Vanakaam Thosai. A recipe for Coconut Dosa.

Broken HeartedIt seems that more than the earth is erupting, moving, shaking, changing. Around me, lives are changing too. Businesses are closing. Businesses are in rapid growth phases. People are moving, upwardly or downwardly mobile. Others are changing careers, and not just jobs. Relationships are beginning. Relationships are failing.

It’s the last one that makes me the sad. I mean really sad. The closeness and bonding that can occur when two people allow it, work at it, maintain and sustain it, is a special thing. A most wonderful thing that cannot be broken overnight. Physical separation does not sever that bond — we only fully realise how connected we are to someone when we leave.

It is not that I judge the people involved, or want to talk of the rightness or wrongness of any relationship or breakup. I sigh for them, for both of them, I send acres of love to both of them, because I have seen the journey that is ahead. There is such pain in the withdrawal of that bond.

As my heart breaks for the people of Japan, so it breaks this week for the 3 friends whose relationships are erupting, moving, shaking, changing.

Autumn Onions

Life is changing here too. Most prominent is the change in the seasons and the desire for different foods, different activities and different ways of being.

Yet in the midst of change, it is the familiar that keeps us sane. The routines and habits, the foods and company, the jokes and the intimate shared understanding of the journey of change. It is the mindful undertaking of the day to day-ness of our lives. Cleaning the car and the bathroom. Sewing the button on the school uniform. Repairing and renovating the furniture. Picking the olives. Sharing a glass of wine with a friend. Remembering the most important things about this life at this time on this earth.

And there is nothing more representative, more symbolic of this mindfulness than the making of dosa. A journey in itself.

The Mindfulness of Dosa

There must be a lakh of dosa variations. At its simplest and most traditional, it is a naturally fermented rice-based batter that is cooked on a flat pan and eaten like a flatbread with wet spicy dishes and spicy chutneys.

Today, not all dosa (thosai) are fermented. But I love the mindfulness of making fermented ones. One evening you take some rice and lentils and soak them overnight. The next morning after rinsing, you grind them to a paste, adding water to make a batter. You leave this batter for 12 or 18 or 24 hours until it is fermenting nicely.

Then you make the dosa in a very special way. Add a ladleful of batter to a heated pan. Using that flat-bottomed ladle, start in the middle, and using a circular motion, ease the batter out to form a thin, flat, pancake-style flatbread. This process is the most wonderful way to cook.

Cook until slightly browned and flip (or not, according to the recipe) and repeat on the reverse side.  You now have 1 dosa, at least 24 hours in the making. Serve with curries of your choice (in the West) or the traditional dosa accompaniments of your region (in India and throughout SE Asia).

Coconut Dosa

Notes on the Recipe

First let me say that I am not an expert dosa cook. I love dosa from the bottom of my heart. I have one Indian restaurant close-by where I only eat dosa, it is so good. But dosa making is an art. Yes indeed. I love to make them but I have a way to go before perfection comes to me.

This dosa is a simple one but ultimately delicious. If, like me, you don’t have fresh coconuts in your garden :), you can get good, frozen, shredded coconut meat in any Indian grocery. Also check your supermarket if it is enlightened and stocks a range of foods for Asian, Indian and/or Island (Fiji, Philippines etc) cuisines.

While the original recipe does not call for fermentation — you can cook these after grinding — I find that allowing the batter to sit for 8 hours or so will improve the flavours.

If you are making dosa for the first time, be prepared to throw several attempts away. It happens, even to experienced dosa makers. Be careful of the pan that you use. Traditionally it is a heavy, flat-ish tawa or round pan without edges, capable of sitting directly over a fire. These days, non-stick pans are recommended. You will find both at your Indian grocer.

I began by using a non-stick pan, and it certainly is easy to make dosa this way. But I have shifted to the tawa, now that it is properly seasoned. Somehow the taste is different when the dosa is cooked on a tawa. I would be interested in any comments and experiences people have had with different pans.

There are many YouTube videos on how to cook dosa. Enjoy!

I like the videos from Show Me the Curry. In this one, they make an Oats Dosa. Go to around the 7 minute mark to see the method of cooking dosa on the tawa.

Arun Shanbhag @arunshanbhag reminded me he has a video of commercial dosa making. It is great to watch.

One chutney that would go beautifully with this is a fresh, Pineapple Khatta Chutney. Or take some raw mangoes and dice. Mix with fresh black pepper, green chillies, onion, lime juice, ginger, salt and a touch of excellent white vinegar. Yum, enjoy.

Coconut Dosa

Coconut Dosa / Thosai

Source : inspired by Dosa Dhamaka by Sudha Chandrakant
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 10 mins plus time for soaking and fermentation
Cooking time: a few mins per dosa
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

1 cup raw rice
1 cup grated coconut (use frozen if fresh is not available)
salt to taste

Soak the rice in plenty of water overnight or 8 – 12 hours. Strain and rinse the rice.

Grind the rice along with the coconut and sufficient water to make a medium density batter. Grind in an Indian grinder if you have one, or in a blender otherwise. If using a blender, allow to blend for some time, to get the smoothest batter that you can.

Allow the batter to sit for about 10 minutes. You can cook the dosa at this point. Alternatively, I like to leave the batter to sit during the day and make the dosa in the evening. It will have some fermentation at this point, making the dosa lighter and more flavoursome. (Fermentation adds that very slight sour tang, in a similar way that sour dough bread has a tang from its fermenting dough.)

You need to add salt. If you are cooking the dosa immediately, add it while or after you are grinding the batter. If you are letting the batter sit, add it about 30 – 60 minutes before using. Salt inhibits fermentation, so it is best to add it afterwards.

