A recipe for crispy pepper dosa from a temple in Madurai
Bhog Naivedya by Sujata Shukla Rajan, Rupa Publications India, ₹300
Azhagar Kovil Milagu Dosai:
To make a batch of milagu dosai, the ingredients used are:
16 kg of raw rice
2.5 kg urad dal with skin
10 liters of ghee
200 g whole black pepper
200 g jeera
100 g of solid blocks of asafoetida
100 g powdered saunt / sukku
1 bunch of curry leaves
The rice is soaked for about 15 minutes, drained and crushed by machine.
URAD dal is soaked for 30 minutes, drained and coarsely ground. The rice and the dal are mixed together and all the other ingredients except the ghee are mixed into the dough. The dough is not fermented as is normally done to make dosai. Full of ghee is used to fry dosai, each a little larger than the palm of a hand, about 5 inches in diameter. Each dosai, I was told, should weigh 160g and the kitchen does everything possible to keep them at a uniform size and weight.
All ingredients are purchased by the temple kitchens from Khadi’s council, while ghee is purchased from Tamil Nadu State Dairy Cooperative, AAVIN. The ingredients purchased are all of the best quality.
For the divinity, two great dosai are prepared (each the size and shape of a large pizza). the dosai in the main kitchen is prepared on a special hot plate made of five metals: gold, silver, copper, iron and bronze. The hotplate, I have been informed, is large and deep enough to fry Dosai naïvedyam pepper. A large amount of ghee is heated, about twice the volume of the dough to be poured. After one side has turned brown, the enormous dosai is skillfully turned over so that the other side is also fried.
The pepper dosai is offered at utsavar, a little golden idol on a silver horse, between 6 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. every evening. If you think of a crisp, thin, almost golden yellow Udupi hotel dosai, well no ! This milagu dosai is different, rather brown and thick with a small hole in the center, and tastes absolutely delicious, with the flavors of pepper, saint / sukku and all that ghee.
All black urad adds his personality in dosai. The night, samba sadam is offered to the deities. Other naivete offered to the temple at various times are sakkarai pongame, puliy terminal and lemon rice, all well spiced and flavored according to traditional temple recipes.
Extracted with permission from Rupa Publications India.