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Masala Dosas

November 9, 2009

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I wish I could tell you an interesting story about how I came to make these masala dosas.  Perhaps something about a previous attempt to make masala dosas that ended in utter disaster and the kitchen burning down (luckily, neither of these things have happened).  Or perhaps something about having travelled to India and, upon returning to the States, not being able to find masala dosas as good as those in India (having never been to India, this would be a big fat lie).

The truth is much more boring.  I clicked on the “most popular” link on Epicurious.com and there it was.  It looked good, and the rest was history.   

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The masala dosas were so easy to make; the hardest part of this recipe was finding the different kinds of flour for the dosas.  Another positive was that this recipe made my kitchen smell like an Indian restaurant.  By the time I was done cooking, I was so hungry, I didn’t even wait for Nate before I piled some dosas on a plate, filled them with the potato chickpea masala, hunkered down and dug in. 

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The first thing that hit me was that these babies are spicy.  So spicy, in fact, it’s hard to taste the other flavors.  In the recipe below I’ve increased the spices (cinnamon, curry powder and garlic), and if you don’t like spicy I wouldn’t recommend adding in the jalapeno seeds.  Nor would I recommend taking a whiff of the mixture in the blender just after pureeing the ginger, garlic, curry powder, tumeric, jalapeno and cinnamon because the fumes will lodge in your nostrils, making your eyes water and causing you to sneeze nonstop for at least 5 minutes.

The masala dosas were fun to eat, and I put the potato chickpea masala on rice to eat for lunch this week.  If you’re interested in making Indian cuisine at home and you don’t mind eating with your hands (which is personally my favorite way to eat), this is definitely a great recipe! 

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Rava Dosas with Potato Chickpea Masala

[Adapted from Gourmet (RIP)]

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
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1  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:

  • 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.

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