When feeding my baby, I’m all about recipes that can be prepared in a large batch and held in the fridge, ready to cook fresh rather than simply reheat. I love every form of pancake, from every corner of the world. Another bonus when feeding a baby, is anything that doesn’t require a spoon. The ten minutes when she feeds herself are precious to a working parent. The dosa, a South Indian crispy fermented rice and lentil pancake might be my ideal food. You eat it with your hands, it’s got tang, texture and you can feel good about every ingredient that goes into it.
Traditional dosa batters I’ve seen call for approximately 1 part lentil (urad dal) to 4 parts rice. I wanted to amp up the protein and lean into the nutritional value of the legume-y component of this dish, so I played with those proportions, lending the resulting pancake a little more body and a little less paper thin crunch than the authentic dish (Baby Red is only working with eight teeth over here, so softer is better). I make a big batch of these in the beginning of the week, and the whole family enjoys them at breakfast and snack time.
- 5 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup quick cooking brown rice (or basmati or jasmine rice)
- 1/2 cup urad dal (skinned, split lentils)
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp liquid whey/yogurt run-off (optional)
Combine 4 cups of water, the rice, and the urad dal in a large bowl. Cover and let it soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
Place rice and dal mixture, turmeric, and 1 1/2 cups fresh filtered water in a high speed blender. To kickstart fermentation, you can add the run-off from a a quart of yogurt (all the good bacteria are in there). Simply pour the liquid that pools at the top of the container into the blender. Purée until smooth (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl in the oven with the pilot light on until you start to see bubbles form at the surface and the batter becomes a bit aerated, about 24-30 hours. Maintaining a warm temperature is essential for fermentation. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
When ready to cook your dosa, mix the batter and heat a large cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of ghee to the pan and spread it over the surface. Using a ladle, pour one scoop of the batter into the center of the pan. Wait five seconds, then, using an angled rubber spatula or the edge of a fish spatula, gently coax the batter from the center out to the edges, working in a circular motion. Be gentle, you want the batter to stick to the pan, while spreading it thin (if making this for adult consumption, sprinkle a pinch of flakey se salt over the surface at this point). Let the pancake cook until the edges are golden brown and lifting away from the pan, about 4-5 minutes. Flip, lower the heat to medium low, and cook on the opposite side for 3-5 minutes, or until the pancake feels dry and crispy. Remove to a plate and serve.