Thursday, May 18, 2017

Quinoa Dosa with Quirky Fillings

Every few weekends, I haul out my biggest mixing bowls and drag the jumbo stone grinder to the center of the counter- it is time to do the ritualized measuring, soaking, grinding, washing up, fermenting, all in anticipation of the moment when the kitchen steams up with the aroma of idlis and the sizzle of dosas on the cast iron pan. I enjoy the process very much (and the product even more!) but it requires a certain amount of planning and blocking off time to do the grinding in between weekend chores and baby naps.

When the craving for dosa strikes in the middle of a week, I have been making something distinctly less authentic but just as tasty and satisfying- a quinoa dosa paired with all sorts of interesting non-traditional fillings.

I do soak the ingredients for a few hours and I do ferment the batter for a few hours as well, but the grinding (which seems to be the most time consuming and tiring part for me) is done in only a couple of minutes in a heavy-duty blender.

Quinoa dosa may sound like something with a health halo- a better-for-you but worse-tasting alternative to the original. And I'll admit that when I first made this, I thought I would be compromising on the taste of real proper dosa. With the first taste, I cheered aloud- quinoa dosa is full of flavor, crispy and wonderful. Both of my kids love it. We make a thicker dosa, smear it with ghee and tear it into bits for the baby to eat as a finger food. His big sister likes a crispy version of the dosa, rolled up with some filling inside, with plain yogurt as a dipping sauce.

Quinoa Dosa

SOAK: In a big bowl, soak together:
2 measures quinoa (I used tricolor quinoa because that's what I had on hand). By measure, I mean the rice cup measure, which is about 3/4 cup.
1 measure ural dal (I use skinned whole- gota- ural dal)
2 tbsp. chana dal
2 tbsp. raw rice

BLEND: After a few hours, use a heavy duty blender like the Vitamix to make a smooth batter, using water as necessary.

FERMENT: Ferment the batter in a warm spot for a few hours.

COOK: Make dosas on a cast iron skillet.

The traditional potato masala (filling) for dosa is marvelous, and I love riffing on the recipe to make all sorts of variations. One is the kale and butternut squash twist that I've posted before. Pictured above is a version made similarly, with a box of frozen chopped spinach (a pantry staple chez One Hot Stove) and a potato. Other vegetables that have worked spectacularly well as dosa filling: eggplant, cauliflower, and believe it or not, mushrooms.

I've seen off-beat dosas made with barley and oats and those would be nice to try.
What are your favorite variations of dosa?

* * * TV Land * * *

Our Friday night family movie nights continue to be an enjoyable kick-off to the weekend. Last Friday we watched Hotel Transylvania 2 and it was pretty entertaining with Adam Sandler as the voice of Dracula. The week before that we watched The BFG, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Roald Dahl's book- a heartwarming and enjoyable movie. We also watched Finding Dory, which was a bit depressing for me with the story line of animals in captivity- I absolutely cannot stand zoos and aquariums.

By far my favorite thing to watch lately with Lila is StoryBots Super Songs- they are so clever and funny and absolutely entertaining even for people of a certain age, shall we say, who are not particularly enamored of dinosaurs, vehicles and such. My favorite storybot songs: colors, dinosaurs, solar system and barn animals.

I'm always partial to British shows and with home remodeling/ decluttering/ design on my mind, I have been watching Grand Designs (about people's ambitious projects to build off-beat homes) and Escape to The Country (pretty self-explanatory: about people leaving behind city life to buy homes in the country). The latter is almost a travel show illuminating the geography, history and culture of the British countryside. Sticking with the British theme, I am enjoying the Father Brown mysteries featuring the intelligent and compassionate amateur detective Father Brown, although I haven't yet read the G. K. Chesterton books that the character is based on.

In a mood to watch something uplifting that celebrates the awe-inspiring side of humanity, I found two documentaries and highly recommend them. Cave of Forgotten Dreams has footage of some of humanity's earliest paintings, found in the Chauvet cave of France. It blew my mind that these 30,000 year old paintings looked so fluid, so modern, so skillful.

Man on Wire is the almost unbelievable story of a young Frenchman Philippe Petit, a tightrope walker who took the help of a few loyal friends to illegally rig a wire across the twin towers of the World Trade Center and walked/danced between the towers, a hundred stories above the ground, for over 30 minutes. Watching this documentary brought back a flood of memories. I was living in New York City on 9/11 and the weekend right before the towers were destroyed, I was sitting with my friends in their shadow eating bagels. The towers were office buildings, practically deserted on the weekend. We just stopped there for a snack before going on to other places around town, not knowing that something was about to happen there in 3 days that would change the world. Anyway, this tightrope walk happened in 1974, decades before that fateful day.

As for movies, I enjoyed these two very much: O Brother Where Art Thou has George Clooney AND an amazing soundtrack. Something's Gotta Give is a fun romantic comedy with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

What are you watching these days? Got any movies to recommend? 


