masala dosa and a reminder

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feed the hungrysummary: recipe for dosa made with dahl; reminder of those in need and that October 16 is World Food Day; list of some of the aid organizations working to feed the hungry; (click on images for larger views)

dosa We made the most amazing breakfast not long ago: homemade masala dosa.

It was great dosa: thin and crispy and light, with potato stuffing, sambar (I confess I loathe sambar and refused to have any but T claimed it was delicious) and 2 chutneys: coconut and pear (yes, from all those pears I picked).

We had a little of the batter left-over and had sada dosa (plain) the next morning with coffee. It was reminiscent of socca (aka farinata) but instead of being made with chickpea flour, we used finely ground toor dahl that had been soaked overnight.

Next time we’re thinking we might try adding some rice. Or perhaps not because the dosas made with just dahl was stellar. And if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The first time I had dosa was in a fly infested restaurant in Khajuraho. I remember being a bit afraid. I’d seen and the state of the tables BEFORE they had been wiped down with a greyish rag and how many flies were waltzing around everywhere. But the smells emitting from the kitchen were wonderful. So we stayed. The dosa was thin and crispy and light. The potato filling was perfectly spiced. The coconut chutney was wonderfully refreshing. It was everything a dosa should be. Except for the flies.

Dahl Dosa
based on a Manjula’s recipe for Moong Dal Dosa

makes 4 dosas

  • 1 cup toor dahl (small sized yellow lentils)
  • water
  • ½ inch fresh ginger
  • 2 or 3 green chillies
  • salt, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for frying


  1. The night before you plan to make the dosa, sort through and wash the dahl well. Leave to soak in plenty of cold water overnight.
  2. The next morning, drain the dahl and put it in a blender. Add ginger, green chillies and a few tablespoons of water and blend til smooth.
  3. Add salt and a little more water as needed. Blend. Keep adding water until it is the consistency of thin pancake batter.
  4. Heat a tava (or cast iron frying pan) to medium-high. Use a paper towel to put a hint of oil on the tava surface. Check to see that the tava is ready by putting a few drops of water on it. If the water sizzles away right away, it’s too hot. If it sits there doing nothing, it’s not hot enough. If the water beads and dances, it’s juuuuust right.
  5. Use a ladle to pour some batter over center of the tava. Spread it evenly using the back of a spoon. Start from the center and spiral outwards until it is evenly spread and thin but not too thin.
  6. As the dosa begins to look less like batter, sprinkle vegetable oil and spread very gently using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon. Allow the dosa to cook a little longer and then gently nudge under the edges with a spatula and when it allows you, look at the bottom to make sure it’s golden brown, then flip the dosa over.
  7. Sprinkle with a little more oil and cook until the other side is golden.

Serve immediately as is for sada dosa, or for a masala dosa, put the dosa on a plate, prettier side down. Put a spoonful of potato filling in the center and fold the dosa like a letter over top. Flip the filled dosa over. Serve with coconut chutney and any other chutney you like. A few extra green chillies are nice too. And of course, some people insist on sambar as well.

dosa filling T made the most amazing potato filling with cashews. This was really everything a dosa should be. And the bonus was: it was served on clean plates and there were zero flies!!!

Remind me to post the recipes for the potato filling, the really fabulous coconut chutney that T made and the equally fabulous pear chutney I made. You neeeeeed to have them with your dosas.

As for the sambar… well, it’s just not something I crave but you might like to have it. T bought a sambar packet and doctored it by adding some of the potato filling (choosing the spiciest bits), a green chili and a little homemade tomato sauce (the kind we use to make pizza).

Whenever we eat Indian food, I can’t help thinking about our amazing trip to India many years ago. The sights and sounds and aromas and spices and colours. And the people! So many people! And we drank bottled Limka or Thumbs Up because Fresca and Coca Cola were unavailable. We were there when television for everyone was just been introduced and everyone stopped everything to watch Mahabarat, many standing at outdoor cafes because they didn’t have televisions in their homes yet.

How things must be changed now!

And yet, there is still distressing news:

Despite significant economic progress in the past decade, India is home to about 25 percent of the world’s hungry poor.

–, India

And as we know, just next door in Pakistan, the situation is much more dire.

Two thirds of the world’s undernourished live in just seven countries – Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan

Latest Updates:

  • 24 Sep 2010 UNICEF Millions affected by the floods in India
  • 24 Sep 2010 IFRC Pakistan: Concerns mounting over food security
  • 24 Sep 2010 ICRC Pakistan: Balochistan in dire need of aid
  • 23 Sep 2010 WHO Health sector treats almost 6 million in flood-affected Pakistan, but great challenges persist

– Relief Web, 925 million in chronic hunger worldwide; Pakistan: Floods – Jul 2010; India

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about the fact that you just gave a donation after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. And your taxes have gone up. And fuel prices are rising. Which means food prices this winter will rise as well.

But then as you’re thinking about that, you might also think about what you paid for lunch when you decided to go out with office friends to celebrate the end of the week. And how you calculated that it came out to $12.50 and if you each threw in an extra $2.50, the waiter would get a nice tip and what’s $2.50 extra anyway.

Here’s my proposal. Next time you’re thinking about going out for lunch with your office friends, virtually invite one or two hungry poor to lunch with you by sending the price of their lunches to a reputable aid organization. Let’s start World Food Day early.

World Food Day - 16 October World Food Day is a yearly event put together by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to raise funds to feed the world’s chronically hungry.

World Food Day, 16 October 2010
United Against Hunger

The theme of this year’s observance is United against Hunger, chosen to recognize the efforts made in the fight against world hunger at national, regional and international levels.

[T]here have never been so many hungry people in the world.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Read more about World Food Day:

empty bowl There are impoverished and hungry people everywhere in the world. And there are many organizations attempting to feed these people. Here are just a few possibilities. Please look in your community for others:

Please remember when giving your donations to ensure that the relief agency you have chosen already has operations set up in the area. Also, it’s a good idea to ask their advice about whether it is best to specify “greatest need” on your donation. They know best where the moneys really need to go.

And don’t forget about these sites online.


Bloggers Against Hunger Bloggers Against Hunger
Working together with the World Food Programme to fight hunger.


MATCH DEADLINE EXTENDED: All donations made from August 2 up to and including October 3, 2010 will be matched by the Canadian government through its Pakistan Floods Relief Fund.

More than 1,600 people have been killed by the floods in Pakistan to date. Hundreds more are missing and it is feared that the death toll will rise as continuing rains increase the threat of more flooding and the spread of waterborne diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea and cholera begins.

– World Vision: Floods in Pakistan

Bloggers Against Hunger
Working together with the
World Food Programme
to prevent hunger

(If you have something to add or say about stopping world hunger, please remember to post your thoughts and ideas on your blog, facebook, at work, etc. etc.)

This entry was posted in hunger, posts with recipes, spicy, vegetarian on by . empty bowl

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2 responses to “masala dosa and a reminder

  1. arthur escoto

    I love to eat dosa and I try to make make it at home just to impress my friends. This time, I will really make serious dosa with your recipe,green chili and all and fly free too. Thank you for the treat.

    edit: It will be most interesting to see what sort of shapes you carve the green chilies into when you make your dosa, Arthur! – Elizabeth


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