Sunday, October 14, 2012

Neer dosa - delectable coastal Karnataka specialty

What is the best part about having friends from different places or travelling to different places in the world? There are many, first and foremost you make friends, you get to learn new things about different ways of life and yes there is definitely the most enticing part - food. I never shy away from asking a person for a recipe if I like it, you can even believe that I do sometimes chase people until they part with their recipes so I can recreate it in my kitchen.

We had this huge group of people in my project when I first started working many years ago. In those days (yeah, I make it sound like I am ancient but I am not, it is just that things have changed so rapidly) eating out was not the norm and even people who worked in the software industry preferred home made dabbas for the canteen or restaurant lunch. Infact, our office used to be in the city center in Bengaluru but we reserved eating out only to special occasions and occasional TGIFs. So a large group of us used to sit down together with our lunch boxes and just like in schools the boxes would go around for everyone to taste. And just like in schools, there used to be favorites and some of us would never get anything back in the dabba but some would come back with a little bit tasted :-).

One of my friends S is from Udupi region known for its distinctive flavors and yummy pickles and papads. His mom made some of the best neer dosas I have ever had. If there is a dosa I would carry in my lunch box, this is one as it stays soft even when cold. Aunty would pack him these soft layers with a spoonful of midi uppinakayi (pickled tiny whole mangoes) on top, so by the time we sat for lunch the dosa would have had a bath from the flowing pickle juice and would have turned just heavenly. There were 3 of us girls who would jump on S's lunch box every time he got neer dosa and poor S had to eat from one of our boxes whether he liked it or not. I think he did become smart since we started seeing more layers (= more dosas) in his lunch box after a while :).

Nammamma & akka make a similar dosa and we call it kaayi(coconut) dosa, the meat of tender coconut is used and the texture is very similar to neer dosa. This is usually made in Summer months when you drink a lot of tender coconut and have had enough of eating the pulp (though that has never been a problem for me as I love those soft, almost melting, not fully mature coconut and can just eat them forever). But 'neer dosa' is an authentic coastal karnataka name and recipe.

This is a dosa that doesn't get fermented like the traditional dosa and also needs just 3 ingredients including salt. If you are craving for soft dosas and do not want to wait for the batter to ferment, go ahead and give these a try. Eat it with any juicy pickle, chutney or spicy powders as the dosa itself is devoid of any spices.The rice to coconut ratio below gives a perfectly soft dosa, however you are welcome to increase the coconut if you like it. Although I have heard people making neer dosa without coconut, I recommend against it as dosa turns dry in that case.

Use a flat tawa/griddle and also notice how I don't call for a flipper. I use my non stick, flat, rectangular tawa and once cooked, I can easily peel the dosa and fold it in. This dosa is cooked only on one side, so keep the heat medium and the dosa covered so it cooks slowly and thoroughly. Aunty always folded the dosa twice, though I don't know the reason, here is my theory - it keeps the dosa soft for longer and it fit snugly into a lunch box :-).

What do you need to make Neer dosa? 
Makes about 5 regular size dosas
1 cup rice (I used regular sona masoori)
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 Tsp salt
5-6 cups water (adjust to get a flowing consistency)

How do you make Neer dosa? 
  • Wash and soak rice in water for about 6 hours.
  • Grind the soaked rice and coconut to a very smooth batter. 
  • Add salt and adjust the consistency of the batter by adding water. The batter should be flowy, almost runny like reduced fat milk :-). 
  • Heat the flat dosa griddle on medium heat, take a ladle full of batter and pour it in the center of the griddle. 
  • Lift the griddle off the heat and with a quick motion move it around so the dosa batter is spread. Do not use the back of the ladle like regular dosas. 
  • Cover and let it cook for a minute.
  • Hold one end of the dosa and fold it in half. Fold once more so you get 4 layers. Take off heat and serve with any spicy pickle or chutney. 
  • Grind rice and coconut to a very fine paste and add water to get the right consistency. 
  • Add a Tsp of cumin seeds while grinding if you like the flavor. 
  • The batter should be like milk, if it is thicker it will not self spread and the dosa becomes thick. 
  • It is important to let the dosa batter find its destiny in terms of shape, do not be impatient and use the ladle like regular dosa. Your role is just to move the griddle a little bit to guide the flowing batter. You will become an expert in making decent circular dosas with some practice. 
  • This dosa is white in color with very faint and few light brown spots and it is important to let it cook covered and on medium low heat. 


Sangeetha Nambi said...

Yet to try this... Bookmarked !!!

Prathibha said...

ur story reminds me of my office days how we used to fight for my friend's dabba..she used 2 carry lots of dosas just for us...i love it..just yumm

Priya R said...

i have heard of these but never tried them :) looks good

Cook like Priya

NamsVeni Pothas said...

nice dosa pure white in color and tasty

Lubna Karim said...

Nice reading through...i like the way you have folded the dosa...

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Have heard a lot about this dosa but never got around trying it...nicely made

Jay said...

absolutely mouthwatery recipe
Tasty Appetite

Priya said...

Neer dosa is in my to do list since a long,am yet to try it..Lovely writeup.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Love Neer Dose and Kayi Chutney..Ah! it has been such a long time that I ate one.Boy! my mouth is watering and those look super delicious

Chitra said...

we make similarly. but i love to try the authentic one :)

Anonymous said...

Wow Wonderful, yummy! Thank you