  1. The dosa looks extremely appetizing, Nupur! Definitely have to have a go at it soon :)
    When I havent had time to plan and soak and grind, I just mix flours and salt together (urad dal, rice, besan, wheat, a little bit of fine rava) and make the dosas out of that batter. I try and mix it at night so that I can make the dosas in the morning. The kids seem to like it for breakfast :)
    I am also currently watching the Father Brown series on Netflix. I enjoy the cozy mystery approach.

    1. Chhaya- yes, the instant mixed-flour dosas are excellent! I love adding grated cucumber to those. Good idea to let the mix sit for a while before making dosas.

  2. Watched a bunch of beautiful films this year - Moonlight, Milk, Woman in Gold, Cairo Time, Queen of Katwe, Begin Again.

    Been reading a lot too. Currently on "An Unrestored Woman" by Shobha Rao.

    1. I'll have to see if I have streaming access to any of those movies, Lakshmi.

    2. I saw all of them (except Moonlight) on Netflix, so I imagine you'd have access too. I guess you mean Netflix?

  3. In case of dosa variations, Adai is favorite, followed by Pesarattu. I love Ragi dosa (with ragi flour, salt, water) but it is such a hit or miss... I stopped making them. :(

    1. Yes, we love adai too, I usually make it this way:

      I haven't had ragi flour in stock for a while but those are wonderful too! Why are they hit or miss?

    2. Because the batter is very fine, the dosas don't hold together. They tend to break. They taste wonderful but they are flimsy. So it's a pain to make them.

  4. Dosa looks too good. After moving to bangalore, my idly/dosa making has gone down (despite getting a stone grinder last year). There are so many good darshini type tiffin places near my office that my craving dont need much time to get fulfilled. ;)
    On our sunday afternoon family movie time, we recently watched ratatouille and my 3.5 year old absolutely loved it. He was laughing hysterically and enjoyed watching so many delicious things being cooked. Apart from the Sunday movie, I have not watched anything else, unfortunately. I have been crashing at 9 pm lately, not that I am complaining about getting extra shuteye :)

    1. Ah I can only imagine the foodie paradise that Bangalore is, especially when it comes to Southern Indian delicacies. Meanwhile I have a 90 minute to the nearest idli/dosa place so there is ample motivation to make them myself :)

      I will have to find ratatouille for Lila! She wants to be a chef and will love that movie.

  5. I have recently made millet idlis twice and they turned out well. In the US, I found Bob's Red Mill brand's millet in my regular grocery store. Proportion of millet, idli rice and urad dal is 3:1:1.
    Follow normal process, grind and ferment. I will try your quinoa dosas for sure.

    I'm currently reading "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson and totally digging it. See if your library has a copy. Each chapter deals with a family of fruits or vegetables and dives into its history, how to buy, store and cook to get the most nutrients/benefits out of them.

    Hubby and I are watching The Americans and we quite like it although some of the scenes are too gory for my liking.

    I watched a few episodes of Escape to the Country and love seeing the bucolic settings and cozy homes.

    I finished watching Master of None season 2 and quite like the series. Season 2 I thought was quite well made.

    Hope you guys have a great weekend!


    1. Anu- Thanks for the millet idli proportions! I'll have to try this. Also thanks for the book recommendation :) I will definitely look for it. Master of None is a good one for my next "binge"- I enjoyed the first season. I hope you have a great weekend too! It is warm and sunny here, pretty much perfect weather.

  6. Thanks for your quinoa dosa recipe, Nupur. Btw, I've been reading your blog for many years now, though I've rarely commented. I almost feel like I know you, which is so disorienting and strange, isn't it? :D

    I've just perfected my barley or oats idli/dosa mix: it's 1 measure each of urad dal, idli rice, quinoa and barley (or oats). It ferments well, thanks to the quinoa, and the idlis are almost indistinguishable (except in colour) from the traditional rice ones. The dosa comes out like set dosas from Bangalore, which we love here. I'd love to see your version of the barley/oats dosa. I find that adding more barley or oats makes my idli too soft - almost squishy. The texture doesn't turn out right. But let me know if you find a way to increase the ratio of barley or oats.

    - Chira

    1. Chira- Thanks for the comment :) Yes, it is strange but I also feel quite connected to the bloggers that I regularly read, sometimes more connected than to real-life friends that I rarely see!

      Thank you SO much for your barley/oats recipe. I will be trying those!! I do love the spongy set dosas. They are so wonderful with a thick coconutty vegetable stew.

  7. I have stopped making dosa, temporarily. For some reason, my dosas are white. I did everything as I should (urad : rice, 1:3+1 tsp methi), wet grinder, proper fermentation, but.... white dosa. SO disappointing. I think it is because of the urad, may be I got a batch that is new? Not sure.
    Lets see, I have a new batch I got this week. Fingers crossed.

    I will but different grain and start now. I've made Quinoa, ragi and oats dosas. The Quinoa ones were great, the ragi ones were good but a bit dry, oats, I did not quite like, I dislike anything sticky ( bulbuleet) and not sure I will use them again.

    Watching: Actually just finished watching VishnuPuran series.
    Wanted to introduce the son to Hindu Mythology. HE really enjoyed it a lot, though he does not understand Hindi (he read the subtitles)and we explained a lot. All in all, it was a lot of fun!


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