Crafted this crispy crepe (closest term to a dosa) with my mother-in-law last weekend. In an awkward Western blender, one designed just for smoothies and not for dal (aka split lentils), we ground up equal parts of moong, chana, and urad dals that had sat and soaked together in a bowl for a few hours. Adding just drops of water at a time and using an upside-down spatula like a broomstick in a cauldron, the dals churn into a mass of chalky grit, almost resembling a pot of polenta.
Pinches of spices, more like punches of flavor are spooned into the blender: raw onion, garlic, ginger, and fresh from the garden cayenne peppers and curry leaves. Now the polenta is green. And rather than evoking scenes of the Italian countryside, you may find yourself in the busy streets of Chennai or a tiny home kitchen in Andhra Pradesh.
On an old-fashioned dosa pan, or a large non-stick surface, the viscous batter is ladled out and simultaneously flattened in an outward circular fashion, as if drawing a spiral shape on paper without leaving any space in between the curves.
Any assortment of coarsely chopped bright veggies will do, but cilantro and chilies are a must. We tore up cilantro, shredded carrots, and diced a yellow onion. Sprinkled the toppings on the dosa, folded it like an omelet into thirds and served it up with a South Indian style coconut chutney.