A Double Dose of Dosas: The Southern Indian Crepe.

A Double Dose of Dosas: The Southern Indian Crepe. The gum-chewing, bored looking US customs officer gave me an expert once-over as I dragged my world weary rag tag family towards the airport exit. “Any mangoes, miss?” I have a theory that men in uniform have been trained to call all women Miss, even if it is obvious that we are biologically and socially old enough to qualify as their mother.

He turned his attention to the oddly sized package on our luggage cart, “What’s that?”

I straightened my aching, tote bag burdened shoulders with pride. “That is a table top granite wet grain grinder”. Pausing only to note his mild interest, I launched forth saying more or less the following (possibly, more): It has two granite cones that rotate within a motorized, spinning stainless steel chamber with an attached paddle and stone base.  It is used for grinding lentils and rice to a fine, fluffy batter that is fermented to make dosas. An ordinary blender with a steel blade is marginally adequate but a grinder is best for the authentic silky feel to the crepe.

Read on, with recipes: https://madamescientist.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-double-dose-of-dosas-two-southern-indian-crepes/

Masala dosas: Recently voted the number one food from around the world to try before you die. Not to hasten you to an early grave, but you must experience the dosa.

Cabbage Adai: Should the microbial reactions in the fermentation prove too off putting or enzymatically challenging for some, I offer you a non-fermented variation with less prep time. This is a protein and lentil rich, crunchy dosa known as Cabbage Adai.

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97 Responses to A Double Dose of Dosas: The Southern Indian Crepe.

  1. santos amaru says:

    is that toshe and chateni ?looks nice 😛

  2. rudy s says:

    Sounds so nom nom

  3. Rajini Rao says:

    Shaker Cherukuri , come visit us for dosas any time 🙂

    Really, Peter Lindelauf , some of these guys are in their twenties and they Miss us susceptible females all the time!

  4. Rajini Rao says:

    My guess is that to be on the safe side, guys Miss a lot of us ladies. Not that I’m complaining.  🙂

  5. Rajini Rao says:

    Rashid Moore , like? 🙂

  6. Jim Douglas says:

    Heh.  I was depressed for the rest of the day the first time a 20ish girl called me “sir”; I was about 30.

  7. Rajini Rao says:

    Wiser to Miss than Mistake a Lady?

  8. Jan Moren says:

    Yay, new blog for my reader – thanks! Dosas do seem a bit challenging to make around here though.

  9. Chad Haney says:

    Peter Lindelauf

    semper ubi sub ubi.

    Rajini Rao the Udupi Palace in Chicago make these jumbo dosas that are almost as big as the table.

  10. Rajini Rao You reminded of my Mum, she has been long gone, 19+ years I think. She was gone when I was in high school, but the grinder you speak of was staple of my growing up years. Now, I have succumbed to pre-made mix courtesy Patel Bros in NYC. But by gosh do I miss those days. Thank you for refreshing some very sweet memories of dosas and smabar lest I forget chutneys 🙂 

  11. Rajini Rao says:

    Yessir, 🙂 Peter Lindelauf . Italics coming up.

    Agree, Jan Moren  . I have variations that are much simpler, with semolina/white flour/water that are just as delish. I’ll plan on adding them soon. They can be quick breakfast crepes.

  12. Dosas are awesome food. It takes us so long to prepare anything like that though that it’s not often we find the time.

  13. Chad Haney says:

    Reminds me of a conversation with a good buddy. He said you know you’re getting old when you listen to NPR all the time and someone calls you sir. He was playing at a pick-up hockey game and afterwards a younger guy leaned over and said, that was a good game sir. He was so despondent.

  14. Chad Haney says:

    No one is going to take a bite out of my lame, adolescent Latin humor?

    I get ‘sir’ from the older African Americans in Chicago. It doesn’t really bother me. No matter what, I’m going to pretend I’m still young.

  15. Kalua J.K says:

    Those look amazing I dont believe I have ever tried dosas before. I just entered into my 30’s but so far have dodged the ma’am bullet…. * knocks on wood *

  16. Rajini Rao says:

    Krithika Chandrasekaran , I’m so glad to have reminded you of home. Lucky you, do you get pre made batter in NYC? There must be good southern Indian restaurants aplenty too.

