The perfect antidote to dreary foggy winter days? A classic South Indian brunch of dosa
slathered with potato masala
and dunked into eggplant sambar
I had my eye on Shilpa's butter dosa recipe
for some time. The story of the crowded restaurant that served these dosas
was so vivid, and the batter is very interesting in the way it uses wheat flour and rice flour in addition to rice and urad dal
I made the batter exactly in the proportions described in the recipe
(using sona masuri
rice instead of dosa rice), and now my biggest mixing bowl is taking up half my fridge and holding enough dosa batter for the next 10 breakfasts! Not that I am complaining, but for a small family, the recipe could be easily halved. Placed in a warm oven overnight, the batter rose beautifully.
Here's how I make my potato masala
. Have you noticed how vegetables taste different based on how you cut them? I like using thickly sliced onions in my potato masala, and lots of them, for a high onion:potato ratio.
1. Heat 2 tsp. oil and temper it with
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. chana dal
1 tsp. urad dal
pinch of asafoetida
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
2. Add 2 medium-large onions
, cut in half and sliced thickly. Cook until translucent.
3. Add salt
, minced green chilli
and a small dab of ginger garlic paste
4. Add 3 medium boiled potatoes
cut in small dice.
5. Stir around, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes.
6. Garnish with lots of cilantro
The final ingredient for making proper dosa is the cast iron pan
. I know a lot of people like using non-stick pans for dosas. Non-stick pots and pans do play a small role in my kitchen, but my dosa-making was revolutionized when I bought my heavy cast iron tawa
. In the US, these are sold as cast iron griddles and are quite inexpensive and built to last a lifetime. They heats to a high temperature and distributes heat evenly helps to make beautiful crisp dosas (I also use them for rotis, parathas and thalipeeth). I wash the pan only with water and a little salt if required, and over time, it is more of a non-stick quality than any non-stick pan I have ever used.
And just as we finished eating this brunch, the sun came out of hiding. Dosa always leads to good things.
1. I read a wonderful book last week- Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
. Sitting down to a meal no longer feels like a simple act, with issues of food safety, food politics, the environment and the consequences of our choices weighing heavily on our minds. I am struggling to work these complex issues in my head, as are so many of my blogger friends
. There are many books written on these subjects, and I confess that the complexity of the issues sometimes makes me so weary and vaguely guilty that I avoid reading the books for as long as I can. And that's why this particular book, where Kingsolver writes about her family's year-long experiment with eating local, was on my "I don't want to read it so much as I want to have read it" list ever since it came out. Last week, I finally checked it out the library, only because it was the book of the month in an online reading group that I participate in. Well, I started to read it, could not put it down, and finished it in a day and a half! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
is written with such gentleness and humor, I would highly recommend it to everyone who wants to enjoy a great read while also becoming better informed.
2. A book that I am savoring in small bites, one chapter at a time, is Eating India
by Chitrita Banerji. Thank you for the superb gift, Bong Mom
. The book has essays on trips to different parts of India and tales of the cuisines the author encounters. The essays are transporting me to different lands and are a joy to read for anyone who loved Indian regional food.
3. On a whim, I decided that one of my reading goals for 2010 would be to read all the Pulitzer prize fiction winners
from 1979-2009. We talked about 2010 resolutions at a work meeting; everyone's goals were to eat healthy and exercise while mine was to read more novels! The one I'll start next is March by Geraldine Brooks. I loved Louisa May Alcott's Little Women
as a kid, and this novel is the story as imagined from their father's eyes.
4. I'm also doing some lighter "comfort food" reading with At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon. Does anyone know of other books that are light and uplifting, like the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency
5. V and I enjoy watching British mysteries on DVD. Right now, we are watching the Inspector Morse
series (although I prefer his successor, Inspector Lewis myself) and the Rosemary and Thyme
series, where the two gardeners Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme work in lush gardens that make my eyes swim and solve murders while they are at it.
6. My super-talented sister made my day by mailing me a huge package full of cute things she sewed herself. I got a custom-made knitting bag so I can tote my UFOs (u
) around town in style, another cute bag, a belt and an apron. Dale got this personalized scarf in tiger print! Whee, I love getting presents, and handmade ones are priceless.
7. Instead of directly donating money for Haiti relief, I did something that was more fun for me. I knitted a baby hat and donated it to an Etsy
shop to be sold, with all proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders
. Some kind person bought my wee tomato hat for 20 bucks!
If you want to buy something handmade for Haiti relief, please visit the Craft Hope Etsy shop
(keep checking frequently, because cute items are added all the time and sold literally in minutes). If you are a crafter and want to donate an item you made, visit this page
for details. I'll be making more items for the shop as well, as I get time.
Have a wonderful week, everyone! And if you made it to the end of this ridiculously long post, congratulations.