Monday, November 9, 2009

Who likes Indian? Raise your left nostril!

I have been missing my friend Dharini a lot lately.  She moved to Canada a few months back to be with her charming husband, but there is an emptiness here where she used to be.  There is also an emptiness in my tummy!  I miss her food (she is from India and an excellent cook and was always gracious and kind and shared... yum).  However, she did attempt to teach me a few dishes and with that confidence I found this recipe and had to try it. 

Rava Dosas are from Southern India and can be filled with a variety of things or so I understand.  They can easily be gluten-free by substituting half and half rice and lentil flour instead of the third mixture for the rice, wheat, and semolina flours which I read is actually what they are normally made with, but this recipe said they are traditionally made with semolina, I'm more apt to believe the former but it doesn't matter because they were tasty.  (Don't quote me on this, I haven't given it a shot, but if you're gluten-free you probably already know tricks around this.  I will experiment next time and get back to you).

When I made them I omitted the jalapeño  because I wanted the little guy to be able to eat them, and while he likes spicy food I was afraid that would be too spicy.  It turns out that the recipe needed that jalapeño.  It wasn't nearly spicy enough for our crew, we will definitely be kicking this up another notch, but it's probably perfect for a  normal person that doesn't like their food to hurt them.  Oh well next time... which probably won't be too far in the future.

Think of these as a giant Indian soft serve taco.

Rava Dosas with Potato Chickpea Masala
adapted from Gourmet November 2009

Rava dosas—savory, crisp-edged crêpes popular in South India—are typically made from semolina and rice flours. Stuff them with hearty vegetables cooked in a blend of spices, chile, garlic, and ginger.

Makes 4 servings


For masala filling:

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 cup dried grated unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 (3-inch) fresh jalapeño, coarsely chopped, including seeds
1 (2 1/2-inch) piece peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups water, divided
1 large onion, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 (15-to 19-ounces) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen peas (do not thaw)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

For rava dosas:

1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
Vegetable oil for brushing


Make Masala filling:

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cold water.

Toast coconut in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out skillet. Toast cumin seeds in skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until fragrant and just a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Transfer to another small bowl. Reserve skillet.

Purée jalapeño, ginger, and garlic in a blender with curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, oil, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth. Transfer purée to skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 8 minutes.

Drain potatoes, then add to onion mixture with cumin seeds and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are barely tender, about 10 minutes.

Add chickpeas and remaining 1 1/2 cups water, scraping up any brown bits, then briskly simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 16 to 20 minutes more. Add peas and cook, covered, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut and cilantro.

Make dosas while potatoes cook:

Whisk flours, cumin seeds, salt, and water in a bowl.

**Generously brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Pour 1/2 cup batter into skillet, swirling until bottom is coated. Cook, undisturbed, until dosa is set and edges are golden, about 2 minutes. Flip using a rubber spatula and cook dosa until underside is golden in spots, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate. Make more dosas with remaining batter, stacking and covering loosely with foil to keep warm. To serve, spoon masala filling into dosas.

Cooks' note:

Masala filling, without coconut and cilantro, can be made 6 hours ahead and chilled. Reheat before stirring in coconut and cilantro.

** The biggest complaint people had with this recipe was that making the crepe was difficult.  The batter is super thin and can cause some problems.  Too much oil and it will not cook properly, too little and it will stick.  For my small pan I found that 1/2 teaspoon of oil then brushed around the pan was perfect.  Also pour your batter in and DO NOT TOUCH for longer than you think.  I had the bubbles on the first cooked side and then smooth on the top.  I think I had to let my first side cook for about 4 minutes not 2, but I had my heat a little lower because I burned one.  When it is ready it should basically come right up when you put the spatula under the edge.  DO NOT FLIP until the edges are crispy, or it will be a mess.   Good luck.

Proof that Kids will eat them

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