  17. Rajini Rao says:

    Chad Haney , restaurants make “paper dosas” that are huge and super crispy. I think they are great, but for a more home-y taste, the ordinary, not quite so poky doses are good 🙂 Gnotic Pasta , I’m happy to be disrespectful any time 😉

  18. Rajini Rao Oh yes, Dosa Delight for one, always great south-Indian food there. But nothing beats home cooked! 

  19. Kalua J.K says:

    Ha ha cuz meh your ma’am doesn’t count lol. Good to know there is a place my parents could get vegetarian food. I will try to go before I leave only a little over two weeks left.

  20. U-Ming Lee says:

    I was half expecting a story about how you were asked to dispose of mangoes and how you defied orders by eating them all at the line. Certainly what I would have done (or tried to do). Especially if they’re those awesome Alfonso mangoes.

    And masala dosas are wonderful although I didn’t know you needed a special grinder to make them. 🙂

  21. Kalua J.K says:

    LOL hmmm well considering my options I think I will take young whipper snapper over ma’am I’m not that old yet!

  22. Rajini Rao says:

    U-Ming Lee , Indeed I had such a story, it’s in my mango rice blog (it was a friend who ate mangoes at the Canadian border, along with the Customs agents).  The stone grinder makes the batter really silky and fine. Not essential, though. One of those gadgets that are fun to own.

    Edit: my friend did not eat the Customs agents 🙂

  23. U-Ming Lee says:

    Rajini Rao Yes, I remember that, I thought you would have a similar story of your own. I’ve been… looking at epicurean blogs and it seems to be a very common story. The things people try to carry across borders!

  24. Rajini Rao says:

    Gnotic Pasta , yes…but it is large, so it would not be convenient. And really heavy to lift up and wash! There is also an attachment to make dough.

    Amazon sells this, how amazing 😛 http://www.amazon.com/Wet-Grinder-1-25-Liter-Volts/dp/B0031B6RS4

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    I routinely smuggle import a tiny amount of yogurt starter, U-Ming Lee . It makes a world of difference. Otherwise, I’m fairly law abiding.

  26. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, I’m afraid after the all time high bounty for the Towel Raider, we are all going to be small fry.

  27. I made dosa a while ago. The crepes were a bit lumpy because my blender sucks. But man were they tasty. And I don’t even like most Indian food

  28. dosa dosa dosa mangalore masala dosa………………..!

  29. Rajini Rao says:

    Glenn Phillips , Indian food at restaurants is overly spiced, oily and stereotypic of just one type of cuisine (typically Mughlai type). You may like regional Indian foods.

  30. Rajini Rao says:

    So much easier with the batter! Use a pancake griddle, Charlie Alpha Foxtrot , and heat at medium so it is evenly hot. If it is too hot, then lumps form before the batter is spread out.

    LOL, I’ll be your G+ auntie. I’m quite proper 🙂 I’ve been trying to hold cooking sessions in my home on the occasional Sunday for the young’uns.

  31. Chad Haney says:

    You could do a hangout.

  32. Rajini Rao I live in the middle of a city dominated by Punjabi people, still can’t stand most of the food(nor can I eat now, but that’s another matter)

  33. Rajini Rao says:

    What if I get confused and start with ScienceSunday speak? 🙂

  34. Rajini Rao says:

    Oh no, Punjabi overdose. What do you mean you can’t eat..any food?

  35. i really missed out this kind of chad ….you remembered me Mis.Ranjini Rao Thanks For that and i appreciated 

  36. Rajini Rao says:

    Gnotic Pasta , I might bring out the PowerPoint and start drawing biochemical pathways of fermentation. To be followed by a quiz of course.

  37. Chad Haney says:

    That’s what ales me.

  38. Liz Krane says:

    I vow to experience the dosa!

  39. Rajini Rao says:

    Fermentation is the same for bread or beer, that’s the whole pint.

  40. Rajini Rao says:

    I’ll hold you to it, Liz Krane , as G+ is your witness 🙂

  41. Jeffrey Lan says:

    oh dear, this post manage to address my loves for fermented foods, kitchen DIY, gadgetry, and Indian food – bravo!

    incidentally, wet grinders also work well as melangeurs for grinding your own small batches of chocolate from cacao nibs.

  42. Rajini Rao says:

    Jeffrey Lan , I had to look up Mélangeur: A machine used in chocolate manufacture for mixing chocolate liquor with sugar and Cacao Butter..Is the home ground version of drinking chocolate a lot more potent?

