Monday, September 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge: Vegan Indian Dosas

This month's Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Debyi from The Healthy Vegan Kitchen. She chose a vegan version of Indian Dosas.

Dosas are essentially Indian crepes. Traditionally, they're made with rice and black lentils, but the recipe we used called for spelt flour instead. The challenge was also to make your dish vegan.

The requirements: Must be free of animal products, this will be a challenge for you “regular” cooks out there, but its worth it. So that means, no cows milk, butter, meat, poultry, fish, chicken/beef broth, etc. This dish is also 99% oil free, using only what you need to keep the dosas from sticking (I used a quick spritz of cooking spray on the first dosa only), which isn't too bad with a nonstick pan. You can use a different filling/sauce if you like, but it must be free of animal products.
This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but many are used multiple times over the three parts.

Daring Cooks September Challenge

Curried Garbanzo Filling

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.

The Verdict: The filling was very good. I used only a fraction of the salt since I used canned beans, but even if you soak your I think you'd only want a tablespoon if the size of your rock salt mimicked sugar cubes.

Coconut Curry Sauce

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.

The Verdict: This recipe is HUGE. I'm going to have enough leftover sauce to put on rice for the next seven weeks. The sauce can be frozen, though the texture might be a little different when it's thawed. It should still taste good though! We both really liked this.

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

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.

The Verdict: I don't know where exactly I went wrong, but my dosas were more like don'tsas. Firstly, I think the spelt flour I found wasn't the same as what you might find in the US. It was a bit coarser and that led to a very lumpy thick batter. I ladled 2 tablespoons of batter and had a TEENY dosa, so I poured a bit more in and that didn't work out too well.

Disasterous Dosa!

After that debacle, I decided to thin out the batter with a little more soy milk and water. That worked a little bit better, but I still don't know how two tablespoons of batter like the recipe calls for was making the nice big dosas that other people making the recipe were coming up with. They ended up tasting just alright, but I think if I do try to make them again I'm either going to try the traditional way of making them or use regular flour. Make sure your pan is HOT, not just medium warm too.

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

Fill the dosas with the filling. Ladle a bit of sauce over the dosas, and sprinkle with coconut. Garnish with cucumber, and serve with rice if you like.

The Entire Verdict: I'd try this again, but I'd use a different recipe for the dosas. I would probably suggest halving the sauce and filling unless you want leftovers. Since my dosas were so tiny, I didn't fill them with the filling. Instead I served it over rice and had the dosas on the side.

Daring Cooks September Challenge


ryan said...

Hey Kim,

I didn't know you could buy Western Family in the Netherlands.

Amy said...

Oh my goodness! That looks so good! I think I am going to try eventually. Yummy! Also, I think you are swell, so I have given you an award a few days ago. Just swing by my blog and pick it up!

Meal Planning with Connie said...

Kudos to you for trying all these recipes!! It looks like you are having a great time with this project!! Thanks for sharing your adventures!!

Many blessings ~ Connie

anh said...

I think the original recipe might use white spelt? Anyway, I didn’t follow the measurement in terms of water. I just added enough to make the batter as thin as crepe batter…

I like the recipe though! :D

lau said...

Love your photo and cucumber slices. What do you use to make them?

4 Lettre Words said...

It turned out really beautiful in the end!

I know it was tasty, too...I can almost smell it from that photo...

thamarai said...

looks yum..I have to admit, Dosa is a traditional south Indian dish, but even I just buy the ready made dough and make it..will try out your recipe..:)

Mary said...

I sense you are disappointed with your results. I actually like your presentation and I'm sure you enjoyed the dosas. Your photos are terrific.

Lauren said...

Wonderful job!! Your dosas look amazing =D.

Jenni said...

Great job! Your dobos look fantastic!

Sharinskishe said...

I love reading your posts! Your comment "my dosas were more like don'tsas" is so funny!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Haha, don'tsas :) Good call on not using all the salt - my filling was super salty because I didn't trust my judgment!

Anonymous said...

LOL@ Don'tsa's..that's great! Your photo of the finished plating, which is so creative (dosas on the side), is making my stomach growl, even though I didn't flip over the chickpea filling. Beautifully done all around!

Melissa said...

Looks interesting. And Delicious. Just stopping by from SITS to say hello.

Amy I. said...

Sorry to hear that your dosas didn't work quite right, but the rest of your meal looks delicious and glad to hear you enjoyed it! Great work!

Winnie said...

Your meal looks great!
As for the dosas, I used a well seasoned cast iron skillet that was very hot- maybe that would help?
I also didn't pay too much attention to the 2 Tb batter business...I agree that would make a super tiny dosa...

Angela said...

My eye also went straight to that Western Family baking powder! I used to buy a lot of WF products when I lived in the Alaskan Bush, so very very far from the Netherlands in every way.

I love your final presentation even if it's not quite as planned. Many Indian flatbreads are meant to be torn and used to pick up bites of the main dish, so why not dosas?

pigpigscorner said...

Looks so good on a bed of rice! I much prefer this with rice rather than the pancakes.

Jenn said...

Looks great! Don't worry, mine couldn't really hold anything either!

Sarah said...

"my dosas were more like don'tsas" LOL. Very impressive recipe. Sounds like something I would like!

Spotted Sparrow said...

I tried and failed to make Dosas once. Now I just wait until I'm back in the States to visit my favorite Indian store. ;-)

Good effort!

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