The world loves pancakes. They are a favorite, from sweet, pillowy breakfasts in America to savory street foods in India and Asia. Why not try something new on Pancake Day?
Sweet potato masala with coconut raita
Dosas (savory pancakes) are made with fermented lentils and rice ground into a paste, then mixed with water. This dish originated in southern India. It is often served for breakfast with chutney or sambar, a lentil, and tamarind stew.
Getting a paper-thin texture in the kitchen isn’t easy, but I achieve good results when I combine gram flour (chickpea flour) and plain flour.
Serves 4 Prep 40 Mins plus 24 Hours Chilling Cook 50 Mns Easy V
100g/4oz gram flour
100g/4oz plain flour
200ml/7fl oz milk
The masala filling is:
Sweet potatoes, about 750g (1lb 10oz), chopped into small pieces.
Three tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oils
Black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds: 2 teaspoons each
One fat red chili, chopped. (Deseeded for those who don’t want it to be too spicy)
Half a large onion and thinly slice it
4 crushed garlic cloves
Peeled and finely chopped ginger in a thumb-sized chunk
Small bunch of coriander stalks only (save leaves for raita).
Curry leaves fresh or dried, two tablespoons
Ground turmeric and ground coriander, each 1 tsp
Indian pickles and chutneys to be served
The raita is:
Fresh coconut coarsely grated, 200g/7oz
125g pot coconut yogurt (I used CoYo)
Leaves only from a small bunch of coriander (reserve some leaves for serving)
Slice one lime and juice 1/2. Cut the remaining 1/2 into wedges.
It would help to make the batter 24 hours before for the best taste and texture. Add the flour to a large bowl. Season with salt, and then add 300ml of water. Whip to a smooth mixture, cover with clingfilm, and chill for up to five days.
2 Preheat oven to 200C/180C Fan/gas 6. Spread the sweet potatoes out on a large tray and drizzle with oil. Cook the sweet potato for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice on the baking tray during cooking. In the meantime, heat the remaining oil and cook the mustard, cumin, and fennel seeds in the pan for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in garlic, onion, ginger, coriander, and curry leaves. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes until the onion becomes soft. Stir the spices for 15 seconds, add 100ml of water, and let it bubble. This will bring the flavors together.
Add the sweet potatoes to the pan and season with salt. The mixture should look like a very chunky mash. Use your spoon to smash some sweet potatoes while leaving others chunkier. Keep the sweet potato mixture warm until you are ready to make the pancakes (or let it cool and then chill for up to two days, gently reheating in a pan or microwave).
Pour the raita:
- Place the grated coconut into a bowl.
- Add the coconut yogurt and coriander.
- Stir in the lime juice and zest.
- Sprinkle a little salt. If the yogurt is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to loosen it.
- Refrigerate until ready to use (you can also make it up to two days in advance, but add the coriander right before serving).
After you have cooked the dosas, place a plate in the oven and heat it to the lowest setting. If your dosa batter is too thick from the fridge, add a little water to thin it out. It should have the consistency of double cream. Grease your giant frying pan or crepe pan with a small amount of oil, then wipe out any excess oil using kitchen paper. Pour a ladleful into the center of the pan, and swirl it quickly to cover the surface. Make sure the pancakes are as thin as possible. Once the pancake’s character is almost dry, add a quarter of the filling to the middle. Once the pancake has a golden brown and crispy underside, you can roll it in the pan, encasing the filling. Cook for another minute, then transfer the dosas to the oven.
The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (If the batter is made the day prior, it should last up to 5 days). Serve the dosas, coconut raita, lime wedges, and your favorite Indian pickles and chutneys.