  43. Rajini Rao says:

    Gnotic Pasta , if you get a whiff of a yeast culture in a lab, swirling around in broth, it looks/smells pretty much like beer. So you may want to volunteer to work in my lab too 😉 I may see a sudden increase in female grad students …

  44. Rajini Rao sorry, phone ate a word there, I can’t eat most if it now anyways(gluten, dairy and night shade issues)

  45. Chad Haney says:

    Charlie Alpha Foxtrot my favorite: idlis and sambar.


  46. Rajini Rao says:

    Aww, too bad Glenn Phillips . Allergies are a royal pain. Nightshade family of vegetables? Wow, that would be most common veggies..eggplant, potatoes..

  47. Rajini Rao says:

    Charlie Alpha Foxtrot , the batter for both is similar but idlies have more of the lentil in them, so they are even fluffier. Idlies are steamed in special racks..you can think of them as dumplings. 

  48. Chad Haney says:

    But I don’t like dumplings. Dumplings are more doughy. Idlis are lighter, I’m assuming from the CO2 released from fermenting and being steamed. They also have that slight sour taste like sourdough bread.

  49. Rajini Rao says:

    Chad Haney , that’s why idlis are a bit more challenging to make than dosas. Because, they need to rise well or they tend to be lumpy/dense. I bet your Indian lab mate’s wife makes them well.

  50. Chad Haney says:

    Honestly, I don’t think she makes any bad Indian food. Her idlis and sambar are to die for. Not a big fan of pungal. She makes it well but it’s too heavy for lunch.

  51. Sid J says:

    All this sounds vaguely familiar 😉

  52. Recipes! Please! You must give us recipes…my tongue is hanging out! My stomach is growling! It’s torture! RECIPES! PLEASE!!!

  53. Rajini Rao says:

    LOL, rilkean heart . Recipes in the link in my post. madamescientist.wordpress.com

  54. Thank you so very much!

  55. Jeffrey Lan says:

    Rajini Rao – “chocolate liquor” refers not to chocolate-flavored alcohol, but rather cacao nibs that have been ground down to a paste (with a melangeur!) of fine cocoa solid particles suspended in liquid cocoa butter – it’s analogous to peanut butter or tahini. additional cocoa butter is mixed into the liquor to create the melting texture of eating chocolate.

  56. Sultan Saini says:

    Well crepe. Now I want dosa.

  57. Deeksha Tare says:

    Madam Scientist finally posted about my most favorite breakfast dish!! Yippie!!

    Love you Rajini Rao ! My mom loves dosas too! 🙂

    Especially Masala dosa.

    And there you go Rahul Joshi 

  58. Deeksha Tare says:

    using judicious aliquots of water, titrating it to the right chutney consistency !!!

    You’re a Science wonder(woman) Rajini Rao !

    A W E S O M E !!

    Wish I could be half as cool as you one day!!

  59. Rahul Joshi says:

    Wow, looks like it’s #southindianfood day! Thanks for that Rajini Rao & Deeksha Tare . My mom fervently made me Uttapams today (inspite of me begging her for some typical English breakfast).

  60. Rahul Joshi says:

    I remember this from MTV back in the days “One Whisky, One Masala Dosa…. MIND IT!!” xD

  61. Deeksha Tare says:

    Ohh was it? I don’t know…

  62. Rajini Rao says:

    I haven’t heard that either, Rahul Joshi . I guess Deeks and I were too busy swotting over books while you were rocking MTV 😉

  63. Rahul Joshi says:

    Lol Rajini Rao you got me there. Only mtv cud keep me down. Deeksha Tare it was an impersonation of megastar Rajnikanth! A recent movie Quick gun Murugan expands on that idea ;p

  64. Rajini Rao says:

    I get it now..a friend posted this for my dosa blog on FB: Quick Gun Murugan – Trailer

    I guess the connection was with “gun powder” aka chutney powder?

