Monday, September 14, 2009

A Tastey Vegan Meal.....

For someone who currently has over 300 lbs of beautiful Canadian 4H beef in her freezer you might find this menu choice to be a little unexpected. This vegan meal idea for Dosas was complements of the September Cooks Challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Debyi from healthy vegan kitchen it was a super idea to make Dosas....and once again I am reminded of why I joined the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks to begin with. For a look at some other great Dosas from other Daring Cooks click here.
This recipe challenge created some controversy within the Daring Cooks forum as well, due to the fact that the challenge was to create this dish entirely vegan. The point had been made by one member that making the challenge vegan was hypocritical. Since the atmosphere of all previous challenges has been quite tollerant of dietary needs, and beliefs, I too did take note of the not quite so even playing field. To my mind, it was most definitley a double standard and I could believe that there would be those who could be offended at being forced to prepare a vegan meal in order to meet the challenge requirements. After all, this challenge was meant to be a meal, not a side dish. Each month when the challenges are announced, there are always substitutions allowed within the recipe to accommodate members who have diet restrictions due to religious, ethical or health reasons. The same courtesy should have been extended in this challenge.....but was not. Fortunately my family had no issue with the preparation of a vegan meal so we were off to the races.
When I first saw the recipe announced last month, I was excited. We love Indian food! I was then perplexed by the odd recipe provided for the making of the dosa themselves. After some investigation I determined that the recipe provided was not a traditional method. I think, but I'm not certain, that the recipe provided is supposed to be more convenient than making traditional dosas. After comparing the recipe provided with more traditional ones I decided to go with the traditional preparation. I mean....if I'm going to the bother of trying something new.....I think I'd like to know what it is supposed to taste like before I go and alter it so significantly. I was a little worrried as there had been some comments concerning the difficulty is preparing them the traditional way. It turned out to be nothing to worry about as they turned out absolutely beautifully and easily, not sure what all the fuss was about there?? They had a bit of a crunchy texture to them which was due to the amount you chose to blend the rice and dal while making the batter. We were also allowed to vary the filling and I chose to make an Aloo Matar filling of potato and peas rather than the chick pea filling which sounded texturally not as appealing to me. The Coconut Curry Sauce sounded tasty and I did make that and we liked it very much.
If you'd care to try it are the two recipes that I tried. The challenge recipes for the chick pea filling and other dosa recipe will follow at the end of this post as well as the yummy sauce recipe.


  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 cup skinless split urad daal (skinless black gram)
  • 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • Wash the rice and urad daal well. Add the fenugreek seeds to the mix and fill enough water in the rice-daal bowl to cover them about 2" deep. Soak overnight.
  • The next morning, drain all the water from the rice and urad daal. Now put some in a food processor and grind - adding very little water if necessary - to a smooth yet slightly grainy paste.
  • When all the rice-daal mix is ground like this, put it into a large mixing bowl and add enough water to make a batter. The consistency of the batter should be such that it thickly coats a spoon dipped in it.
  • Now add salt to taste and keep the Dosa batter aside in a warm, dark spot, covered, for 6-8 hours. After this fermentation, stir the batter well. It is now ready to make Dosas.
  • Put some cooking oil in a small bowl and keep ready. You will also need a bowl of ice cold water, a large, flat nonstick pan, 2 sheets of paper towel, a ladle, a spatula and a basting brush.
  • Fold one sheet of paper towel into a wad and dip lightly into the bowl of cooking oil. Squeeze out any excess and then rub the paper towel all over the surface of the pan to grease. The correct amount of oil is such that it is barely visible on the pan. Now turn on the heat/ flame at medium high.
  • Fill the ladle upto the 3/4 level with Dosa batter. Gently pour this batter onto the center of the pan - just as you would for a pancake - till the ladle is empty.
  • Now begin to spread the batter in sweeping circular motions to form a pancake of roughly 8" diameter. Do not be alarmed if the Dosa develops tiny holes as you spread the batter. This is normal.
  • As soon as you have finished spreading the batter out on the pan, dip the basting brush in cooking oil and drizzle the oil all over the surface of the dosa and also around its edges. Now hold the pan by its handle, lift up and swirl it so as to make the drizzled oil spread all over the Dosa.
  • When the upper surface begins to look cooked (it will no longer look soft or runny), flip the Dosa. By this time, ideally, the surface that was underneath should be light golden in color. Allow to cook for 1 minute after flipping.
  • The Dosa is almost done. Fold it in half and allow to cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Before you start making the next Dosa, fold another sheet of paper towel into a wad and dip it in ice cold water. Squeeze the wad to remove excess water and then rub it all over the surface of the pan to cool it slightly. This ensures your next Dosa will spread evenly and not break because the pan is too hot. Now proceed as you did for the last Dosa.
Aloo Matar Filling (Potato and Peas)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions chopped finely
1 T ginger and garlic paste
1 bay leaf
4 large potatoes, peeled, cooked and chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in wok over medium heat. Stir in onions, ginger garlic paste and bay leaf and cook until onion is tender. Add in potatoes and peas. Cook 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir in tomato, garam masala, sugar , salt and paprika. Cook 10 minutes and garnish with cilantro.

Recipes Supplied by the Challenge Host are....

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.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.
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.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.
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.


Lolah said...

I like your traditional dosas. A great job!

Olive said...

I like this dosas too. I'm not familiar with the dish so I have nothing to compare it with but mine turned our delicious but I heard the real one (non-vegan) taste even better.

You did really well on yours..

I love being a part of Daring Cooks too :)


Olga said...

Your final dish looks great.
And if you need any help getting rid of all the beef you have, please let me know :)

marilu perez said...

Your dosas looks great!
I love the presentation!