Rice Flour Dosas with Onions and Black Mustard Seeds

December 27, 2006 at 6:19 pm (A minus, Derek's faves, Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches)


This recipe is not authentic as it is made with pre-ground rice flour, and no lentils, but it is fast and super tasty. It’s based on a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook.

Makes eight 6- to 7-inch pancakes, each using 1/3 cup of batter.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rice flour (also called rice powder)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (or just quarter it)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (fine salt?)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (the sourer the better)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs. veg oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. coarsely crushed or very coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Put the onion in the bowl of a food processor and chop finely. Add the white flour, rice flour, cayenne, coconut, salt, yogurt, and water. Blend until smooth and pour into a bowl.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. of oil in a very small skillet or pot over a medium flame. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop (almost immediately), pour the seeds and oil over the batter. Add the black pepper and mix thoroughly.
  3. The instructions for cooking the dosas is quite complicated and I’m not going to copy it here since I haven’t yet mastered the instructions anyhow. Jaffrey says to use a 7- to 8-inch nonstick pan, but I use my 12-inch pan since that’s the only nonstick one I have. She also says to use a spoon to spread the batter but I’m not skilled enough to make that work. Instead, I thin down my batter with water, and then just tilt the pan to get the batter to cover the bottom, as you do when making crepes. Note that you want the skillet to be hot, lightly oiled, and the dosa to be as thin as possible. Make sure to cover your skillet after placing 1/3 cup of batter in the pan, and cook until the dosas is no longer white in the center. Flip and leave uncovered when cooking the second side.
  4. To make these ahead of time you can wrap them in tin foil then reheat them later in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes (I haven’t tried this yet).

My Notes

I often add a bit more water to this recipe to thin the batter down and make it easier to spread in the pan, maybe 1 cup?  The thickness of your yogurt will affect how much water you need.  Since I add more water I usually get out more dosas, or bigger dosas, than the headnotes indicate.  Last time I made them I was able to make a total of nine 8- to 9-inch dosas in my 12-inch skillet.

Note that it’s essential to blend the batter in the food processor or blender to achieve the proper consistency. (A stick blender will work as well, but definitely don’t skip the blending step, even if you dice your onions very fine.) These dosas end up thicker than traditional dosas, but they have great flavor. The sourness and onion flavor are most noticeable. I like the onion so much I may try increasing the amount to a whole cup of onions.

I often serve these some subset of: coconut chutney, raita, samosa potatoes, garlic/ginger greens, and dal or sambar.

The recipe calls for using 6 Tbs. of vegetable oil when cooking the dosas, about 2 tsp. per dosa–1/2 tsp. in the pan before the batter, 1/2 tsp. drizzled over the pancake and 1 tsp. around the pancakes edges. I sometimes just oil the pan for the first dosa. They don’t turn out quite as crisp but they’re still very tasty.

Rating: A-
Derek: A

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4 Comments

  1. Teresa said,

    I made these with fat free strained Greek yogurt. Since the yogurt was so thick, I used only about 3/4 c of it and added a bit more water to make the batter easier to pour. Also, since I don’t have a food processor, I used an immersion blender to mix everything before adding the hot oil and mustard seeds. They turned out really well – quite thin and kind of crispy on the edges but with some flexibility. Very tasty!

  2. Nayana said,

    Hope you don’t mind my suggestions.

    For this recipe, using 1/2 cup semolina, 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup rice flour will give good results. Make the batter thin. You can get thin and crisp dosas.

    Make seasoning with 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp cumin and mustard seeds and add this to the batter and mix well. You need not add extra oil on top of each dosa. My family loves these onion dosas.

  3. captious said,

    Your semolina/flour/rice mixture sounds good, although I also want to try using half rice half dal.

  4. Amy said,

    Hi Rose! I’m making your dosa recipe this morning — can’t wait! Hope you and Derek are well.

    Amy

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