Sunday, August 15, 2010

Murugal dosai

I didn't realize the need for this post, until one of our friends asked . Dosa is the staple food for any South Indian family .  Just like many of you , the very sight of the dosa batter-container in my refrigerator always gives me a feeling of relief. It is the best friend at supper time, if I can't think much. So I always make a big batch of batter on Fridays, so that the weekends go smoothly :)

The paper roast dosai we get in restaurants is the yummiest version of all dosais. Mom used to call it as 'murugal dosai' (Murugal - crispy) and I like that name very much. Amma's kaipakkuvam (mom's touch) and the 'kalchekku' nallennai (Extra virgin sesame / gingelly oil) along with that perfectly fermented batter would make the house smell heavenly. Even now the same kind of flavor floating from some unknown chimney lifts up my spirit.

How to choose a dosa tawa and maintain it?
Many people add a teaspoon of channa dhal to get the golden brown colored dosa. Below ratio is the one we use. No harm in using whatever works out the best for you. But the real secret lies in the selection of the dosa tawa (dosa girdle).
Indian grocery stores or Indian vessel stores are the best places to get one. Buy an iron dosa girdle of at least 10 mm thickness and as large as 1 feet diameter. The thickness helps in uniform heating, which results in very thin crispy dosas. I am not good at non stick dosa tawas. But the non sticks are great for making soft doas (like pancakes).
Ok, as soon as we buy that thick dosa tawa, immerse it in a solution of rice washed water or water strained out while cooking for 24 hours. After that wash it and heat once uniformly apply a coating of sesame oil over it and put a lid on it. Switch off flame and  let it remain over night. The next morning, gently wipe off the oil and start making dosas.
The rule number one is never use that precious dosa tawa for making chapathi / roti or any other purpose like dhum biryani making etc:) This will spoil fine layers (at molecular level) of the dosa tawa and it will take a lot of time to get rectified.
Keep your dosa-turning spatula clean and sharp. Try to use an ever-silver spatula to turn the dosa, as they are always sharp.  Wipe off the excess batter after every use.

Dosa batter uniformly spread on the conventional dosa tawa.
Golden brown dosa after flipping.
Crispy Murugal dosai served with Coconut chutney.

Idly rice - 3 cups
black gram dhal - 1 cup
(In India the urad dhal is very fresh so 1:4 ratio is enough. Other than that 1:3 works the best while using an aged dhal or Indian mixie. If using an Indian grinder the ratio can be 1: 3 1/2)
fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
salt - 3 1/2 tsp (1 tsp for each cup of rice and 1/2 tsp for a cup of black gram)
Sesame oil - 50 ml

Batter preparation:
Soak rice separately for 5 hours. Dhal and fenugreek seeds need to be soaked together for about 3 hours. After that grind dhal till it becomes very smooth and fluffy. The batter should be thick like softened butter. Transfer it to a big bowl. Then grind the rice to a very smooth texture.Do not add lot of water. Add salt and by giving several strokes.
Store this in a large vessel so that there is enough space for batter to rise. Grinding and storing of batter should be done the previous day, preferably in the night so that the batter would be ready the next day. The batter should be allowed to ferment for about 15 – 18 hours.
(If the outside temperature is below 85 deg C, then keep it inside a mildly warmed oven to get warmth). The next day, mix the batter well and it can be used to make idly or dosa.
Generally people prepare Idly with the first day batter and the remaining batter can be used to make dosa. Moreover dosa comes out very well if the batter is more fermented. we can add a dash of yeast to the freshly ground batter to enhance fermentation of the batter.The remaining batter can be preserved in tight containers in refrigerator.
A well prepared batter can remain good for almost a week.

Dosa preparation:
Heat a dosa tawa. Check the heat by sprinkling a drop of water. It should be sizzling hot. For the first dosa, Spread the sesame oil uniformly using the special wooden tool we use for spreading oil or a piece of fresh cloth. Wipe off excess oil. There should be almost no oil now.

Take a ladle of batter and pour it gently over the tawa and spread it to get crepe.
Keep the heat in maximum. Drizzle a tsp of sesame oil over the dosa. After it starts turning red, flip and take out immediately.

