This month's gorgeous Daring Cook hostess is Debyi of The Healthy Vegan Kitchen! She decided on Indian Dosas from the refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal.
I was very busy this month with two interstate weddings and I'm writing an e-book on making macarons so I could only do one batch of dosas. The requirements were to make a vegan (animal product free) meal which caused a little stir in the forums. I have to admit I don't know any vegan recipes so I went into the challenge with some interest because I want to know how to do some vegan dishes. I think these are great and an easy meal to make at the last moment. Also dosa meals are very cheap. It is good to do meals that are entirely different to the normal ones that I have done again and again. This was a very interesting challenge and a tasty one.
Requirements: Must be free of animal products, this will be a challenge for you “regular” cooks out there, but its worth it. So that means, no cows milk, butter, meat, poultry, fish, chicken/beef broth, etc. This dish is also 99% oil free, using only what you need to keep the dosas from sticking (I used a quick spritz of cooking spray on the first dosa only), which isn't too bad with a non-stick pan. You can use a different filling/sauce if you like, but it must be free of animal products.
For the fried dosa I used besan (chickpea) flour, cornflour, tarmarind (to add sourness), chilli powder and a teaspoon of grated lime and ginger to make the batter I didn't add any baking powder I forgot it and it didn't seem to matter to the final result. I just added half water/coconut cream to form a very thin batter it takes no time at all to mix the batter and no waiting time like normal gluten batter. Notice in the dosas the spiral pattern this is due to the the swirling the batter around the pan with a spatula after you have placed a small ladel of batter on the pan. From the pictures on the internet this seemed to be a constant feature in them. I was a little surprised how easy these were to make look so well formed I thought they would be very difficult to get right maybe it was beginners luck the internet said they could be temperamental and be hard to form a nice round crepe. I like them medium thick and slightly soft. The dosas are very tasty with a slightly sour taste with a lime/ginger tang and you could taste the chickpea and corn in them also. Very nice.
The filling - Since I used chickpea flour to make the dosas I used a filling of curried potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red capsicum (red bell pepper), sweet corn, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage, coconut cream, lime/mango chutney (yummy), curry leaves (remove them before serving) and very hot curry powder.
The meal of dosas, notice the spiral patterns in the dosas shell especially the second and third shells going from left to right.
Topped with tomatoes
The Verdict Overall a delightful challenge and an eye opener for me. It was very very tasty surprisingly so in my opinion. The dosa batter is very much like crepe batter expect the first dosa to be thrown out but the rest worked out beautifully. You can make them thin and crispy OR thick and soft by controlling the consistency of the batter or how much batter you spread over the pan. I used about 2 tablespoons to make each very big dosa. A tip I found on the internet was after spraying the pan with oil rub the pan with a cut onion this forms a 'non-stick' layer and makes removing the dosas much easier.
Cost Three (3) dosas (each 12" or 30 cm in length and 2" or 5cm in width, more than enough for a main meal) cost only 50 cents my verdict a very quick, extremely cheap, highly nutritious and totally delicious meal. That is the whole meal for four people (12 dosas) cost $2.00 wow!!!
I used a strong flavoured curry powder with a selection of veggies. Thank you Debyi for the wonderful experience of making this popular vegan dish and it tasted much better than the one from the local take-away.
I got some beautiful Macarena Ord River 11mm large-tabuli type chickpea the most highly regarded chickpea in Australia. They will be used tomorrow. They are so large and creamy yum yum.
I made some very thin crisp rice/lentil dosas using the traditional recipe found here that you have to let ferment overnight. The traditional recipe can produce very thin crisp dosas from a batter that is almost like thick water but it is much harder to cook (spreading the batter is extremely difficult and it takes a long time to cook and you have to cool the pan, using a moist towel, after each crepe is completed) as compared to the challenge recipe. Also it is a lot of hard effort to grind the rice/lentil mix to a fine batter. The challenge recipe is a very easy version of a dosa as compared to the traditional recipe I used.
Though I have to admit these are tastier than the other dosas I made earlier but for the effort and time needed I would use the challenge recipe everytime.
Indian Dosas Recipe
This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting (I forgot & didn't start making the rice until everything was ready, oops).
griddle or skillet
ladle (or large spoon)
vegetable peeler &/or knife
food processor or bean masher
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.
Curried Garbanzo (Chickpea) Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste
1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.
Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced
1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.