The Vegetarian

Indian Breads

Dosa (thosai)

Coconut Roti


Dosa (a.k.a Thosai)

- South Indian

(Recipe thanks to my Mum)

1 cup Urad (Uludu, Urudu) dahl – the skinned and split white variety.

3 cups of white rice flour


oil for pan

optional - onions very finely sliced, curry leaves

You will also need a wide based shallow non-stick frying pan

Soak the Urad dahl for 5-6 hrs. Then rinse and drain. Grind the dahl, adding some water, in a liquidiser until it is a very thin liquid. (After placing the urad dahl in the liquidiser, add water to double the height of the dahl).

Pour this liquid into a large bowl and add the 3 cups of rice flour, mix together to make a smooth paste.
Add more water as necessary (usually about 500ml), to make a thin pancake consistency batter. Leave the batter to sit somewhere warm for 3-4 hours (at warm room temperature). Add two teaspoons of salt, recheck the consistency of the batter. Add more water as necessary.

Warm a large flat frying pan, and lightly oil (wipe with a oiled paper towel). Use a stainless steel ladle. Use a ladleful of the batter and pour into the middle of the pan. Spread around the pan, using a circular motion to spread out the mixture with the back of the ladle. Start in the middle and using a circular motion spread the mixture outwards with the back of the ladle. As the mixture sets, and browns on one side, flip and lightly brown the other side.

Taste test the first Dosa pancake and add more salt if necessary.

To add more flavour, add the sliced onion and curry leaves to the batter just before commencing the frying.

Eat with sambar curry, potato curries, sambal, or lentil curry.

 Coconut Roti (Pol Roti)

This is probably a Sri Lankan bread rather than an Indian bread... it is definitely the easiest to make!

-large serve for 1

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
1 cup of plain flour (try variations with wholemeal and atta flour)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
+/- diced red onion
+/- 1 sprig of curry leaves
+/- fresh chilli - sliced finely
+/- whatever you want

In a large bowl mix the coconut, flour and salt together. The original recipe should use freshly grated coconut, but we are using desiccated coconut because it is easily available outside of Asia.

Slowly add water (approx. 1/2 cup) while mixing until you have a slightly wet and sticky dough.

Add whatever other ingredients you would like to the dough and mix in. Don't worry if the ingredients seem to stick out at angles.

I have added red onion, fresh curry leaves and fresh green chilli - which are quite traditional; and then added finely sliced (using a potatopeeler) carrot -which is definitely not traditional!

Next heat up a flat nonstick pan... or use a flatbed sandwich toaster as I have done. It's up to you whether you try to make your roti into a beautiful circle... or whether you flatten it and just let it take it's own shape.

Delicious eaten straight from the pan... or with a sambal or a curry to dip it in!

Note: if you are eating it without a curry or a sambal, you may want to increase the amount of salt in the mixture.

 Naan bread

- North India

I don't know if this recipe is "correct" in a traditional sense... Many Naan recipes I've seen seem to have egg in them.. which I think definitely cannot be correct. In the end I guess it's always up to you to decide what you want in your recipe. Of course the traditional oil used in India is ghee which is made from butter... but to "healthify" this recipe I would probably recommend olive oil.

2 cups of plain flour
1 sachet of yeast (approx 7g)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of oil (ghee)
3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
1/2 cup of water

Mix the yeast into the water and stir to dissolve.

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, oil, yoghurt and the water with yeast together. Knead into a soft dough. If the mixture is too wet add a little more flour; if too dry a little more water.

Leave the dough aside for a couple of hours in a bowl covered with a tea-towel to allow it to rise.

Preheat the oven to 230degrees C. Use a pizza stone if you have one, otherwise use a baking tray as usual.

Use a handful of dough at a time, flatten the bread into a naan shape, brush with some oil and dust with some flour and place directly into the hot oven. It only recovers a few minutes to brown - at which point take it straight out of the oven. Let the oven heat up a bit and place in the next one. While each one bakes, flatten out the next one ready to go in the oven.  (or do two at a time if you have a big pizza stone) Make sure the oven reaches a high temperature each time before placing the next batch in the oven.

For a variation try garlic naan, by frying some minced garlic in oil and using the oil with garlic to brush over the dough before placing in the oven.

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