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Monday, September 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge: Indian Dosas (Vegan Style)

Debyi from Healthy Vegan Kitchen was our host for the September 2009 Daring Cooks challenge. Debyi chose the recipe for Indian Dosas from the "refresh" cookbook by Ruth Tal.

I didn't make the dosas until today, the posting day, but I made the curried chickpea filling and coconut curry sauce in advance. I also was making 36 pints of Skyline Chili this weekend so while I had wanted to put all this together sooner, I didn't have the stovetop space for another frying pan! :)

As a side note, I had a little mishap with the spicy chickpea filling. It called for a few medium peppers, so I picked some up - banana peppers. They weren't too spicy but they definitely had a kick when I tried them as I was chopping them. Before I knew it, I must have somehow gotten some of the hot pepper oils all over my hands, which eventually ended up on my face... I washed my hands about 4 times and a few more before taking out my contacts and I felt fine when I went to bed. When I woke up, I attempted to put my contacts back in... but that didn't work out at all. I think I even still had some rogue pepper oil on my fingers still.. I just couldn't get it off! My contacts are the expensive hardy kind so I only have 4 pairs a year, but luckily it was just about time for a new pair. It was glasses for a few days to let my peppered eyes rest and by Sunday I had a new pair in and I am feeling just fine! Whew. Next time - remove contacts first and wear gloves! I used to have weekly disposable contacts so it was never a big deal when I was making spicy salsa... I'll be more careful from now on. :) The spicy chickpeas were worth it. :)

I love Indian food but this was an exceptionally interesting challenge because Debyi dared us to cook totally free of animal products and the recipe seemed to be gluten free too! I've never cooked anything Vegan in my life, but I was excited to try it. I love vegetarian food. I love meat too, so I guess I love it all. :) Anyway, this meant having to buy some special items that I wouldn't normally get - soy milk and all purpose gluten free flour.

The dosas are crepe-like pancakes which are filled with the curried garbanzo bean filling and this can all be topped with a delicious coconut curry sauce. I love chickpeas and all the flavors in this dish. Thank you to Debyi for introducing me to this kind of cooking and for a real kitchen adventure!!

And now for the taste test - I am home alone tonight so I just made a half batch of the dosas and I didn't quite read the directions (and scoop two tablespoons of batter into the pan) and just put half the batter into the pan and swirled it around like I do crepes. I did the same thing for the second dosa and had two pan-sized dosa pancakes.

I filled the dosa with the chickpea mixture, folded the dosa over like a crepe and topped like the sauce. A few quick (and unfortunately dark) pictures and I finally got to dig in - oh my gosh! This is SO delicious! All three of the components added such a unique aspect of the final flavor profile.. I *loved* this recipe. The dosa is soft, spongy, and has a wonderful consistency to contain the spicy chickpea mixture which is just an explosion of flavors. The coconut curry sauce is creamy and tones the spicy filling down and brings everything together in a truly wonderful blend of flavors. Oh darn I just realized I forgot the coconut and cucumber toppings... guess I'll have to have another one tomorrow! :)

In summary, I was wondering what I'd be doing with my extra gluten free flour and soy milk, but now it is pretty clear that I'll be making more batches of these recipes and sharing with my family! My parents are going to LOVE this. So yummy! Thanks again Debyi!!!!!!

Indian Dosas
From the"refresh" cookbook by Ruth Tal

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) watercooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced

Dosa Pancakes

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.

Curried Garbanzo Filling

This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.

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.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.

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. Enjoy!!


  1. I've stumbled across your blog through the daring kitchen and I love reading other people food adventures. Just thought I'd let you know I've enjoyed flicking through your blog!

  2. First off, kudos for putting this together along with a bughe batch of chili! Now that's multi-tasking extraordinaire! Secondly, oh wow, I hear you on the pepper to the eye and face situation. I do it all the time, I'll never learn, and a few times were with habaneros and ghost peppers! Contact lenses were null and void for a week! lol

    Finally, your dosas look lovely, so delicate and the sauce so creamy. Very well done, especially for a last minute job!

  3. I totally sympathize with the contact lens fiasco, I've been there/ done that!

    I haven't put my post up yet, hoping to do so later today. I really want to make the lentil-rice dosa batter, which seems to be the "authentic" version according to the people from India who have posted in the forums. But the version in the challenge was certainly a lot quicker to throw together.

    As for the size of the pancakes, I was wondering how the heck anyone got 2 Tbs of batter to make a full sized dosa?! I had to use at least 1/4 cup for each one.

  4. Oh my gosh, your poor eyes!!! I hope they feel better soon! Glad you liked the recipe! It was delicious, wasn't it? I will definitely be making it again!

  5. Great job on the challenge! Glad to hear that your eyes are ok now, I can just imagine. I somehow managed to get pepper oil on my arm and it burned all night, I feel bad for your poor eyeballs!

  6. Oh no!! I'm so sorry about your eyes - I know that cannot be fun.

    For left over flour, there are many spelt (which isn't gluten free) recipes out there, but all-purpose gluten free flour (a mix) can replace wheat flour in "normal" wheat baking. It can get you glorious results =D!!

    Beauitful dosas by the way!!

  7. Too many times that pepper oil will sneak up on you hours later.

  8. omg I had a similar incident with pepper oil when making mine. i was seriously freaking out because I was in so much pain, pouring milk all over my face. my husband told me to wash my face with dish liquid because it removes oil and that helped. i looked ridiculous the next day though.

  9. Mon - thanks for stopping in, I checked out your blog and it's superb!

    Lisamichele-I can't believe you survived the ghost peppers!!!! I have never even seen those sold anywhere.. I'd be afraid to touch them at the store! I'm like you, seems like I won't learn my lesson.

    noelle- your filling sounds just delicioso, and i agree with the 1/4cup amount for the larger sized dosa!

    holly - thanks for the gf flour tip, i was quite pleased with the dosa results!

    everyone with burning eyes- i am glad i'm not the only one but sorry to also hear that you guys have had the same peppery eye mishaps! oh the perils of the kitchen.. i also have a ton of burn-mark scars on my hands/arms from sloppy movements around my oven and hot pans! i'm sure i'm not the only one. i even have an ove glove so there's no excuse. :) good thing these recipes are worth it!

    thanks for stopping in!