I have not always been a fan of dosa. In fact, for years I would only eat it if it was accompanied by tanks of chutney (why yes, I would like some dosa with that). But then I tried ada (a-day) dosa, and my life changed.

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Dosa is a south asian savory crepe - type bread. It's made of rice which is soaked, ground, and allowed to ferment. Ada dosa is the simpler, and to me, much tastier cousin - made entirely of rice, lentils, and legumes, it is both extraordinarily healthy and delicious.

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This is the food I beg my mom to make every time I visit home, and is one of the first things I learned to make when I set out on my quest to learn to cook Indian food.

Ada Dosa

The recipe I'm sharing today is one that I know works, but you can substitute all the lentils and legumes with pretty much any other lentil or legume. You just have to make sure that you soak the hardier legumes (black eyes peas, kidney beans, black beans, etc.) overnight, and the lentils and rice for three or four hours. It's also important to have a good rice to lentil ratio. You want to make sure that approximately one third of the total quantity is rice, so if you have two cups combined of lentils and legumes, you would want one cup of rice in there. These dosas can be eaten with yogurt, any chutney or pickle you like, or, if you're so inclined, plain. They would also be wonderful with sauteed vegetables.

Yield: Approximately 10 10-inch dosas, 3 - 4 servings

Total Time: 1 hour active, 12 hours passive

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup chana dal
  • 1/2 cup toor dal
  • 1/2 cup split peas
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tbls fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tbls whole black pepper
  • 1/2 tbls cumin
  • 1/2 cup coconut (dry and fresh both fine)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • fresh green chili, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • Directions:

    1.) Soak the black beans the night before, and start soaking the lentils about six hours before you want to eat them.

    2.) Combine all ingredients including spices in the food processor with the water you soaked them in, and let it run. The resulting mixture shouldn't be too runny or too thick, and will be a little grainy, but not chunky. While it won't be as smooth as pancake batter, the lentils should be broken down quite well.

    3.) Once your batter is ready, turn on your stove and let a skillet heat with a small amount of oil. You want the skillet to be hot and the oil covering the surface - if you put your batter on the skillet too soon it will stick! Put a small amount of batter in the center of your skillet, and careful spread it out with a spiraling motion until it's the desired size. Pour a small amount of oil (1/4 teaspoon) on the surface of the dosa, and then cover the pan.

    4.) Let it cook for three - four minutes, before removing the cover, and flipping the dosa so the other side can cook.

    5.) Cooking time varies based on the stove and the pan you're using, so give yourself a bit of leeway here. If your first dosa falls apart (as mine did) scrape it off, rinse your skillet, and start fresh - with a bit of trial and error, these become super easy! Once both sides of your dosa are cooked, it's ready! Pull up a plate and dig in :)