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Masala dosa
(Pancakes filled with spiced potatoes)

This thin, crisp pancake with a spicy potato filling is a popular snack all over South India. Masala dose should be eaten fresh and hot, so serve them as soon as you cook them. Coconut chutney and chopped coriander leaves are the traditional garnishes.

Preparation time: 30 min
Standing time: 1 - 2 hrs or overnight
Cooking time: 5 min for each dosa


1 cup (175 g) short-grained white rice, washed
4 tablespoon grated coconut
3 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup (100 g) urad dal, sorted and washed
4 tablespoon ghee
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
11/2 teaspoon turmeric
21/2 teaspoon salt
10 medium-sized potatoes
ghee or vegetable oil for greasing the griddle
2 fresh chillies chopped
2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoon butter

Soak the rice and the dal overnight in separate bowls. Wash and drain them separately, then blend them separately in an electric mixer with just enough water to make smooth batters. Now combine both batters in a large bowl along with 1 chopped chili, the brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Beat thoroughly. Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place for an hour or two, or, if possible, overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, grease the griddle with about 1/2 teaspoon of ghee or vegetable oil and put it over medium heat. Beat the batter again—it should be of pouring consistency. Flick a few drops of water onto the pan. If they bounce and sputter, the pan is ready. Pour on 4 tablespoons of batter and use the back of a spoon to spread it out thin with a circular motion, starting from the center. This amount of batter should make a thin dosa, about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. (The art of making dosas lies in the ability to spread the batter thin before the heat of the skillet hardens the mixture). Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until it becomes golden-brown. Turn once. Cooking the second side takes only about half as long as the first. The second side never browns as evenly as the first.

Continue making dose until the batter is finished, greasing the pan only when the dosas stick. Pile them on a plate so that they will stay warm and moist while you prepare the filling, as follows.
Boil the potatoes until soft, and peel and mash them coarse with a fork or potato masher. Grind together the coconut, the remaining chopped chili, the ginger, and a few drops of water to make a masala paste. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the ghee or vegetable oil, and stir-fry the cumin and mustard seeds in it. When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the masala paste. A minute later, toss in the turmeric, then immediately add the potatoes, the chopped coriander, and the remaining salt. Stir-fry for 5 minutes before setting them aside.

Divide the filling into as many portions as you have dosas. Put one portion in the center of each dosa and fold in half. Now grease the frying pan with butter, and toast both sides of each filled dosa. Masala dosa with sambar and fresh tomato salad is a traditional South Indian meal.