The imperfect cooks

Prepare the batter.

Equipment needed:

Dosai pan, Dosai spatula and a concave cooking spoon.


Dosai batter


IMG_9317 Heat the pan. Spread batter on the pan using a concave cooking spoon. drizzle oil along the edge of the dosai. IMG_9318 You can cover the dosai if you have something that can cover it without disturbing, but you can leave it open as well. When it is done on one side, it is mostly cooked well, but you can turn over to make sure it is done well on both sides. Use the dosai spatula to turn the dosai. Turning the dosai is a bit tricky first time but it is easy when get used to it.  


IMG_9319                       IMG_9320

Serve it hot with a spicy chutney or sambhar.



Tomato – one tin or equivalent quantity of cherry tomatoes
Onion – 1
Red chillies – 2
mustard and black gram lentil broken
curry leaves


Wash and cut tomatoes or use tin tomatoes. Heat oil in a pan. Add red chillies. Add onions. Add tomatoes. Add salt. Stir occasionally.  When the tomatoes are half cooked, remove the pan and transfer it to a suitable bowl and use hand blender or use a processor to grind it.


Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and black gram lentil. when they splatter, add curry leaves. (Tip: Use splatter proof).

IMG_9306     IMG_9310  IMG_9312
4 ramkin full of parboiled rice
1/2 ramkin full of skinned whole black gram lentil
1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

Soak the rice in a big container. Soak the lentil and fenugreek seeds in a small bowl. Leave them for four hours. grind the rice in a grinder or in a food processor.  Below is a picture of modern stone grinder with electric motor. Traditional stone grinders look like a big mortar and pestle with the mortar fixed on the floor on a little raised bed and pestle with bulged head, just a little smaller than the size of the mouth of the mortar.

When ground in a food processor, the heat developed during grinding cooks the batter, especially the lentil batter, which is not good for getting desired result. but in the absence of a stone grinder, food processor is the alternative.

Grind the rice and keep the batter in the big container. grinding the lentil (+fenugreek) needs some care that water has to be added in small quantities. at frequent intervals. Lentil batter comes approximately up to the quantity of the rice batter. transfer the lentil batter also to the big container. add salt. mix them well. leave it for 24 to 36 hours or more until it raises. if you are in a cold climate, keep the container in the boiler room or inside the oven (but do not switch it on), where it is not cold.

It is a big process, but if you get used to the cycle, then it is easy and once when you have the batter making idly or dosai is the easiest way to make some delicious and easy dinner.

I will post on making idly and Dosa seprately.

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Serves 4

Ingredients: About 600g boneless chicken, large onion, 3 cloves garlic, 5 tsp ras-el-hanout, 3 carrots, 1 tbsp flaked almonds, 10 dates, 10 green olives, chicken (or vegetable) stock cube, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey.

Slice the chicken into strips and coat it with the ras-el-hanout; leave it to absorb the flavours for an hour or two. Chop the onion medium-fine and slice the garlic into 1mm thick slivers. Gently fry the onions in half the oiluntil translucent, then add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds; transfer it all to the tagine. Put all but a teaspoon of the rest of the oil to the pan, and turn up the heat. Rapidly brown the chicken and place it on top of the onions. put abut 250 ml water into the pan, add the crumbled stock cube, and mix. Pour over the chicken. Slice the carrots into 1 cm thick discs (half as thick if you don’t want them deliciously al dente) and arrange around the edge of the tagine. Put the lid on the tagine and simmer-cook for 45 minutes.

chicken tagine 01

Chop the dates and olives. Fry the almond flakes until golden brown. Drizzle the honey over the chicken, sprinkle the dates and olives over the honeyed chicken, sprinkle the toasted almonds over that, and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Serve with aromatic couscous (see my previous recipe).

chicken tagine 02

Serves 2 (generously!)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup couscous, 1/2 cup boiling water, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 handful of a mixture of freshly picked mint, parsley, marjoram (or whatever you fancy, but the mint is essential).

Chop the herbs medium-fine.

lemon and herbs

Pour the water over the couscous. When the water is absorbed, squeeze the lemon into it and mix with a fork. Add the oil and mix again. Just before serving (and while it is still hot) add the chopped herbs and mix again.

Does not have a satisfying taste if it is eaten alone, but it is superb with a tagine, which it tends to “lighten”.


Egg on dosa makes delicious egg dosa(i). Will add a proper post on Dosa(i) later.

Two large onions
1/4 tin tomato
4 to 5 long dried red chillies
salt to taste
oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves for garnishing

Chop the onion into chunky pieces. pour oil in a pan. fry the onions until they lose fresh taste/smell. transfer them to a food processor. fry tomato in a similar way and transfer to the processor. add chillies and grind the contents to paste. transfer the contents to a serving dish.
add salt. mix well.
pour oil in a pan. add mustard seeds when the oil is hot. when the seeds crack, add it to the chutney and mix well.

Goes well with dosa or idli. but can be used as a dip.