How to upgrade your dosa game!
So a few weeks ago I wrote about the magic of dosas. These fermented rice and lentil pancakes are not only cheap, but incredibly tasty, good for you, and (very important) introduce variety to anyone’s budget friendly vegan lifestyle. Take a look at the below picture…. can you believe that is a bowl full of rice and beans right there?
Needless to say, dosas have been my project for the past three weeks. I’ve made them with mung beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils. I’ve made them with different ratios of each. I’ve made them with different toppings, everything from a cabbage stir fry to chutney and coconut bacon. These are my lessons learned, to help others learn to make delicious and healthy dosas.
1) Temperature matters for fermentation
So it is winter, and most of us budget friendly people keep our houses cold. The problem with this, is that fermenting dosa batter prefers temperatures of between 80-90 degrees fahrenheit. In my recipe reading, it is recommended to leave the dosa batter in the oven with the oven light on for about 8-24 hours. Now, I don’t know what oven light these people had, but mine barely did anything and neither did that dosa batter. Now, for my dosa fermentation, I preheat the oven to 170, then vent it a little bit so that it feels warm. Doing this about twice a day, combined with the oven light, has made for a lot more fermentation. The more fermentation, the fluffier your dosa batter will be, and the more nutrition you are adding to your food!
2) Lentils are the best
There is something magic about lentils. When I have used lentils in dosas, the result is literally like a white flour sweet pancake. If I use any other bean, the batter is less fluffy and has a harder time sticking together. Thus, I suggest using lentils for you highest quality dosas.
3) Add more protein… or an onion!
Most dosa recipes call for ½ cup lentils, and 1 ½ cup rice. You can up this ratio easily to 1 cup lentils and 1 cup rice for more protein. A tasty trick i have found is to also blend in with the batter ½ chopped onion. Cooked with the dosa, this elevates even a plane dosa with salt and pepper to gourmet status!
4) Add hidden greens for uttapam!
Dosas are a great place to hide all those flavorful greens you can’t stand to eat, like dandelion greens (which I wrote about last week!). Put a little bit on each dosa as you cook, and you’ll never even know they are there!
5) Blend cooked rice in right before you bake
While recipes often have you blend in the cooked rice with the batter before you ferment, I have found that adding it right before cooking leads to a fluffier dosa.
6) Bigger is better for spatulas
I could never make any dosa’s without my handy dandy super sized spatula. While cooking, dosas are too fragile for conventional spatulas. I suggest getting one of these puppies, $8 from Bed Bath and Beyond.
7) Make that pan hot!
Dosas hold together better if they are cooked fast. My best dosas have been made with a super hot pan.
8) Coconut bacon is amazing on everything
Any dosa you make, with any topping, can be made infinitely better with the addition of Minimalist baker homemade coconut bacon!
This week in updates: We’re Moving
So a tiny house may not be in our future, but a tiny apartment is. Our new place will be right by the famous Portland Vegan Restaurants Epif and The Sudra. This means a lot of going through our stuff, and selling things on facebook marketplace/craigslist. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate, and how accomplished you feel when you make your household leaner. It also has brought Jesse and I closer together, and made me realize just how much I do treasure the items I want to keep. More about our latest adventure coming soon!
The Recipe: Lentil dosas with carrot raisin chutney, coconut bacon, and maple syrup
- 1 cups uncooked long grain rice
- ¼ cup cooked rice
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- Red pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped greens
- ½ cup coconut bacon
- Cilantro for topping
- ½-1 cup real maple syrup
- For the dosas: Soak the lentils and rice overnight in separate bowls. The fenugreek seeds soak with the rice.
- The next morning, blend the lentils with 1 cup of the soaking liquid, and the rice with 1 cup of soaking liquid. Mix these two mixtures together with the salt using your hands. This helps the fermentation process. The batter will feel slightly grainy, and that is okay!
- Cover with a damp towel, and place the bowl somewhere warm for 8-24 hours. The warmer the environment, the faster the batter will ferment. I usually put mine in the oven with the oven light on and the oven pre-heated.
- If your batter has not fermented in 24 hours, your tap water might be too chlorinated or your oven too cold.
- After your batter is bubbly, has expanded in size, and smells ferment-ie, it is ready! Blend in the cooked rice and salt, then cook like you would normal crepes or pancakes. If desired, add greens sauteed or uncooked to each dosa as you go along.
- For the carrot raisin chutney: Add the carrots and raisins to water in a pot and bring to a boil. Make sure the carrots and the raisins are covered with water.
- Boil until carrots are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain water and blend while adding the spices.
- To serve, stack dosas like you would pancakes and cover with the chutney. Chop cilantro and cover the dosas with it and the coconut bacon. The final touch is a drizzle of real maple syrup.
Okay, this sounds like a crazy combo, but it was one of the most delicious recipes I have ever made. Thank you to Minimalist Baker for the coconut bacon recipe. It is true that vegan bacon just makes everything better! Not only is this recipe gourmet and healthy, but it is cheap too. The dosas are $3 to make, the coconut bacon also $3, and the carrot raisin compote comes to $3. Add maple syrup for $2, greens for $1, and $2 for cilantro yields $14 for 6 servings. (Or two if your fiance loves it so much he eats 5 servings himself!)