It was Pancake Day this week! One of my favourite days of the year. And although pancakes aren't strictly baked, I'm going to break the rules and write a blog post about pancakes.
When I was little and we had pancakes, my mum would always insist we ate something proper first. Which ruined it, obviously, because then we had less room for pancakes.
But when I was planning our pancake extravaganza with the boyfriend, we were looking up savoury pancake recipes when I stumbled across the masala dosa, a dish I first ate at a restaurant in Tooting, when I lived there.
This is a savoury chickpea pancake stuffed with a spicy potato mixture. It seemed like a perfect prelude to sweet pancakes and turned out to be fairly easy to make.
This recipe serves four people. Get to it!
For the dosa batter:
95g chickpea (gram) flour
125g plain flour
half tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 and a half tsp mustard seeds
olive oil, to fry
For the filling:
600g peeled floury potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
30 fresh curry leaves (apparently unobtainable in Wood Green or Finchley)
1 large onion
half tsp turmeric
3 green chillies, chopped finely
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
scant tsp salt
1. Mix together the flours for the dosa with the mustard seeds and bicarbonate of soda.
2. Make a well in the middle and pour into the water, whisking as you until a loose mixture forms. You may not need to use all the water.
3. Make the filling next. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes until tender. Drain, then lightly crush with a fork or potato masher. Put the oil in a wok or heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat. When it's hot, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Pour in 120ml of water, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until the onion softens more. Add the salt, turmeric, chillies and ginger and mix for 2 minutes. When the liquid has evaporated, add the potatoes and fold them in. See below for what the filling looks like - although this is only about a quarter of the total amount.
4. Cook the dosa by greasing the pan with oil, and heating over a medium heat. Drop some spoonfuls of batter into the pan and rotate the pan to spread it in a wide circle.
5. When bubbles start to appear in the batter and it starts to look dry, put some filling in the middle and fold over and fry for a few seconds on each side, so that the dosa is crisp.
6. Serve with mango chutney and natural yoghurt.
Delicious! But no substitute for sweet pancakes, which is why we followed it with thin, crisp crepes with sugar and lemon.
I'm already looking forward to Pancake Day next year!