Quinoa Dosa: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Delicious and Addictive

December 24, 2013

Because all of you have been so interested in this recipe from feedback on my Facebook Fan page (Indian As Apple Pie) I am posting it here as an early Christmas gift. I truly feel like this experiment has been a gift for me and my house. I have been trying to curb our rice consumption and substitute it in ways that make sense to our Asian upbringing and are delicious so that we never lose a flavor beat - and that means for my hubbie too. 

I'm so sorry this is not as pretty as my previous posts with pictures and such. I am in the final stretch writing book 3 "Indian For Everyone" that will be out in Fall 2014. So..have not had the time to give you as much on this site. For now, thank you for being patient with me. 

Thank you for all of your support, and enjoy this recipe that I guarantee you'll be making for years to come. 

Quinoa Dosai
South Indian “Crêpes”
Yield: 10 cups of fermented batter, makes about 40 small dosai

I am always looking for ways to up the nutritional value of my food – I think it’s something my mother ingrained in me growing up. So it only made sense to try making dosai with quinoa. Dosa is a South Indian bread traditionally made from soaked rice and lentils. The process takes time, but is very simple: soak, grind, ferment, and then cook. We'll get to the details in a second, but why not kick the rice out and add a protein-rich component (quinoa) instead? Trust me, it’s hands down delicious.

Tools: You’ll need a larger strainer, a large mixing bowl, a blender or Vitamix, a slotted spoon, a frying pan or griddle, and a wide spatula.

3 cups white or red quinoa or mixed

1 cup skinned whole or split and skinned urad dal (dhuluhui urad) (sub any fast-cooking lentil)

2 tablespoons chana dal (split gram)

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

2 cups water (room temperature), more if needed

2 teaspoons salt

Oil, for frying, set aside in a small bowl

1 large onion, peeled and halved (for prepping the pan)

1. In a large strainer, wash the quinoa, urad and chana dals, and fenugreek together. Transfer to a large bowl and add enough fresh water to cover the ingredients and soak overnight or at least 6 – 8 hours.

2. Drain and discard the water and add the soaked quinoa-lentils-fenugreek to a regular or high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Do it in 2 batches. As you are grinding it down, add in the water. You may need a tiny bit more, and if you do, add it about 1/4 cup at a time so that the batter is not too watery. 

3. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and add salt. Mix it with your hand, which unlike a metal spoon will trigger the fermentation process, which is key in a successful dosa batter. Use a 
large bowl because the batter will expand as it ferments.

4. Cover your bowl and if it's warm let it sit out at least 6 - 8 hours. If not, then heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Turn it off and a few minutes later put your bowl in there. The warmth will activate fermentation. After it sits you'll end up with a thin batter that is slightly bubbly, frothy, and slightly sour. Perfect! 

5. Heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Oil it lightly. 

6. Once the pan is hot, stick a fork into the uncut, rounded part of the half onion. Holding the fork handle, rub the cut half of the onion back and forth across your pan. The combination of the heat, the onion juices, and the oil will help prevent your dosa from sticking. Keep the onion with the inserted fork handy to use again between dosai. This is an optional step, but many South Indian friends have proven to me that it works. Keep a tiny bowl of oil on the side with a spoon, you’ll use it later. 

7. Now, finally on to the cooking! Ladle about ¼ cup of batter into the middle of the hot, prepped pan. With the back of your ladle, slowly make clockwise motions from the middle to the outer edge of the pan until it the batter becomes thin and crêpe-like. Because the quinoa dough can cook a little soft, I use slightly less batter. I often use a wide spatula to just spread the mixture out and make it as thin as possible around the edges the way they do in the restaurants. 

8. With a small spoon, pour a thin stream of oil in a circle around the outside edge of the batter.

9. Let the dosa heat until it is browns slightly and pulls away from the pan. Flip, cook the other side, and press down to ensure it cooks through. Once it is browned, serve traditionally layered with spiced potatoes and a side of sambhar or use as a gluten-free substitute for bread. This batter will last you about three days in the fridge. You can also freeze it for up to three months – which I always do with at least one part to pull out and use later. 


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