Monday, September 14, 2009

September Daring Cooks Challenge: Indian Dosas

This month's Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen. She challenged us to make Indian Dosas from Ruth Tal's reFresh Vegan Cookbook and to keep it vegan!

I'm a big fan of Indian cuisine and have made several different varieties of breads before (chapati, roti, poori and paratha), but I've never made dosas. It's a simple pancake-like batter and cooked like crepes. I used chapati flour because I had that on hand and substituted coconut milk for the soy milk. I had trouble getting the batter thin enough, but was afraid of making it too thin. I'll definitely thin it even more next time since we only ended up with 6 dosas from the recipe. I asked my crepe-master husband to cook them for me and he had to shake the pan a lot to get the batter to spread across and we ended up with a couple that were irregularly shaped. It's definitely something we'll play around with, searching for the elusive paper dosas.

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

The dosa filling was curried chickpeas. I have a chickpea curry made with yogurt that I make often so I was excited to try a vegan variation. It was a very simple and straightforward curry, much like those I've tried before. The only change I made was to use a red pepper rather than green. I mashed the chickpeas with a potato masher after I added them to the curry rather than pureeing them first to get a rougher texture. I wished that the filling was a little saucier, but it was otherwise a nice complement to the dosas.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through

My favorite part of the recipe was actually the coconut curry sauce. I really like coconut, a lot. A whole lot. Ironically, if I'd made this recipe outside of the daring cooks, I probably would have skipped the sauce, just for simplicity. I'm so glad I didn't. It was again extremely simple to make. I used chapati flour rather than spelt, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. The sauce provided a perfect complement to the dosas and really blended the flavors and brought the whole dish together.

Coconut Curry Sauce

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.