Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thakkali Dosai

While in college, most of us who carried lunch box from home could not hope to have any food in the box by the lunch hour. My boarder friends did not mind if it were just plain curd rice or a meal that they had partaken for their morning breakfast. But they were always generous to offer to buy us food from the canteen so we do not go hungry. Sometimes there would be requests for certain tiffin that went in and we would have to plead with my mother and aunt to pack a few extra. I am sure this was the scenario with most of whom were day scholars.
During those years, most times we preferred to eat the rice, meant for the afternoon meal and pack what was for the morning tiffin, just to impress friends and pay for it by having to go without eating seven out of ten times. But it did not matter and someone will always be willing to share a portion so we may not starve.
Most popular requests I might have had include puri-masal, thavala dosai, rawa dosai (however dry it was by mid morning), bandli maavu, puli aval and this thakkali dosai. Many of the above were my favourites too that I make them often. Our Velamma Aaya will go shopping vegetables for my mother and pick up nice and plump tomatoes that were firm and fresh. My mother would make a few dishes with tomatoes; tomatoes were regular addition to the rasam. When the tomatoes were so many and we had to finish them, she would find as many dishes to add them in. One such recipe is Thakkali dosai, nicely coloured shade of pale red and soft dosais were a treat. Slight variation to the measurements of the rice and dhal, you may have a crisp dosai too. Amma has even made this with shorgum and millet. This recipe here is the regular rice - dhal - tomato one.

Thakkali Dosai

Makes 15 dosais
The cup measures below are 200 ml
1 heaped cup parboiled rice ( I use Ponni idli rice)
1 heaped cup raw rice ( Kolam, Sona Mansuri or Thai Jasmine rice)
1/2 level cup urad dhal ( whole, husk removed)
3 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
8 to 10 medium ripe tomatoes
4 green chillis
4 dry red chillis
1"piece ginger (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil for drizzle

Wash and soak both rices together for a few hours.
Soak the fenugreek seeds separately in a little water. Allow the fenugreek to soak for so long as the rice.
It is my practice to soak the urad dhal for a lesser duration than the rice; hence I soak the urad dhal an hour before I plan to grind the batter.
I use my wet grinder to grind the batter. I have noticed that if I drop pieces of tomatoes and the chillis, some pieces get stuck between the roller stones and the walls of the drum, hindering the grinding process. Thus, I run the tomatoes and chillis together in the blender to a pulp, adding water if necessary. I grind the batter using up this tomato chilli liquid and if needed some more water.
If you do the grinding of the batter in the mixer, then this step above can be skipped.
Once the rices and dhal have been soaked, we are ready to grind.
First, drop the fenugreek seeds in the grinder, run it for a few minutes adding little water. The fenugreek will grind well to a froth. Now add the soaked urad dhal and continue grinding.
Add little of the tomato juice at a time and grind the urad to a fluffy batter. Grinding for about 20- 25 minutes will give a smooth and fluffy urad batter.
Transfer the above ground urad to a fairly big utensil.
Now grind the rice adding the tomato juice and more water if required, to a smooth batter.
Transfer the rice to the utensil, mix well to combine the dhal and rice. Add the salt and mix well.
Allow the batter to ferment for 8 hours or overnight.
To make the dosais, heat the pan (iron griddle/ non stick tawa), pour the batter and spread in a circular shape using the ladle. (My griddle is 28"in diameter and I tend to spread the batter almost to the edge)
Drizzle a spoon of oil around and allow to cook.
Flip it over after a few minutes and cook the other side.
Remove from the griddle once both sides have been cooked and transfer to the serving dish.
Serve with chutney of your choice and sambhar.
The batter can be refrigerated and used when required. It is best to use fermented batter quickly, within three days.
This recipe above uses a little higher quantity of urad dhal in order to make soft doasis, which is how my husband prefers his dosais to be.
For crisp dosais, reduce the urad dhal to a third of a cup, alter the rice ratio upping the raw rice and reducing the parboiled rice.
If you are making reduced quantities, you may soak all of them together and grind in one shot.
I have a few variations to this recipe and make them only with raw rice, dhal and tomatoes - no fermentation required and such. It is easy to experiment with the batter and adjust to suit individual tastes.



  1. Wow.. THis is a MUST try.. WOnder if it would work with home canned tomato paste.. (Tomatoes aren't yet in season, and I don't want to wait!

    1. I do not see why it will not work. I have made the tomato pulp and used it raw. Possibly yours has been boiled down, which only makes it even more colourful!

  2. Wow I am so hungry looking at the tempting red tomato dosais that I would love to grab them and have a quick go.

  3. This looks delicious !! I can imagine the flavors bursting in each bite of this dosai :)

  4. Never had thakalli dosai. Curious to know how it would taste .

  5. With a dosa-pattar(read kuttu) at home, i m always looking for a dosa recipe!!! love that color it gives to the dosa!!!


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