What’s a Dosa?

I am always in search of nutritious recipes that I can create for the three Phases of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse program. The Cleanse Phase can be a bit challenging for people addicted to bread and pasta and though rice Mochi makes a fine substitute when cooked in a waffle iron and spread with organic butter, I went looking for something a bit different to add to the menu.
One day in session with a client from India I mentioned that she should cook her native recipes and avoid the refined Standard American Diet (SAD). Her eyes lit up with surprise and joy. What a novel idea to return to the healthy vegetarian diet of rice, lentils, beans and many vegetables.

With a sudden exclamation she said, “But can I have dosas in the Cleanse Phase?”
“Well, let’s review the recipe.” I replied, and together we broke down the very basic ingredients for the delicious lentil pancake of India. It was perfect for the Cleanse Phase and upon her return to see me several weeks later and another seven pounds lighter, she enlightened me further on the preparation of making dosas.

I must admit that my first attempts were very similar to those first few Sunday morning pancakes that you flip too soon and break on top of each other, or stick to a too hot, unseasoned pan. The ones that get hidden under the stack of perfect cakes that follow these feeble attempts or get tossed onto the compost pile. Only none of my dosas resulted in a perfect round shape large enough to hold a filling of any variety. Indeed they were really pretty pitiful. So, yes, I gave up and wondered if dosa making was not in the stars for me.

A few years later a friend called to invite me to visit the Dosa House in Parsippany, NJ, where the atmosphere is southern Bar-b-que takeout, but the menu of Dosa’s filled two pages. Served with a steaming hot dal (a lentil based soup), meaning the steam was rising from your mouth from the hot chili peppers, along with a few sambals (Indian chutney’s), to cool the heat on your tongue, these doasa were light as a feather and filled with a curried potato filling with just the right amount of spices. I was in love. After purchasing the right lentils and rice from the Indian grocery store I returned home determined to create my perfect dosa.

Trial and error, my friends, trial and error. And although I cannot boast of creating the electric light bulb after a thousand failures, I can say that I now make a pretty delicious dosa using ingredients that may not be Mother India certified. I post it here for all to read and attempt. Be sure to read notes so the journey is eased and time spared. Most of your efforts are pouring water, grinding, cooking and eating with delight. I prefer to soak both the lentil and the rice for two days, but one day will suffice.

Lentil Brown Rice Dosa
Makes many

1 cup Urud dal, soaked over night (I used the skinned black lentil, white in color)
1 cup brown or white basmati rice, soaked over night
Garlic Red Pepper miso, or substitute white miso

1. Soak the dal and rice in separate bowls. When ready drain and rinse the dal and rice. Working in two batches, combine in a blender with just enough water to cover. Add 2 teaspoons of miso per batch and puree until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into a large jar, cover and let sit on the counter to ferment for another 5-6 hours or overnight. (In warm weather this happens quickly, so keep an eye on the “rise of the dosa batter”.
3. Spray a griddle pan ( I use a flat iron skillet perfect for pancakes, crepes and dosas), with non-stick oil (this is important to insure not sticking to pan), and pour some batter in a circle. Using the back of a wooden spoon lightly spread the batter into a larger circle. Cook on medium high heat until dry in the center and lifting around the edges. Reduce heat if it gets too hot so as not to burn the edges.
4. Use a large spatula to flip the dosa and brown on the other side. Remove to a plate and fill with curried potatoes, vegetables or just a pat of goats milk butter. For a sweet treat sprinkle with cinnamon and coconut sugar. Yum!


    • Delia Quigley on said:

      JoAnn, thanks for asking. You can make the dosas with just the lentils (urad dal). Soak the lentils without the rice and prepare as instructed.

      • South Indian on said:

        You could make just wih green gram. ( Adai its called as)
        Just urad would cause more gas/vata

  1. Gita on said:

    Dear friends, Brahmakumaris are vegetarian… and emphasize the importance of keeping thoughts pure… when preparing food… they either enhance or

    decrease the vibes of what we eat…thus affecting our health… vegetarian lifestyle is also more conducive to achieving total peace of mind.
    There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…recharge… rejuvenate the inner-self…

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