Oat Dosa

by - July 24, 2014

  As someone who lived off Indian food for most of her childhood, I was a tad late to the Dosa scene (Thosai? Dosai? Dosa?). The tangy-ness of it put me off it, and I was content with my chapatis and naans.
  Until, well, I decided to have a dosa one day (the chapati man was AWOL), the lovely slight sourness of it! The crispy sides with the pillowy middle bits! The little pits in the dosa that was perfect for holding curry!
  Since that day, dosa has become my number one bread-y like thing of choice when eating indian food.

  Of course, I knew dosa was not easy to make. I had seen them being made behind the glass windows of indian eateries. A giant frying pan, with a man who made it so quickly I am pretty sure he could do it in his sleep. Not to mention how delicate the giant crepe seemed to be. I was pretty sure I would break/burn/tear/destroy any dosa I attempted to make. 

  Here is what I did not know about dosa making: it took TIME.
  First there was the time to gather up the courage to attempt making dosa (this took approximately three months in my case), then the time taken to soak the rice and the oats and dhal, then the time to leave it fermenting in a warm place. THEN the time taken to train yourself how to ladle dosa batter into a perfect circle on the hot tawa pan.

  But was that time worth it?

This was not my best attempt, but annoying it was the only one I filmed

  So, do not get put off by the preparation this dosa needs. Because it will be worth your while. 

  I have not made the traditional dosa made out of rice and urad dhal, this recipe substitutes most of the rice for porridge oats. This makes it less tangy and sour but adds a completely different dimension to our crispy little crepe. Plus, for those of you not equipped with a mega-powerful blender, it is much easier to blend into a batter because the heart-healthy oats are so much softer than rice. I actually (shhh!) mush prefer it with oats, but obviously I would never tell my neighbourhood dosa man. 
  Our little secret, hm?

Oat Dosa
Serves 4 (about small 2 dosas per serving)
Inspired by: Show me the Curry

1/2 cup rice
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup urad dhal
1 1/2 cups porridge oats (also called instant oats by some brands) 
Salt, to taste (I used slightly less than a teaspoon)
Oil, for frying (I used light Olive oil)
one white onion, cut down the middle into two halves

You will also need a cast-iron or non-stick tawa, but a non-stick frying pan will also work 

Wash the rice several times and drain it, add the fenugreek seeds and fresh water to the rice in a glass bowl, about 2 cups. Cover and set aside about 8 hours, or overnight. 

After the rice has been soaking for 7 hours, place the dry urad dhal in a glass bowl and rinse. Drain and add fresh water (about 2 cups). Also place the dry oats in a separate glass bowl and add 1 1/4 cups of fresh water. Leave both to soak for an hour.

After another hour, your rice, dhal and oats are ready to blend. First, drain the rice and seeds and add to a high-speed blender with an additional 1/2 cup of fresh water. Blend until rice has been blended to a grainy consistency. You may have to scrape down the sides of your blender every now and then. Then, drain the dhal and blend again, until a fine grainy consistency is reached. 

Pour the rice and dhal batter into a large glass bowl. Then add the oats (which should have absorbed all the water) into the blender and blend into an almost creamy, smooth consistency. Add this the the rice and dhal batter and cover bowl with a towel. Leave it in a warm place for 8 hours (10 hours maximum) to ferment.

If you are not using the batter after the 8-10 hours is up, place it in the refrigerator until you need it. 

To cook the dosa, salt the batter right before you fry anything. Heat the tawa up until it is hot, drizzle with oil and rub into the pan with the cut side of half an onion (this seasons the oil). When pan is hot, drop an ladle-full of batter in the middle and spread it out using the bottom of your ladle (see the gif above!). After 10 seconds or so, use your fingers to drop a little oil onto the dosa batter, this helps it not to stick. When the dosa batter starts to look dry, remove it from the tawa and place onto a plate. It is best served hot. I prefer not to cook the opposite side of the dosa as I like it pillowy white, but you can if you want a more crisp dosa. 

When drizzling the oil of the dosa, please be sparing. An oily dosa is not a good dosa. But you do need to drizzle some, especially if your pan is not well-seasoned and the dosa seems to be sticking.

This dosa is perfect serve with some coconut yogurt, tomato kasundi, coconut chutney, mint chutney, black dhal (or any kind of dhal, really!).

For an extra-filling spin on the oat dosa, make an almost-masala dosa using the filling for my samosas here.

Question of the day: What dish have you always wanted to try but have never done so because you were afraid to ruin it?
If I can crush my anti-dosa-making demons, so can you!

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