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Masala dosa with coconut chutney

Vijaya Selvaraju shares a special family brunch recipe passed down from her mom.



For the masala:

  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai green chili (More or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 680 grams Yukon gold potatoes boiled until tender and skins removed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 cup starchy cooking water (from boiling the potatoes)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped coriander

For the dosa:

  • 1.5 cups white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup black gram flour (Urad Daal Flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5-2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter (Ghee)

For the coconut chutney:

  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cashews
  • 4 Thai green chillis (more or less to taste)
  • A slice of fresh ginger
  • 3/4-1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon curry leaves


  1. Heat clarified butter in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, and allow to pop for ten seconds before adding onion, ginger, chillis, and asafoetida. Sautee for three to four minutes until onions soften, and the mixture is fragrant.
  2. Using your hands, crush the whole potatoes into the pan, and add turmeric, starchy cooking water, and salt to taste. Stir, and use a spoon to break up the potatoes so that they are chunky in texture. Continue to cook until most of the water evaporates, and the potato mixture has thickened (four to five minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in coriander.

For the dosa:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flours and salt.
  2. Add half the water, and whisk using an electric hand mixer. Continue whisking, gradually adding water until mixture resembles the thickness of pancake batter, and there are no lumps (approximately four to five minutes)
  3. Loosely cover bowl with a lid/cloth, and allow to ferment nine to ten hours/overnight.
  4. By morning, the mixture will have fermented and increased in volume by 30%.
  5. Heat a large non-stick frying pan on medium high heat. Dip a piece of paper towel in ghee, and rub the pan to lightly coat.
  6. When the pan is hot, add a ladle (approximately 1/2 cup) of batter to the center of the pan, and using the back of the ladel/flat measuring cup, gently move the batter in concentric circles starting from the middle of the batter, and moving out, until batter is thin and has reached the edge of the pan.
  7. Drizzle clarified butter around the edges, and on top of the dosa. Allow to crisp for two to three minutes, then flip with a spatula when the edges begin to lift up.
  8. Allow other side to slightly brown for 30 seconds, and then flip again.
  9. Fill dosa with a line of the potato masala towards the top. Roll the dosa to form a cylinder.  Serve with coconut chutney.

For the chutney:

  1. In a blender, add coconut, cashews, chillis, ginger, 3/4 cup water and salt. Blend until it forms a thick paste. Add more water if necessary to get things moving. Pour into a bowl, and add curry leaves on top.
  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, and allow to pop for ten seconds. Pour this mixture directly over top the curry leaves. Stir together. Enjoy alongside your dosa as a dip! 

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