Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chili cashew dosas

Click for a stupendous closeup of lacy dosa-ness
This is a recipe that's just sort of stuck into Vegan Brunch.  No fanfare, no colour picture; it's just a recipe.

I don't know about most of you, but I'm seldom up for any heavy cooking before 2:00 p.m.  Just a soy latte and orange juice for me, thanks.  So brunch for me is basically supper, and that's generally how I've been cooking from the excellent Vegan Brunch.  Today's offering is no exception.  The recipe is online at Google Books, so I won't reproduce it here.  But in case you've been wondering how this rather odd-looking recipe pans out in real life, here's a little photo-essay.

First, you mix together Cream of Wheat cereal (semolina), rice flour, chickpea flour, salt, peppercorns, and cumin seeds:

As far as I am aware, these are not traditional dosa ingredients, but for me, no matter.  We're not about tradition here at The Airy Way, so this gives me no pause.  It sounded to me like a winning combination, and so it is!  Add a whole bunch of water:

Isa Chandra Moskowicz writes, "The batter should be very thin, almost alarmingly so, and even thinner than crepe batter.  It will appear similar to thick soy milk."  And it does.  I admit, I threw in all that water with a blithe heart and then panicked.  This stuff is watery, and separates in seconds.  Oh, well, in for a penny...

Then you leave it for at least half an hour, and, since this is dosa batter after all, you can leave it for quite some time (up to a day or two) to ferment.  I have to admit that I was intrigued enough by this recipe to make the whole thing and split it.  I cooked half tonight and half is fermenting overnight on my counter.  (If you're going to do that, don't add the cashews etc. yet.)

When you're ready to cook, add finely chopped cashews, red onions, and jalapeno to the batter:

Now heat a crepe pan or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and brush it with oil.  You need at least a teaspoon.  Don't stint on the oil or, non-stick as your pan is, the dosa will stick to it.  Once the pan and oil are hot, pour in about 1/3 cup of the well-stirred batter:

Oh, hey, look, it all stays together!  Fry it for two or three minutes until the middle is set and the edges are beginning to brown.  Then flip one half over:

And cook each side for another minute, still on medium-high heat.  The dosa will be hot and crispy and that's the best way to eat it, right out of the pan.  There's a recipe in Vegan Brunch for Spiced apple cider chutney to go with it, but I didn't make that, since I'm unfortunately snowed in and have no apples or cider.  Instead I used some of the Moon Goddess's rhubarb chutney, which was great with this.

Served here with the rhubarb chutney, some reheated dal from the other night, and jasmine rice:

A very good meal!  Dosas are easy to make and so delicious.  These are quite wonderful; the cashews are a touch of genius in my opinion, so don't leave them out.  A word of warning though, the recipe claims it makes enough for four servings.  This means four servings if you're not having anything else (dal, rice, etc.) in the meal.  And believe me, once you've made them, you won't be able to stop eating them, and they don't keep, so beware!


  1. those look so good! i've been intimidated to try that recipe, but you've increased my confidence.

  2. I haven't bought Vegan Brunch because I don't ordinarily like breakfast foods that much. But these pictures are making me think I'm missing out on something. That looks delicious!

  3. Wow! That is so cool. I am not sure why but, I never considered making my own dosas! Awesome!

  4. I'm not very good at getting my comments to show up, apparently. I'll try again ...

    The dosas look so good — anything pancake-like is a friend of mine. The only thing I'm not convinced about are the cashews. Are the dosas crunchy?

    About the cream of wheat — I once used a recipe from an Indian cookbook to make halvah with cream of wheat. This looks like a much better use of the cereal!

  5. These look great! You've convinced me to try them. One question: I know the cookbook says Cream of Wheat, but you made a note that this is semolina. I have semolina flour (looks like that's what you used, too), but I always thought C of W was a little more granular/chunky than that. Did you use the flour or something else?

  6. Sara, give it a try and don't be alarmed by how the batter separates. It's pretty good!

    Renae, I don't normally eat breakfast foods either, particularly sweet ones, and Vegan Brunch has a big section on sweet breakfast foods. But most of the other recipes are fine for any time of day, including supper. I haven't tried that many, and there are admittedly quite a few recipes in there for variations on easy things like scrambled tofu, but in my opinion the crepe recipe and the omelet are alone worth the price of the book.

    Thanks, Haymarket!

    Andrea, no, the dosas are crispy (from the rice flour) but not crunchy. The cashews soften as the batter sits, and add a creamy rich taste and flavour, that's all. You could leave them out and the recipe would still work, but I think they add something nice to it.

    Stacy, no doubt you are right and semolina flour is finer than Cream of Wheat, which I haven't eaten since I was a small child, though I used to love it then. I did use semolina flour but either would have been fine in the recipe.

  7. Thanks, Zoa! BTW, I love the tofu benedict and English muffin recipes in that book, if you are looking for other things to try. They are great for dinner.

  8. An inspiring post on dosas! And such a delicious looking meal - making me excited for dosas again too! I've never tried to make these but have enjoyed them at various Indian food establishments here in Edmonton. Your excellent writing skills and beautiful photograpy are making me think I can do it! Thanks!

  9. What beautiful lacy dosas, and such a dreamy spice combination. How did the longer fermentation compare? I love fermented foods.

  10. Hi, Katharine:

    In this case, the fermentation didn't seem to matter that much, as it would have for regular rice/urad dosas. But the spices were very nice.

  11. The idea of the meal is tempting! Thank you. I'm always wondering with what I can serve such or such recipe...your combination seems really a good one.