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Chef Hari Nayak of SONA, Rach and John's favorite Indian restaurant in New York City, shares his signature dosa served alongside a spiced edamame and potato mash. "A dosa is a fermented crepe from south India that's very popular," explains Hari. "It's traditionally made with a fermented rice and lentil batter. It's very good for you and is gluten free and the deliciousness comes from the fermentation." While fermentation is trendy now in the U.S., in India, it's centuries old. In fact, dosas go back almost 2,000 years!
They are easy to make, says Hari, but do take time. You need to soak the rice and lentils for about six hours, then let the blended batter ferment for at least twelve hours, so plan accordingly. He also notes that adding Gruyere isn't typical, but that's the signature style at SONA. Trust us—it's SO good!
For the dosa batter, soak the rice and lentils in a large bowl with enough water to cover for 4 to 6 hours.
Drain the soaked rice and lentils in a colander and transfer to a food processor, blender or wet-dry grinder. Add the fenugreek seeds (if using) and blend with just enough water (about 1 ½ cups) to form a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into a deep pot, making sure there's plenty of room for the batter to ferment and rise. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. The warmer it is, the better the fermentation. Let the batter rest for a minimum of 12 hours until it has risen and is well fermented. You'll know it's ready if you see tiny air bubbles on the surface. The longer the fermentation, the better the flavor will be. Stir in the salt and continue with the recipe or refrigerate the batter for later use. (If refrigerating, thin with water, as needed, before using.)
For the edamame & potato mash, heat the ghee or oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. When it is very hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the seeds pop (in about 30 seconds), add the curry leaves (if using), onions and chili flakes. Cook, stirring, until the onions have softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Season lightly with salt, then add the turmeric, stir to coat and let sizzle for 1 minute. Add the edamame, potatoes and ½ cup water and cook, stirring well to combine, until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Mash the potatoes a bit with the back of a wooden spoon, taste and adjust the seasonings. Top with the cilantro and set aside at room temperature.
To finish, heat a flat griddle or a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Using a ladle, pour about ¼ cup of the batter in the center of the pan. Starting in the middle, make concentric circles with the bottom of the ladle to spread the batter evenly and thinly, forming a thin round crepe.
Drizzle oil or melted ghee around the edges of the dosa and in the center. Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly on top and let the batter crisp. Using a spatula, gently lift around the perimeter of the dosa to make sure it's not sticking, then carefully fold in half or shape the dosa into a roll or a pyramid.
Serve immediately alongside the edamame & potato mash and chutney(s). Repeat with the remaining ingredients.