Heat a tawa or flat pan. Take a flat-bottomed ladle and add a ladle of batter to the center of the pan. With the bottom of the ladle, and starting in the centre, use a circular motion to spread the batter, aiming for a medium-thin result. Typically, it is not a uniform thinness, but rather the dosa develops some “roads” or markings following the tracks of the ladle. Here, practice makes perfect.

Drizzle a few drops of melted ghee over the dosa and around the edges. When it is cooked and slightly browned, flip it over for a few moments to cook the other side.

Remove from the pan and fold gently in halves. Serve with wet curries, or some sambar and chutney.

Leftover batter can be kept either at room temperature for a day or so (it will continue fermenting and the sour tang will develop more) or in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook the dosa, to allow it to return to room temperature.

You can double the recipe if you want enough batter for a few days.

I am sending this to Srivalli of Cooking for All Seasons for her Breakfast Mela.

Thank you for the invitation, Srivalli.

I am already looking forward to the Breakfast Mela roundup.

The Bread Series

More Cooking, Food and Recipes:

Daikon (Mooli) Radish Salad Beetroot Halwa Tempting 10 Seasonal Cooking Tempting again in June Sesame Cucumber Salad Recipe Indian Custard Recipe Butter Glazed Apples Recipe Semi Dried Tomatoes with Pomegranate Recipe Tempting Links 3 These Months in Review Play nice with Rice

About Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.
This entry was posted in 04 Mid Autumn, Bread, Breakfast, Indian, Lentils - Grains - Rice - Nuts, Vegan, VEGETARIAN and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Vanakaam Thosai. A recipe for Coconut Dosa.

  1. Srivalli says:

    How beautiful it you say I love dosa from the bottom of my heart!..remember how dosa mela had your entry as first!…:) send it for the Breakfast mela if you can..

    • Ganga108 says:

      Hi Srivalli, thank you for your lovely comment. I am just a beginner dosa maker in the grand scheme of things. But I DO remember your Dosa Mela and lakhs of entries!!! Haha, lol. Off this goes to the Breakfast Mela.

  2. Siri says:

    So true about what you said about *change* Ganga. :-). We are moving back to India in less than 15 days leaving everything that we have built over 5-6 years. I am both excited and apprehensive about this change. Hope it all turns out good, after all family comes first. :-)

    I am gonna try this coconut dosai as I always end up making regular dosa most of the times. coconut is in the chutney never in the dosa itself. ;-).

    take care and hoping the lives of your 3 friends would be peaceful again, real soon.

    • Ganga108 says:

      I know that you will be fine, Siri. It’s such a big move, isn’t it. Wow. But family is everything. Good luck, I wish you well, take it easy and slowly, and stick to those important routines. Love to you and your family.

      • Siri says:

        Thank you. :-) As soon as we were out of the ship, we heard about the Hindu temple in Kaui. But the plans for Waimea Canynon were already set by then, so couldn’t go to the temple. heard a lot about it though. Do you have a picture of it Ganga? Would love to see it. hugs.


  3. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Porbably a Lakh will also be a little for this humble Dosas from South India :) And I love all the version of it! Coconut dosa reminds me of something similar to the Appam batter. But this one has come out crisp and need a quick try.
    Love the 3rd click. Makes me eat it right from the screen.

  4. I remember you gave me advice on making dosa over twitter a while back, but I still haven’t tried it. It’s nice to have read your more detailed instructions. I really must give it a go!

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  7. anhsfoodblog says:

    i have yet fallen in love with dosa, and I blamed it on my addiction to naan and roti :). I will try this someday, but would love to have a taste first to know the right texture!

    • Ganga108 says:

      Its worth trying them before you make them, altho restaurants usually make very crispy ones. Most home made dosa are a softer type. Ask any Sth Indian friend if she will make you some.

  8. Awesome! More dosas.

    We need bumper stickers which say: Make Dosas, Not War!

    here is my video of making Dosas from the Kamat’s Restaurant in Mumbai.

  9. Simran says:

    Thanks for stopping by! On your question – you don’t need to cover the limes with juice. 1/3rd covered seems just about right for when you first make the pickle. The water/juice content will go up after the limes spend a few days out in the sun.

  10. littlehealthjunkie says:

    I absolutely LOVVVEE E your blog!! I found you while doing a google search on chickpeas and ended up spending 20 minutes reading all 3 of your chickpea posts. they’re so informative!! This coconut dosa sounds superb too, such an easy blend of ingredients yet so exotic; I love it! Thanks for such a great blog, I look forward to continue reading it!

  11. Mr. Orlando says:

    I love your blog, but the thing is every time I read it I get so hungry!!! haha

  12. Lubna Karim says:

    That’s an yum dosa….i totally agree with u on dosa making…it’s really an art….

  13. Amanda says:

    Lovely blog with some gorgeous photo’s – thanks for sharing.

  14. Sarah says:

    I always learn something new on your blog. Unfortunately I don’t have a place to buy dosa in my area but maybe its time I learn how to make them at home. Thank you for the recipe.

  15. I love your blog…. love the dosa pictures in this post
    My first visit here, stop by mine when u get a chance:)

  16. Martine says:

    I have never tried Dosa with coconut, nor did I know it was an option. Thanks for the heads up. One day I hope to try it out.

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  21. Thank you Ganga. I like your writeup on the Mindfulness of Dosas.
    And you are likely correct about the lakh variations about dosas, as we are very inventive about our dosas. Just last night M mixed some cut up collard greens in a batter mean’t for something else, and laid out some pancakes. They turned out delicious and I remarked, “Next time you do this, lets take a few pics and call it collard green dosas.” :-)

    Happy Holidays.

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