The September Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Debyi from Healthy Vegan Kitchen. Inspired by a visit to one of the Fresh Restaurants in Toronto, she choose Indian Dosas from the Refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. If you take a peek at Debyi’s blog you’ll notice that she takes healthy cooking quite seriously and uses almost no added fats in her techniques.
Pulling this dish together requires three components, the dosas (a thin crepe-like pancake), the filling (which is curry and bean based) and the sauce (a satisfying coconut milk and tomato concoction). I suggest starting backwards from this list by making the sauce first, then filling and finishing with the dosas. That way everything will be ready at about the same time. A few weeks ago my volunteer gig afforded me (along with my friend Kate) the opportunity to turn out roughly 200 crepes for a hungry breakfast crowd. Some crepes were vegan and some were egg and butter laden—all helped hone my technique. I offer these words of advice for the vegan version: ain’t nothin’ beats a non-stick pan. Yes, the first few crepes are always sacrificial until you get the heat just right, but without the Teflon coating you’ll blow through the entire batter with nary a dosa to show for it. I learned this the hard way trying to use my beautiful cast iron crepe pan, which has since intimated to me that in order to cooperate consistently it prefers butter. So Julia!
I was excited to receive this challenge as I adore Indian food and have acquired quite a handful of vegan friends of late. I present the recipe here as I received it with only minor ingredient substitutions noted. If I were to make it again, I most definitely would make my own curry or if in a pinch, use a curry paste. Curry powders have always tasted flat to me, so I try to avoid using them and should have done so with this recipe. You should know, though, that this dish tastes even better the next day. Just reheat gently if going this route so as not to cause the sauce to separate. Oh, and I served this with steamed kale and okra. It’s a great time of year to be eating okra. I highly recommend the "O is for Okra" recipe from the abecedarian tribute in this month's Gourmet magazine. [Can't seem to find link.] Not only because of my preference for the letter "O", it truly is delicious!
Coconut Curry Sauce
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp coarse sea salt
3 TBS curry powder
3 TBS spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced
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 simmer for half an hour.
Curried Garbanzo Filling
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 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS oregano
1 TBS coarse sea salt
1 TBS turmeric
4 cups cooked (or about 2 cans) chick peas (I used Borlotti beans from my favorite heirloom legume purveyor)
½ cup tomato paste
1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, vegetables, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally. Add a bit of water if vegetables begin sticking to pan. 2.Mash the beans and add along with the tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.
Dosa Pancakes (I suggest doubling this to ensure extra batter for practicing your technique)
1 cup spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp curry powder
½ cup almond milk (or soy, or rice…)
¾ cup water
cooking spray, as needed
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a blender, slowly add the liquids, blending until smooth. 2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, as 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. Makes 8 pancakes.