Neer Dosas

Neeer Dosas with chutneys served on a banana leaf

The world of bread in India is an unending rabbit hole of textures, flavors, and preparations. Seriously. You could fill an entire year just working your way through them all. It’s a journey I would be happy to take.

Some breads you no doubt have heard of like naan and chapati. But, there are plenty of lesser-known regional varieties like litti that are hard to find locally.

Unlike the bread baskets on the tables of restaurants in the US, Indian breads are an important part of the meal, not just a filling accompaniment. Forget forks, Indian breads are usually how you get those flavors to your mouth.

While I would never refuse a fresh and piping-hot piece of naan, I do like to seek out other options when I can. My favorite non-naan? That would be a tie between chapati and dosas. But, puri are great too.

Dosas are very thin South Indian pancakes that are similar to crepes and are most commonly served with chutneys and Indian pickles as a snack. They are a favorite of mine both for their flavor and because they are a fantastic vessel for tasty vegetable tidbits, sauces, and even soups. The issue with dosas is that there are plenty of ways to make them, adding another level to that rabbit hole.

I recommend starting with the most basic version when trying something new at home. While the most familiar dosa batter is made from rice and lentils that have been fermented, a Neer Dosa is made from only 3 ingredients and is not fermented at all. This makes it much lower maintenance and a great place to start—because making dosas can take a little time and practice to get them right.

Just like their better-known cousin, neer dosas should be served with a wide variety of chutneys and pickled veggies.

Neer Dosas Recipe
Yields about 8 dosas

1 cup short or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, grated
1/2 cup water, plus more as needed.
Salt, to taste

Rinse the rice

Rinse the rice in a colander under cold running water to remove the residual starch. Transfer the rice to a bowl, and allow it to rest at room temperature (about 4 hours).

Make the batter
Transfer the rinsed and dried rice to a blender or food processor, and pulse until it is ground.

Add the coconut and 1/2 cup of the water and process to a smooth paste (about 45 seconds). The batter should be thin, runny and watery. If it isn’t, add more water to get the right consistency.

Season to taste with salt.

Cook the dosas
Lightly grease a large, round nonstick griddle or pan with oil and heat it over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles immediately when dropped on the pan.

Using a ladle, drop about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the middle of the pan quickly, while swirling the griddle with your other hand, use the ladle to spread the batter across the surface in a thin, even layer.

Cover the griddle with a large lid for 1 minute to steam the dosa.

The batter will not cook to golden brown. But rather, the dosa will be done when bubbles form all over and the surface looks like lace.

Form the dosa
Using a large offset spatula, carefully fold the edges of the dosa over to form a triangle, and transfer, bottom side up, to a plate.

Serve immediately.

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