South Indian Rice and Lentil Crepes
Published by Robert Rose
This quintessential South Indian food, which has been embraced globally, is a breakfast dish. However, it has morphed into an anytime crêpe and is served with a variety of fillings. The traditional filling is, of course, a soft mix of potatoes and onions.
Crêpes should be almost translucent —the thinner, the better. Stir batter well before pouring each, as batter tends to settle.
Makes12 to 14
Total Timea day or more
Recipe Coursemain course, side dish, snack
Dietary Considerationmain course, side dish, snack
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Mealbreakfast, dinner, lunch, snack
Taste and Texturesavory, spiced
- 2 cups (500 mL) long grain rice (not basmati)
- 1 cup (250 mL) split white lentils (urad dal)
- 1½ tbsp (22 mL) fenugreek seeds (methi)
- 1½ tsp (7 mL) salt or to taste
- 3 to 4 tbsp (45 to 60 mL) oil
Soak rice overnight in 6 cups (1.5 L) water. Clean and pick through dal for any small stones and grit. Rinse well. In another bowl, combine dal and fenugreek seeds and cover with 4 cups (1 L) cold water. Soak overnight.
Drain dal mixture. In a blender, purée mixture, in 2 batches, with ¼ cup (50 mL) warm water for each batch. Blend continuously for 2 to 3 minutes to make a smooth batter. Transfer to a large bowl.
Drain rice and add to blender, in 2 batches, adding ¼ cup (50 mL) water to each batch. Blend continuously for about 2 minutes, until batter is very smooth. Pour into lentil batter. Stir in salt and about ¼ cup (50 mL) additional water to make a cake-like batter. Mix well to combine. Cover and set aside in a warm spot to ferment for 10 to 12 hours. Ideally, when ready, batter should be almost doubled and appear light and frothy. (This does not always happen, but, even so, the batter will be fine to use. It will lack the slight tang of a fermented batter.) Batter can be covered and refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Return to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.
When ready to make dosas, whip batter vigorously for 2 minutes. Thin batter with additional water as necessary until it resembles heavy cream — thick but pourable.
Heat a dry large nonstick griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water to check if they sizzle and disappear. The correct temperature is very important. Using a ½-cup (125 mL) metal measuring cup, pour batter into middle of griddle and quickly spread with a circular motion using flat bottom of cup, from the inside to outer edge, forming a crêpe about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) round. If metal cup is not available, use metal ladle and spread batter with bottom of ladle. This step requires quick action as crêpe (dosa) begins to cook almost instantly. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and drizzle ¾ tsp (4 mL) of the oil over top. Cook for 1 minute. Edges will begin to curl. Remove with spatula and fold gently in half. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with chutney.
2007 Suneeta Vaswani