A dosa waffle: The side dish that stole the show
The love for dosa knows no bounds across India and beyond. With the bourgeoning Indian population in the UAE it’s a popular dish consumed and found in plenty of restaurants here as well. One night last week, I had a wonderful encounter with a unique way of eating a dosa. It was in the form of a waffle.
My friend and I met for dinner at the Indian fusion restaurant Masti, located at the beach front destination La Mer. The progressive Indian dining spot serves a modern take on the classic cuisine with plenty of creative fusion dishes.
On their menu, you’ll find things like Edamame Chaat, Smokey Chipotle Paneer Tikka and even a Tuna Bhel Tartare… But what really caught my eye was a simple serving of a ‘Dosa Waffle’ as a side dish to their Malabar Fish Curry.
The dish, which is made up of a Chilean seabass cooked in a Malabar sauce and pineapple chutney is served with the dosa waffle. Something that I had never seen before. And I have had plenty of dosas all over Dubai as well as in Goa and in the heart of Kerala, so I consider myself well versed in eating this delicious south Indian dish.
A brief history ...
Dosa, which originates from the state Karnataka, is made by grinding up fermented rice and lentils and cooking the batter on a flat, hot surface with oil. It is typically either very thin and crispy or slightly thicker and softer. It is also notoriously difficult to get right sometimes. So perhaps a waffle iron is somewhat of a hack for an easy dosa as it also allows it to last longer without getting soggy.
“In the south of India, we usually eat curry with rice,” said Chef Prashant Chipkar, the brain behind the dosa waffle at Masti. “My goal was to create a more elevated side dish rather than rice, but still maintain the essence of the classic Indian style. So instead of regular white rice we opted for fermented rice.”
Moreover, Masti, which stands for fun and mischief, encourages an extra dose of creativity. “It couldn’t just be a regular dosa pancake. We had to go the extra mile, so we thought to turn it into a dosa waffle.”
Waffles are a staple at the breakfast table in many American and European homes, while dosas are a very important staple at the breakfast table in many Indian homes. “So I fused both dishes and created this one dish made out of two very recognisable items,” Chef Chipkar told the Food team.
Easier than a regular dosa
The dosa waffle doesn’t only get points for creativity but plenty of bonus points for ease of creation. “Generally, when you make dosa, you make it on a non-stick iron pan. You have to constantly keep your eye on the dosa as you spread it, lift it and flip it over,” said Chef Chipkar. “But the waffle iron doesn’t need much maintenance.” He sprays a bit of oil on the waffle iron and pours the dough over it.
“To make it a little more airy and fluffy at the restaurant, we use a device called a ‘Whipping Siphon’.” This siphon is a metal container used to pressurise liquids, which makes the batter very foamy and fluffy.
“It’s a very simple dish. It’s gluten free and lactose free. It’s just rice, lentils and water.” So even those who generally have to avoid waffles due to a gluten or a dairy allergy, can enjoy this tasty waffle with their curry.
Chef Chipkar’s objective was to make the dosa a bit more fun, but it ended up being easy, less time consuming and more eye catching. Win-win.
Want to make a dosa waffle at home?
Dosa Waffle recipe
(Makes 3 waffles)
100 gm Basmati rice
50 gm White lentils
1 gm Lecithin (A pretty powerful ingredient that acts as an emulsifier. You can substitute with Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch or Xanthan Gum)
1. Soak the rice and lentils separately overnight.
2. Blend both into a fine paste separately. Once blended, combine both together.
3. Keep the mixture at room temperature for eight hours.
4. Once it has fermented, mix it in with lecithin and transfer to a siphon. (Obviously if you don’t have a siphon at home, whip it with a handheld blender, to add in air bubbles.)
5. Set the temperature of the waffle machine to 100 degree centigrade.
6. Apply a little oil to waffle machine and pour in the mixture from the siphon onto the waffle machine.
7. Wait for another 3 minutes or as per the waffle machine indicator on the waffle machine for the dosa waffle to be ready.