  65. Terry McNeil says:

    Fantastic Rajini Rao dosa’s are on the list, near the top!!  drool worthy plus

  66. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks, Terry McNeil . My foodie circles, and your daily posts, are an inspiration 🙂

  67. Deeksha Tare says:

    Nope Rajini Rao I was too busy gurgling and smacking and drooling…

    I was a baby then! 😀

  68. Rahul Joshi says:

    Rajini Rao partly yes. The restof it is mindless southern madness! Mindd itt! =D

  69. Rajini Rao says:

    Bolly(Tolly)wood and mindless are synonymous, aren’t they? 🙂

  70. Deeksha Tare says:

    Rajini Rao mind less it! 😉

  71. Rajini Rao says:

    Wait, Feisal Kamil says, “Bah, I got called Uncle at 27” and then “..few years ago”. Is he 30 years old then? 😀

  72. Thanks so much, Rajini Rao!  I LOVE dosas, especially masala!

  73. Rajini Rao says:

    You are welcome, Linda Hedrick . I was worried that people would never have heard of them, since they are not common in US restaurants. But not us G plussers 😉

  74. There are enough southern Indian restaurants in the L.A. area that serve them.  Unfortunately our local Sri Lankan place, which made excellent ones, closed.  ;-(

  75. Rajini Rao says:

    That’s too bad, Linda Hedrick . We need more Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Tibetan restaurants in addition to the usual Indian fare. Love all the subtle differences and nuances in regional cuisine.

    Feisal Kamil , now I’m listening to Beatles and Julian Lennon – ‘When I’m 64’ LOL!

  76. You have churned out some enthusiasm for Dosa here. Some one talked of a pan. Dosa requires a heavy iron pan. The specific heat required is higher to quickly heat the batter you spread on it. The thin chappati tawa won’t do. Wonder if Amazon sells these too. 

  77. Sowmyan Tirumurti 

    Strange, I’ve used 3mm – 6mm steel quite successfully, though only on gas and it takes a couple dosa to optimise the gas rate. If amazon doesn’t have what you need head to the local machine shop and pick up a thick offcut of sheet steel. Sadly most of it is cold-rolled so it will eventually start to bow.

    Rajini Rao

    Hmm, my buddy around the corner offered to import a dosa grinder, I didn’t know it was so much more different than using a meat grinder->blender. I may have to take him up on his offer. Thanks for making me hungry!

  78. Rajini Rao says:

    Sowmyan Tirumurti , a seasoned cast iron griddle works well. Nonstick is always an easy option, as long as it is not overheated ..I tend to cook everything on full blast 😉 Sloan Lindsey , I’m glad to have made you hungry 🙂 A wet grinder will result in a finer/smoother batter than a blender. I don’t know how a meat grinder would work..I thought they extruded the stuff? It would be cheaper to import it…Amazon’s prices for dose grinders seems steep. They are heavy, though..your friend might regret his offer!

  79. Rehan Ahmad says:

    Recently tried Masala Dosa, while traveling to other city in my country. Man it was special and delicious. That’s how Indian Cuisine *yum rocks*

  80. I find uttpam better than dosa…probably due to ots fluffiness or its closeness with prantha…

  81. … yes, but, don’t miss out on the best part of it, the ‘thengai chatney’. 

  82. Don’t put this kinda pics i’m in college n yes far from home, yumyyyyyyyyy


  83. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, Kiran Sonawane , I get homesick too! I just returned from a vacation in India where I ate dosas nearly every morning 🙂

  84. Anil Sood says:

    My style of presentation.

  85. Both types sound yummy!

  86. Rajini Rao says:

    Thanks, Gregor Duncan . There are many different versions, all delicious! 🙂

  87. My wife is South Indian and myself being Punjabi, it was an awesome introduction to the types of food they eat and I like bardas or verdas a lot.

  88. Rajini Rao says:

    Husnain Awan , I can only imagine the delicious food at your home and family events! I grew up in the North, and I love wholesome Punjabi food.

  89. Seems like South Indian foods require much more work than Punjabi foods though.

  90. Rajini Rao says:

    Husnain Awan , not is you are used to making them. My mom makes dosas and idlis every morning..she just whips them out (she’s also the fastest chappati maker I know) 🙂 But then, all Indian food takes time to make..there is the grinding of masalas, browning of onion/ginger/garlic for the sauce base, and so on. All worth it!

  91. Johan Horak says:

    Rajini Rao You will have to make me some. One day. Miss. Ha ha.

  92. Rajini Rao says:

    You are in a culinary quest today, I see Johan Horak . It would be my pleasure to cook up some dosas for you. Come on over and visit 🙂

  93. Rajini Rao says:

    Rava dosa is great..fun to add little niblets of onions and tomatoes to the batter. The restaurants around here don’t make good dosas..have to wait until my next visit to India for that. 

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