3 cups rice (idli rice)
Wash the rice and urad dhal well. Add the fenugreek seeds to the mix and fill enough water in the rice-dhal bowl to cover them about 2" deep. Soak overnight.
The next morning, drain all the water from the rice and urad dhal. Now put some in a food processor and grind - adding very little water if necessary - to a smooth yet slightly grainy paste.
When all the rice-dhal mix is ground like this, put it into a large mixing bowl and add enough water to make a batter. The consistency of the batter should be such that it thickly coats a spoon dipped in it.
Now keep the Dosa batter aside in a warm, dark spot, covered, for 6-8 hours. After this fermentation, add salt and stir the batter well. Now you are ready to make Dosas.
Put some cooking oil in a small bowl and keep ready. You will also need a large flat nonstick pan, 2 sheets of paper towels, a ladle, a spatula and a basting brush.
Fold a sheet of paper towel into a wad and dip lightly into the bowl of cooking oil. Squeeze out any excess and then rub the paper towel all over the surface of the pan to grease. The correct amount of oil is such that it is barely visible on the pan. Now turn on the heat/ flame at medium high.
Fill the ladle up to the 3/4 level with Dosa batter. Gently pour this batter onto the center of the pan - just as you would for a pancake - till the ladle is empty.
Now begin to spread the batter in sweeping circular motions to form a pancake of roughly 8" diameter. Do not be alarmed if the Dosa develops tiny holes as you spread the batter. This is normal.
When the upper surface begins to look cooked (it will no longer look soft or runny), flip the Dosa.
By this time, ideally, the surface that was underneath should be light golden in color. Allow to cook for 1 minute after flipping.
The Dosa is done. Serve the ready Dosa with side dishes like Coconut Chutney and Sambar. I like to make and serve Dosas immediately while I cook as this means they are crisp and fresh when eaten. This, however, is not absolutely necessary. You can also make, stack and serve the Dosas later. Just ensure you keep them warm till serving time by placing them - just like with pancakes - in a closed dish.
Before you start making the next Dosa, fold another sheet of paper towel into a wad and dip it in ice cold water. Squeeze the wad to remove excess water and then rub it all over the surface of the pan to cool it slightly. This ensures your next Dosa will spread evenly and not break because the pan is too hot. Now proceed as you did for the last Dosa.
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