From the next dosa, start pouring the batter directly. No need to brush oil at first. But feed the dosa with generous quantity of sesame oil. Serve immediately, as it becomes soggy with time.

Murugal dosai is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with sambar, chutney.
Makes 40 dosa.

Approximate calories:
(Click to see source)
1 large home made murugal dosai (10 inch dia)
From batter - 80 to 100 Kcal
from sesame oil (1 tsp) - 40 Kcal
Total 140 Kcal.


Puja said...

Dosai looks perfect n crispy..liked your detailed instructions..comes in very handy 4 newbie cooks, i remember i was there once :)

புவனேஸ்வரி ராமநாதன் said...


Satya said...

hi viki,

i love dosas n never made paper roast at home ... ur tips are usefull for preparing the tawa for the paper roast ... i normally use the same tawa for other items .. but after reading ur post it is very helpfull..i will another special tawa for dosa alone ... ur dosa looks crispy and yummy too


Sushma Mallya said...

Dosa looks very crispy,just like a hotel one...

Indian Khana said...

Looks yum....perfet platter

sanjeeta kk said...

Perfect and crispy Dosa. Like the clicks.

chef and her kitchen said...

Nicely written abt dosa tawa...truely said dosa tawa matters a lot...non-stick is my least preference for making dosa's...ur dosa look yumm

Pavithra Srihari said...

Viki , I seriously love this calorie part the best ....

Perfect dosa !!!

Jaleela Kamal said...

super crispy.

Treat and Trick said...

Hi Viki,

Dosai looks perfect and delicious, thanks for sharing the great recipe...

Akila said...

Really a very cripsy dosa....simply love it...

Niloufer Riyaz said...

falling in love with that crispy dosai, my favorite

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Your tips are so much helpful for making perfect dosas. I have a perfect tawa for this which i keep aside specially for making dosas.Your dosa looks crispy and perfect

Thanks for appreciating my recipe photos, but really I'm a newbie in this regard:-).Anyway thanks for boosting ...
Hamaree Rasoi

Anita said...

It looks so nice, it makes me hungy now..

Suparna said...

That's an encyclopedia on dosa and it's life cycle;) too good as always viki! love the way ur dosas have turned out!! andthat chutney is surely making me droooooooooool..

Ms.Chitchat said...

Awesome,awesome murugal dosa. I too love dosas which are crispy and crunchy. I keep the last dosa in the tava and that dosa used to be in great demand always :):)

Suja Manoj said...

Perfect and crispy dosa..looks yum.

Swathi said...

Dosa looks crispy and perfect. Nice description

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

very informative post. we all love dosa at home but frying them in a non stick one hell of a job. you have given very handy tips. will buy one pan very soon. between by rice washed water did you mean the water in which we rinse the rice before cooking or the thick water that we drain after cooking the rice.

Rachana said...

The dosas look amazing! I love dosas!

Vikis Kitchen said...

Thank you friends.
Satya: Yes dear, the dosa tawa / pan should not be used for anything else. That makes uneven heating/cooling, which induces some thermal stress that damages the structure of iron:) Moreover donot pour cold water on the hot tava after making dosa. Sometimes scrubbing some raw onion helps in restoring it to good condition.
Some generations back , before going to bed they apply some sesame oil over the tava and close it with a lid, so that they get nice dosas in the morning...funny huh:)

Vikis Kitchen said...

Prathiba: Yes dear, non sticks are not for crispy dosas. They are good for uthappams and soft dosas.
Suparna: ha ..ha..ha...what to do dear! I think I can attempt for a PhD in dosa:) The most common dosa was a challenge for me some years ago:)

Vikis Kitchen said...

Deepa: No dear. I really mean it.
Ms.Chitchat: I too love that dosa in hot tava after switching off. I reserve that for me :)
Sayantani: Sorry for the confusion dear. Rice washed water means the water we discard after washing the raw rice. Another one is the excess water we drain after cooking the rice. Both works fine. Just stock this water in a wide vessel and immerse the tava overnight in that water. As I didn't have any big vessel like that, I simply poured that drained water over the tawa and left it for a day:)

Priya Suresh said...

Crispy dosas are alwaysmy favourite, makes me nostalgic..

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, appreciate it.