Thursday, April 8, 2010

Besan Dosa

In Pune you’re never more than a few hundred feet away from a place that serves a hot, crisp dosa. I, like many others I know, grew up getting my daily requirement of dosa from Hotel Vaishali. And for most of us Puneris, Vaishali will always remain the golden standard by which all dosas will be judged. When I returned to India a few years back for a brief visit, a friend of mine wanted to take me to a ‘hip’, new dosa joint, which in itself is an oxymoron. We arrived at a place called Dosa Hut, located on the corner where Bhandarkar Rd meets Jangli Maharaj Rd and housed in what used to be the old CafĂ© Sunrise. It had just opened when I first visited. The abmience was a little overwhelming for a restaurant that made it’s living by selling dosas. I kept an open mind; that was until the menu arrived. Veg Jaipuri Dosa, Paneer Bhurji Dosa and the killer, I kid you not, Chicken Manchurian Dosa. I understand the need to be different in a saturated marked, but this was just insane (not to mention 40% more expensive than the best dosa in Pune). I looked at the menu once again, because it deserved a second look. My first question was, “why?” So did you just take the ‘masala out of the dosa and just replace it with generic Punjabi and desi Chinese dishes? Or was this an ill-conceived plot to overthrow the almighty naan? Was there any point to completely ruining two good dishes to create one disastrous hybrid? All for the sake of being different. I can’t really remember what I ordered there and but I do remember leaving the place rather confused. And I am not sure if the restaurant is still there either. If one wishes to go against the grain using the dosa, then why not change the dosa itself? I have seen so many recipes from food bloggers that have completely redefined the dosa using new ingredients from oatmeal to ladyfingers. Here’s one of my favourites.

  • 2 cups of Besan Flour (Chickpea)
  • ½ tsp Cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Chili grated
  • ¾ tsp Grated Ginger
  • ½ tsp Cilantro finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

  • In a bowl, mix the flour, cumin, turmeric, chili powder and salt
  • Add water to the mixture and mix till you achieve a dosa batter like consistency
  • Add the remaining herbs and mix thoroughly
  • Heat a skillet or Tawa and pour a ladel of batter on it
  • Spread the dosa thin using a large spoon. (Watch the video below)
  • Serve with fresh coconut chutney