Thosai 10 Ways: Ghee Roast Masala Dosa With Roasted Tomato Chutney
"Thosai 10 Ways" is a Wonderwall.sg series helmed by MasterChef Singapore Season 2 contestant Vasunthara Ramasamy aka Vasun, an amateur baker and cook, and the blogger behind Monsoon Table.
Some of my favourite meals while holidaying in South India were vegetarian restaurants serving variations of masala thosai, or dosa as they are known outside of Tamil Nadu.
Though originally from Udipi, a town on the west coast of Karnataka, many other South Indian cities, such as Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai, have their own variations of the ever popular Masala Thosai. Some are shatteringly crisp and ghee-laden while others are spongy and soft.
The most famous of all the varieties is the Mysore Masala Dosa originating from a humble eatery, Hotel Vinayak Mylari. The popularity of Mylari’s Dosas have reached such cult status that there are dozens of imposters with similar-sounding names, signboards and menus all within a stone’s throw of the original establishment in Mysore.
Regulars swear by Mylari’s tantalisingly, melt-in-your-mouth plain dosas which are still cooked over wood fire. Its iconic Masala Dosas come with sides of coconut chutney and white butter while the interiors of each dosa are stuffed with a delectable potato masala.
While crisp, paper thin dosas are more popular in many places, soft and spongy dosas with a slightly crisp exteriors are preferred among many South Indians as they’re easier to tear off with our hands and scoop chutneys with.
Just like fried chicken, the pleasures of eating a thosai meal are multiplied when you lick off the stray bits of thosai from your fingers!
While travelling to South India to enjoy this special dosa is not possible right now, one can still enjoy the joys of a home-cooked Masala Dosa, minus the woodfire. Here, I use the same "Cheat’s No Grind Thosai Batter" to make the Ghee Roast Masala Dosa with new potato masala for the stuffing and a flavour-packed "Fire Roasted Tomato Chutney" that contrasts with the mild potato masala.
The Ghee Roast Masala Dosas can also be enjoyed with the "Green Goddess Coconut Chutney". To make the ghee roast dosas, follow the same steps as the plain dosas and smear a teaspoon or two of ghee right at the end of cooking.
Potato Palya/Potato Masala
- 2 medium, 250-300g, waxy potatoes
- 2 tbsp peanut or any neutral oil
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- ½ tsp split urud dal
- ½ tsp split channa dal
- 5 cashews, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, 10g, pounded
- ½ inch ginger, 10g, pounded
- ½ green chilli, pounded
- 2 medium red onions, about 200g, sliced to medium thickness
- Pinch of turmeric
- 1½ cup water
- 3 coriander springs with stems, roughly chopped
1. In a pot, cook potatoes with ½ tsp salt till soft but not mushy. Once cooked, drain immediately. Once cooled, peel and roughly mash potatoes into medium chunks. Set aside.
2. In a medium pan, heat peanut oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds. Once they begin popping, add split urud dal, channa dal and cashews. Toss continuously with wooden ladle so that they don’t burn.
3. Once the dals and cashews have browned, add pounded garlic, ginger and green chilli and keep tossing and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add all onions, a pinch of salt and cook till onions begin to soften.
5. Once onions are translucent, add a pinch of turmeric, water and cook till onions are very soft. Then add all the cooked mashed potato.
6. Cook on medium heat till potato mixture thickens. Mash potatoes to an uneven paste while potato mixture is cooking. If mixture thickens, add ½ cup more water. The potato masala must be of a thick, spreadable consistency with some potato lumps. Season to taste with salt.
7. Once cooked, add chopped coriander. Serve with dosas.
Roasted Tomato Chutney
- 250g, 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 tbsp gingelly oil or any neutral oil
- 10g garlic cloves, skinned and pounded
- 2-3 red dried red chillies, cut into small strips
- ½ tsp tamarind paste
- ¼ - ½ tsp Jaggery or palm sugar, as needed
- 3 coriander sprigs, roughly chopped
1. Poke a slit in each tomato and roast tomatoes in the oven at 180℃ till softened and darkened, for about 20 minutes.
2. Remove roasted tomatoes from the oven and once cooled, peel off the skin.
3. In a pan on medium heat, add gingelly oil and then add pounded garlic. Cook till golden brown but not burnt. Add cut chillies. After 10 seconds, switch off the flame and pour oil, garlic and chillies into another metal container to cool.
4. To a blender, add skinned tomato, browned garlic with oil, dried chillies, tamarind paste, salt and coriander sprigs. Pulse until chutney is coarsely ground. Taste for seasoning. Add jaggery if chutney is too sour. Serve with dosas.
Vasun's thosai masterclass
Want to learn more? Vasun teaches the art of making thosai from scratch at her home. She's inspired by the nostalgia of her grandma's kitchen and the exacting science of thosai fermentation.
Thosai masterclass partipants will learn the basic science of thosai, how to soak and grind the batter from scratch, master the art of swirling and cooking thosais.
At the end of the 4-hour $180 class, they also get to enjoy a tiffin meal with two chutneys and gunpowder podi, bring home all the food and successfully ferment their first batch of thosai.
For now, the thosai masterclass is for a maximum of two partipants, and held every Wednesday and Sunday.