Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Masala Dosa and Sunday Memories!

I have a lot of good memories built in Bhadravathi, a small steel plant town, where we were raised and I did all my schooling and college. Even today, I can close my eyes and go back to our colony in Bhadravathi... I can see our house, our rooms, the places I used to go, play, hang out with friends, the roads I used to walk... Hmm... so calm and comforting. Not a rush in the world there... I go back to that comfortable place in my mind when I am stressed... it's a slice of time I will always hold dear in my heart.

My earliest memory from childhood is the Sunday routine... sometimes the routines feel so good when you are a kid. You know how your day is going to go and plan around it, mostly on how to skip doing home work :) and start playing or plan what to play in the afternoon and evenings - life was so simple then.

There were a couple of things my mother used to make for the Sunday breakfast, more of a brunch actually because it was around 10-11 am - Masala Dosa, Idli-Sambar, Bisi Bele Bath or Pulav and everything topped with a dollop of fresh home made butter! Yum!

I remember waking up and going through our ritual of getting our hair oiled or sometimes soaking my hair in fresh ground methi paste and sitting in the sun talking or mostly fighting with my sisters. There were so many people in our household, I remember my mother heating water in an outdoor antique looking copper boiler using wood or charcoal in addition to the big electric water heater. Then we used to get our hair washed (my Aunt used to help me as my hair was soooo long - to my waist!) using Shikakai powder (remember that? - oh! it used to sting our eyes so bad.) and then dry our hair in the sun... else my mother used to be so concerned we will catch a cold. Oh! I miss that luxury and it was so relaxing.

Then we sit down for a long leisurely breakfast/brunch at the dining table with the radio on and we hear "Akashwani! Bhadravathi kendra dinda moodi balaride 'Makala Karyakrama'... or 'nimma mechinna chitra geethegalu'... "... loosing count of how many dosas or idlis we used to eat with home fresh made butter... Hmmm... heaven!

Anyways, today I'll talk about the yummy Masala dosa with Potato masala, Coconut Chutney and Onion Sambar. I sure every household in South India have their own version for Masala Dosa.

(I just googled 'Masala Dosa Recipe' for my curiosity and the results that came back - 131,000! No Kidding!) So, what's another drop in an ocean, here's my version or mostly my Mother's :)

Batter (to be prepared the previous day) -

  1. Wash and Soak 3 cups of white rice, 1 cup of Urad(split blackgram) daal and 1 tbs Methi(fenugreek) seeds in enough water for atleast 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
  2. Grind the above soaked with little water into a smooth paste in batches if using a regular blender or in a wet grinder with 1 cup of warm cooked rice. Transfer to a big container with enough room for the batter to raise.
  3. Add salt to taste and mix well. Let this sit on the counter for at least 5-6 hours or overnight depending on the temp in your area.
  4. The batter should ferment and raise up at least bit.
Tips: If you live in a cold place like me, it's tought for the batter to ferment. You can get this a couple of ways -

- Warm the cooked rice in the mike for a min. This raises the temp of the batter a bit and kicks in the fermentation. You can substitute poha for rice (just soak it for 5 mins)
- You can leave it in the over with the pilot flame on... that keeps it warm
- Seal it well and leave it in clean place in your boiler room. This works for me well.

Potato Masala -

5 medium potatoes - boiled and peeled
2 medium onions - thinly sliced
4-5 green chillies - slit length wise (add more if you like the heat)
curry leaves - a sprig
turmeric - a pinch
salt - to taste
frozen/fresh peas - 1/4 cup (this is opetional and I used frozen peas)
Oil - 2 tbs
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp (for seasoning)
cilantro - 1 tbs chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and once the sputter, add the curry leaves and the slit chillies.
  2. Add the sliced onions and saute till the onions just start to get brown. Add the frozen peas if you are using and saute till they soften a bit.
  3. Add the turmeric and salt and stir a couple of times.
  4. Hand crush the boiled and peeled potatoes (make sure you don't mash it too smooth, I leave them a bit chunky) right into the pan and mix well. If it's too dry, add a bit of water (maybe a tablespoon or so - not much)
  5. Once mixed well, turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro as garnish.
Onion Sambar -

pearl onions - 1 bag (around 20-25) peeled.
tomatoes - 2 medium; diced
thoor daal (split piegon peas) - 1.5 cups; cooked and mashed lightly
sambar powder - 3 tbs (add more if you want it spicy); I used homemade (recipe later); you can use MTR or iyengar sambar powder.
fresh/frozen coconut - 2 tbs (thaw the coconut if using frozen)
tamarind pulp - 1 tbs
salt - to taste
curry leaves - a sprig
Oil - 1 tbs
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
aseofetida (hing) - a pinch
coriander - a handful chopped for garnishing

Grind coconut and sambar powder with little hot water.

  1. Heat oil in a medium or large sauce pot. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds to sputter and add the curry leaves and hing.
  2. Add the tomatoes and saute for a couple of minute till they soften.
  3. Add the peeled onions and saute till the start to soften a bit.
  4. Now add the cooked daal, ground sambar powder adn coconut mixture, tamarind pulp and salt; add water to adjust the consistency (should be a thicker than tomato soup but thinner than mushroom soup); the quantity should come up to 6-7 cups.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer this till everything mixes together and let it boil for 10 mins.
  6. Add cilantro for garnish and turn off the heat.
To Make the Dosas -

  1. Heat your Dosa tava or a flat smooth skillet.
  2. Take a laddle full of the batter, pour in the middle of the tava and spread the batter outward in concentric circles.
  3. Dot the dosa with oil or ghee or butter and close with a lid. The steam will cook the top side, then open the lid and let the bottom roast a bit if you like crispy like my DH!
  4. Add the potato masala and roll out the dosa
  5. serve this hot with sambar, potato masala and chutney (recipe later) and you will see happy faces at home!

Enjoy the delicious Masala Dosas!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You could have skipped mentioning the fights we used to have ! Other than that the write up is very good (as usual!) and ofcourse very real. Picture of the dosa is very appetizing and am sure is good work of your DH!
- Your loving sis :-)