulk of my readers don't have a wet grinder. The recipe for the crepe that I used, and a video tutorial, are here.

You are probably asking yourself - how does a pink lady way up in the Great White North have an Indian wet grinder? Well, funny you should ask..
A friend of mine deals in gently used goods, vintage and antiques. She had someone come to her store to sell her this piece of equipment, which she assumed was a grain mill. She generously gave it to me as she knew I was a bread baker. I could tell right away that it wasn't for making flour... but it was hubby researching on the internet that figured out what it was. The machine has large stone wheels for grinding and is made for grinding wet batters out of rice and dals to make dosa and idli. Dosa and idli are South Indian foods, often eaten for breakfast. I don't have a rack for making idli, which are like little steamed buns, but Christmas is coming. :)

I had my groovy little machine for a while before I attempted using it. It sat in the kitchen, patiently waiting for me to be courageous and get cooking. Meanwhile, I had good friends help me with understanding the different dals, rices, and how to make dosa. Thanks so much to Muneeba, Lubna, and especially Aparna.

Dosas with Potato Chickpea Masala
Gourmet Magazine, November 2009
by Melissa Roberts

For masala filling:
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 cup dried grated unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 (3-inch) fresh jalapeño, coarsely chopped, including seeds
1 (2 1/2-inch) piece peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups water, divided
1 large onion, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 (15-to 19-ounces) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen peas (do not thaw)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

For rava dosas: *I didn't use this dosa recipe*
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
Vegetable oil for brushing

Make Masala filling:
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cold water.

Toast coconut in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out skillet. Toast cumin seeds in skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until fragrant and just a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Transfer to another small bowl. Reserve skillet.

Purée jalapeño, ginger, and garlic in a blender with curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, oil, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth. Transfer purée to skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 8 minutes.

Drain potatoes, then add to onion mixture with cumin seeds and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are barely tender, about 10 minutes.

Add chickpeas and remaining 1 1/2 cups water, scraping up any brown bits, then briskly simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 16 to 20 minutes more. Add peas and cook, covered, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut and cilantro.

Make dosas while potatoes cook:
Whisk flours, cumin seeds, salt, and water in a bowl.

Generously brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Pour 1/2 cup batter into skillet, swirling until bottom is coated. Cook, undisturbed, until dosa is set and edges are golden, about 2 minutes. Flip using a rubber spatula and cook dosa until underside is golden in spots, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate. Make more dosas with remaining batter, stacking and covering loosely with foil to keep warm. To serve, spoon masala filling into dosas.

Cooks' note:
Masala filling, without coconut and cilantro, can be made 6 hours ahead and chilled. Reheat before stirring in coconut and cilantro.

I served the dosa with some homemade yogurt and Patak's mango pickle. Yum!