Monday, September 14, 2009

Sep 14: Daring Cooks Go Vegan - Dosas for All!

This month's Daring Cook Challenge is brought to us by Debyi from Healthy Vegan Kitchen.

Debyi wanted to choose something that could be easily adapted for our GF'ers (Gluten-Free Bakers and Cooks) and other Alternative Cooks, as well as still being tasty for everyone else. So, she finally decided on Indian Dosas from the cookbook Refresh by Ruth Tal.

Dosas are Indian crepes made without eggs. Traditionally, the dosas are made from ground grain and water that's been allowed to ferment overnight (leavening?). This process is reminiscent of Ethiopian flatbread known as Injera. For our challenge, the dosas will use baking powder instead of an overnight fermentation step.

The only requirement is the dish must be free of animal products, this will be a challenge for you “regular” cooks out there, but its worth it. So that means, no cows milk, butter, meat, poultry, fish, chicken/beef broth, etc.

Cooking a vegan meal is pretty simple. Just don't use any animal products so the challenge of this recipe is making the dosas.

The ingredients lined up and ready to go... So far it's a knife skills session which I always enjoy.

Indian Dosas
This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting.

Serves 4 [I don't know... I would estimate it would serve 6 as a main course and 8 to 12 as an appetizer]

I started with the filling and the curry sauce. The dosas were made last so they'd be fresh and hot off the cooker. :-)

Dosa Filling - Curried Garbanzos
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

The veg and spices...

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.

Borrowing a Thai red curry technique, I skimmed to tablespoons of coconut cream off the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk. The coconut cream was the "oil" used to cook the veg.

After the veg has softened... in go the spice for a mixing

2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

I tried to mash the garbanzos by hand, but they were too firm. I ended up using a food processor to break down the beans to a coarse chop. Since the liquid content seemed low, from this point on, the cooking was done at medium-low so the beans can heat thoroughly. I added vegetable stock when needed..

Dosa Topping - 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 [used GF flour]
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

[No pictures were taken for this portion of the challenge.]
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.

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour [I went with 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 [I used soy milk]
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

The basic ingredients for the dosa. I had gluten-free flour so I went vegan and gluten-free for the challenge.

1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond [soy] 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.

Initially, I used a large non-stick pan, but I couldn't get the swirl down before the batter set.
My first attempt at a dosa turned into a Rorschach inkblot.

I opted for a smaller non-stick pan (6" diameter) which allowed me to form a nice circle.

After using my fingers to peel and flip the dosas, I remembered that the I've seen people making injera using a skewer to loosen and flip the flatbread. I used a toothpick to loosen the dosa and my fingers to peel and flip.

Makes 8 pancakes [I was able to get 12 pancakes using a 6" non-stick saute pan]

Dosa Toppings - Others

¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced

There was no set way to plate... so I rolled the dosa like an enchilada and another like a taco.

The final plate...
The enchilada and taco combination... topped with curry sauce, sliced cucumber and unsweetened dehydrated coconut flakes.

A bit of Dosa. Yum!

Being playful with my plating... Deconstructed Dosa.

Overall, a fun and straight-forward challenge. Easy-Peasy... Shhh... Don't tell Debyi. :-)
I mean... I slaved all day making the dosas, fillings and toppers.

The curry (sauce and filling) had a nice curry flavor that wasn't overpowering... In fact, I was thinking I could have added jalapeno for extra heat. The flavors were familiar like a curried lentil soup.

The dosas crepes turned out very nice - soft and mildly flavored with a hint of curry powder. Also, I learned something new! Hard to imagine there is no egg in the crepe.

The recipe for curry sauce and curried garbanzos made a big batch.
Next day, a soup was made using a 1 to 1 ratio of sauce to garbanzo filling.

Garnished with Dosa "noodles", red bell pepper (for texture and a little sweetness), shredded coconut and cucumbers (for texture and coolness).

A tasty soup without being overwhelmed by the curry. :-)


chef_d said...

Wow, looks very yummy!

Simon said...

Interesting rearrangement with the final shot.

I found I ended up with my own inkblot dosa too while trying to get the cooking technique for then down pat.

Anna said...

Your dosas look great! Love the photos :) I also think it was for more than 4 people... I'm also all curry now - have all those spices left and have tio use them somehow ;)

Olive said...

your dosas look great, I love how detailed your post is, you even included what you've done with the excess filling and sauce

Cheri said...

Great chopping skills. :) What an interesting idea to saute the veg in the coconut milk "skin", and I would never have thought to make soup with the leftovers. Kudos!

Mary Bergfeld said...

You've done a wonderful job with this challenge. Your photos are a great tutorial. I hope you enjoyed the dosas.

Lauren said...

Love the deconstructed dosa!! So gorgeous =D.

Anonymous said...

WOW, they really do look like enchiladas. If you served that to me, that's what I would think..but then I would taste curry and go..hrmmmm. LOL I'm not a huge curry fan as you can tell. In any event - beatifully executed, plated, photographed and all that good stuff :)

Audax said...

John as always a great series of photos. Love the deconstructed dosas. Good idea to use the oil on top of the coconut cream. Beautiful dosas. OBTW love the potato skins great idea will try it soon. Cheers from Audax in Australia

isa said...

Your dosas came out perfectly! I love your step-bystep photos.
I hope your enjoyed the dosas and the challenge.