Dosa or savory rice and lentil crepe is a well known Indian crepe made of rice that’s usually served as breakfast. Listed as one of the top 50 most delicious things to eat in the world, a dosa is no longer a strange Indian dish. This here, is a regional take on dosa called Chakuli. Originating from Orissa, this delicious savory crepe is the perfect way to begin your day. I have given it a healthier twist by stuffing it with my favorite vegetables.
This dish is steeped in memories. I am talking granny tales & of course the fondest memories of mom . This simple dish is originally called “chakuli” in Orissa. Mom has made these for as long as I can remember and though I can never match hers, these ones made with a little twist was our delicious, healthy & filling breakfast today. Before you and I grew up, remember how our moms used to spend all their living moments thinking what to feed us next (every 2-3 hrs)? And just how hard to please we used to be? Dont know about you, but sadly I have always been fussy about food. Even as a ten yr old who knew nothing, I wanted my food just perfect, and I knew what I liked. And these chakulis (dosa for the rest of the post) I loved!!
Somehow as we start the Mother’s Day week, I find myself remembering more and more of my childhood. I wouldn’t call myself nostalgic, but right now I am behaving like a complete sentimental fool who’s going gaga over the dishes of my innocent past. Traditionally, these chakuli are smeared with ghee, sprinkled with sugar and served with hot dalma (a delicious lentil and vegetable preparation that is the food of Gods in Orissa). Kids are fed these softer than dosa chakulis even with warm milk!! My mom makes them the usual way, served with potato mash and dalma, sometimes like set dosa or uttapam in smaller cuter sizes studded with all kinds of veggie. But the type I like the most is the simplest. Just these dosas studded with onion, ginger and green chillies and a tempering. I prefer it slightly crispy and honestly, I rarely make sides with it. Sambhar when I have made goes perfectly with these as does my Dal fry. But I am just as happy devouring these on their own with some hot and sweet ketchup on a rushed morning for the perfect breakfast!
And as you all know, I might love my occasional sweet breakfast, especially when it involves nutella and crepes, but its the savory kinds that take my heart and steal the show on my table. Be it the extremely delicious savory crepes with za’atar spiced chicken or my favorite croque madames, a simple fried egg wrap
or even the masala egg fry, my childhood favorite poori and aloo jhol, its the savory kinds that make me happier than its sweeter cousins.
This, crispy, spicy, healthy hot thing, this delicious savory crepe that’s cooked to crisp on a girdle is my favorite breakfast, and baby D’s too! I think it must be my years in Bangalore, but I am addicted to them and luckily so is baby.
Tempering here is my usual favorite of mustard seed, dried red chillies, fresh curry leaves and a pinch of asofoetida (hing). I however, give the heavy potato a pass in the mornings and swap it for the delicious yet healthy red bell pepper -tomato stuffing.
Just as ridiculously delicious, but more healthy! It does take some time to make the batter coz you have to ferment it overnight (8 hrs) till the batter is bubbly, but once the batter is done, it keeps in the fridge perfectly for upto 2 days. Some say you can use it for 5 days, but I have never done that. I would suggest start with small quantity till you get the hang of the batter, and then make big batches once you are sure you can make dosa. It helps avoid wastage of food. Also, it takes some skill to make them perfect. Trust me when I say I have had very bad luck with these in the beginning. But practice makes it perfect and now my whole family enjoys them regularly. If you make crepes, you are already onto something, but it does need slightly more tinkering with the heat than a crepe does. But don’t let that deter you. The worst that can happen is you will spoil 2 dosas. But keep trying and you will soon succeed. And then you will be rewarded with these gorgeous, slightly crispy and so so delicious dosa/ crepes.
Imagine how happy and pleasantly surprised your mom would be if you served this to her on Mother’s Day as breakfast!! For a change, let her rest and take this upto her,along with chai/coffee and maybe her favorite flowers/ books. I am already planning what to do for my mom.. have you??
- Short grained rice (Arua rice) - 2 cups
- ½ cup urad dal (split husked black lentils)
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Vegetable or castor oil as needed to fry the dosa.
- For the vegetable fillings:
- Red bell pepper - 1 , cut into small cubes
- Tomato - 2 , cut into small cubes
- Red Onion -1 , chopped fine
- Green chillies - 2, deseeded and chopped fine.
- Fresh ginger- ½ inch, chopped fine
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Curry leaves - 2-3 stalks ( 20 leaves or so)
- Dried red chillie - 1
- Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
- Asofoetida (hing) - 1 pinch
- Fresh cilantro/ coriander leaves - 2 tbsp
- To make the batter:
- Start by rinsing the rice really well and put it in a large mixing bowl. Cover with around 4 cups of water. Keep aside.
- Similarly, clean and rinse the lentil. Put that in another mixing bowl alongwith the fenugreek seeds, add enough cold water to cover the lentil and leave aside.
- Let them soak for 4 hrs.
- After 4-6 hours, drain rice and dal-fenugreek mixture in separate colanders. Start by grinding the rice with about 1 cup of water in a food processor or blender. It should be a completely smooth paste. Work in batches if needed and mix with a spoon in b etween to ensure the enite mixture is ground fine and smooth.
- Next, grind the lentil- fenugreek mixture to a smooth paste.
- Combine the two pastes in a mixing bowl. Then whisk them together, add some water and keep whisking till you obtain a medium thick batter, it should be pourable like a crepe batter is.
- Next for the fermentation:
- Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. usually I do this at night as it needs to ferment for a min 8 hrs. let it ferment till the surface is bubbly. Stir in the salt.
- Your batter is now ready for use!!
- Use immediately or refrigerate for later use. (Batter will keep for up to three days, refrigerated. Before proceeding, thin with a little water and always bring it to room temperature.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- Put oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Wait for seeds to pop, about 1 minute, then add the dried red chillies, add the garlic, ginger and chillies, saute till the raw smell leaves, add onion. Cook, stirring until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add the red bell pepper and tomatoes. Add the curry leaves. Stir to coat and let sizzle for 1 minute. Remove when done,add cilantro, then set aside at room temperature.
- TO MAKE THE DOSA (CREPE) :
- Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Brush with about 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.
- Ladle ¼ cup batter in the center of griddle. Use the bottom of the ladle to quickly spread the batter outward in a circular motion to a diameter of about 6-7 inches.
- Drizzle ½ teaspoon oil over the top
- Do not disturb the dosa immediately. Let it cook for 2 mins or until the bottom browns and the edges start to crisp up. About 2 mins. When the bottoms done, the dosa comes off easily. If it is still sticking, let it cook a little more.
- With a spatula, carefully loosen dosa from griddle. Bottom should be crisp and beautifully browned. Spoon ½ cup vegetable filling onto top of dosa, centering it as a strip in the middle of the round dosa.
- Using the spatula, fold the sides of the dosa around the filling to make a cylindrical shape. Serve immediately. Continue making dosas one at a time.
- Alternately, make the dosa and just before serving pile some stuffing in the centre and fold like you would a crepe.