Masala Dosa (Potato-Filled Rice-and-Lentil Crepe) Recipe

Masala Dosa (Potato-Filled Rice-and-Lentil Crepe) Recipe

[Photograph and video: Vicky Wasik]

These crisp lentil-and-rice crepes filled with spiced potatoes are an iconic Indian dish. Ubiquitous throughout southern India, this is the dish that comes to most people's minds when they think of a "dosa." The hearty potato filling is both spicy and sweet, playing up the crepe's sour tang. Roasted chana dal and cashews run throughout the filling for bites of nutty crunch.

Why It Works

  • Seasoning the potato-boiling water ensures that the potato masala will be perfectly seasoned throughout.
  • Frying the spices in oil develops their aromatic flavor and infuses the oil.
  • Oil-toasting the cashews and chana dal adds crispy texture to the filling.
  • A touch of sugar balances the flavors of the spice and chili.
  • Yield:About 16 (10-inch) stuffed dosa
  • Active time: 1 hour
  • Total time:1 hour (excluding time to make the batter)

Ingredients

  • 5 medium russet potatoes (about 43 ounces; 1.2kg), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the filling
  • 2 tablespoons (24g) sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 cup ghee or neutral oil, such as vegetable, peanut, or canola (3 1/2 ounces; 100g), plus additional ghee for cooking the dosa
  • 1 medium onion (about 9 1/2 ounces; 265g), thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (3g) black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) chana dal (yellow lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • 1 Thai green chili, split (about 5g)
  • 1/3 cup toasted cashews (1.8 ounces; 50g)
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 ounce; 28g), chopped
  • 1 recipe dosa batter
  • Coconut Chutney, for serving

Directions

  1. 1.

    Add 2 quarts (1.9L) water to a large saucepan. Add potatoes, kosher salt, 1 tablespoon (12g) sugar, and 2 tablespoons (28g) vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Spread into an even layer, then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon (14g) vinegar.

  2. 2.

    In a large saucepan, combine ghee (or oil) and onion and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove onions and set aside, then return ghee to pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and chana dal, cooking until dal is toasted, about 5 minutes. Add turmeric, red chili, asafetida, green chili, and cashews and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add cooked potatoes, remaining 1 tablespoon (12g) sugar, cilantro, browned onions, and 3/4 cup (180ml) water. Simmer until filling ingredients have combined and a light sauce has formed. Add salt to taste.

  3. 3.

    Cooking the Dosa: Preheat a 10-inch cast iron griddle over medium heat. (If your griddle is well seasoned, then no cooking oil will be necessary; if it's not, add 1 teaspoon/5ml neutral oil to the griddle once it's preheated.) Using a 1/4-cup measure or 2-ounce ladle, pour batter onto center of griddle. Using the bottom of the measuring cup or ladle, spread batter, using circular motions, until it thinly covers the entire griddle bottom. Cook until the surface of the dosa is just set, about 1 minute. Brush or drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15ml) melted ghee. Continue cooking until bottom of dosa is golden brown and edges are crisp, about 4 minutes longer. Top each dosa with 1/2 cup of the warm potato masala. Roll each dosa and serve right away with coconut chutney.