Monday, September 14, 2009

Daring Cooks September Challenge

Apart from crafting, I also really love to cook. That's precisely why I am the size I am now, instead of what I was 4 years ago.
In order to challenge my cooking abilities and to learn new things to tease the palate with: I joined the beautiful bunch over at Daring Kitchen where monthly challenges are given out by different hosts.

For september, we were given the challenge of making Indian Dosas. According to Wikipedia, the dosa is a crepe made from rice and black lentils. Typically a South Indian dish, it is eaten for breakfast or dinner. You can read more about the origins of the Indian Dosa by clicking on the Wikipedia link.

First, the recipe:

Indian Dosas
This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting

Serves 4

Equipment needed:
large bowl
griddle or skillet
ladle (or large spoon)
vegetable peeler &/or knife
large saucepan
food processor or bean masher

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced

Dosa Pancakes
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.

5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.

So first we have the ingredients. Pictured is most of the fresh ingredients:

I didn't actually end up using both onions. I'm not a huge fan of onions and found that the 1 massive onion was quite enough to fulfill both recipes that required it.

Most of the cooking time was taken up by the preparation time. Here you see some of the ingredients all chopped up.

I also added potato into the mix of ingredients for the Dosa filling. I had one lonely potato rolling in the fridge and it is a well known fact that potatoes and curries go really well together, so in it went. I was very lucky as I had a helper on hand to help me with the preparation and chopping of ingredients. It would have taken twice as long! As it were, preparing and cooking took me a full 1.5 hours. But I had fun while doing it, stopping to steal the occasional cucumber slice off the plate as well.

I must also admit to being a somewhat spontaneous cook. I am not one to stick to measurements strictly and after trying to shake out a tablespoon worth of grounded cumin, I decided to forget about the measurements and go with my tastebuds. It worked beautifully.

I also added about three times the recommended amount of curry powder into the Coconut curry sauce as before that it merely tasted of coconut milk and nothing else. I was unable to find grated coconut so I left that out as well. And since this was lunch and we don't generally have a heavy lunch, I also left out the rice.

And the result?

The Dosa stuffing was incredibly yummy and I will definitely be doing that again with more variations to it for future dinners. The coconut curry sauce was amazing even with other dishes, we still have a bowlful in our fridge waiting for tonight's dinner! The next time I do this, I'd probably lessen the ingredients for the sauce as it produced way too much for even 4 people, and increase the ingredients for the pancakes by about 3 times as I ended up making three seperate batches due to the pancakes not being quite sufficient. And no, I didn't 'go with the wind' with the measurements for the pancakes, so I definitely am not sure how you are supposed to conjure 8 pancakes out of the rather little mix!

My verdict: A success! I love this, and will definitely do this again. I do believe my lunch guest agrees with me as well!



  1. Oooh I love dosa, yours look so yummy! I find in restaurants normally they have SO MUCH ghee on them, trying to make some myself sounds like a good idea!

  2. Thanks Celeste - now I'm a hungry bunny!

  3. I think the trick to the pancakes was to thin them out as much as possible, rather than the thickness they want to be, which is that of a regular pancake.

    I'm with you with the spontaneous cookery. Sometimes it works out brilliantly. Other times I find that I have to learn how to cook properly before I go all crazy :) hehe

  4. What a beautiful job on your dosas, and the addition of potato is something I wish I used! Lovely photos too!

  5. Your dosas look great! I agree with you though we have tons of left over sauce, I'm going to spoon it over rice for tonight's dinner!

    Great job!

  6. I am not one to measure either. It shows you have a natural instinct for cooking. Excellent job on the challenge.


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