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Add urad dal, chana dal and methi seeds to a large bowl. Rinse them well a few times and pour lots of fresh water. To another large bowl, add rice and rinse it well few times. Pour lots of fresh water.
Soak for 4 to 5 hours. 30 mins before you begin to make the batter, rinse poha twice. Pour water enough to immerse it fully. Soak it for 30 mins.
Later drain the water from the dal completely and add to a blender jar along with poha.
Pour 1¼ cup water and salt. If you live in a hot weather then skip salt now and add after fermentation.
Blend the batter well until thick, frothy and smooth. While you blend ensure your blender doesn't heat up and get overloaded. So give a break in between and blend.
Transfer the batter to the bowl in which you soaked the dal.
Drain the water from rice completely and add it along with ½ cup water to the blender jar.
Blend slightly coarse or smooth to suit your liking. I make a slightly coarse batter of fine semolina texture. If needed pour the rest of the ¼ cup water while blending. I use up full 2 cups water mentioned in the recipe to blend.
Pour this rice batter to the dal batter & mix well. You can check the video or step by step photos to know the consistency of batter.
I divide the batter to 2 large bowls. You can do the same if you prefer to use it on 2 different days. Cover the bowl.
Allow the masala dosa batter to ferment in a warm place for about 6 to 16 hours depending on your weather. The batter has to rise and turn slightly fluffy. Do not over ferment the batter.
If you live in a cold place, then preheat the oven to 60 C or 140 F for 10 mins. Keep the batter inside with the oven light ON. Or You can also use your instant pot in the yogurt settings.
Boil or steam potatoes until just done. Do not cook them until very mushy.
Instant pot: You can pressure cook the potatoes in your IP following these timings - 5 mins if using small potatoes, 6 to 7 mins if using medium ones and 10 mins if using large potatoes.
Pressure cooking: If using a pressure cooker, then add peeled and diced potatoes to a bowl and pour water to partially cover them. Place it in the pressure cooker and let it whistle thrice.
While the potatoes boil, soak 1 teaspoon chana dal and 1 teaspoon urad dal in little hot water so they soften. After 30 mins drain the water from the dal and keep aside. When the pressure releases, remove the potatoes.
Heat a pan with oil. Then add cumin, mustard, chana dal and urad dal. Saute until the dals turns golden.
Then add onions, curry leaves and chilies. Fry until the onions turn lightly golden.
Add hing and ginger. Fry until the aroma of ginger comes out.
Crumble the potatoes and add them to the pan. Add turmeric and salt along with 2 to 3 tbsps of water. Skip pouring water if your potatoes are too moist or lightly mushy.
Saute for 2 to 3 mins. Add coriander leaves. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set this aside.
Bring the batter to consistency by adding little water. It must be of thick pouring and spreading consistency.
Heat your dosa tawa on a medium heat. If using cast iron pan, when it turns slightly hot, drizzle few drops of oil on it. Insert a fork or a butter knife into a cut onion and rub the oil all over the pan. If using cast iron griddle, you can also season it the previous night.
Check if your pan is hot enough by sprinkling little water on it. It is hot enough it will sizzle and the water evaporates. This tip is only for cast iron pan. Do not try this on a non-stick.
When the pan is hot enough, stir your batter once and take a ladle full of it.
Pour it in the center of the hot tawa. Immediately begin to spread it in a circular motion starting from the center, keep moving your hand in clockwise direction, making circles until you reach the edges of the pan. Refer video or check images below.
You can make thick or thin dosas as per your desire. If you are unable to spread the batter, it means the batter is too thick or the pan is too hot. Check the troubleshooting tips above.
Pour about half tsp oil or spread ¼ tsp soft butter around the edges & a little here and there.
Cook the masla dosa on a medium heat. Within few minutes, you can see the edges leave the pan. Flip and cook just for 1 minute.
Flip it back and cook until the base turns golden and crisp. If making mysore masala dosa, smear the red chutney (recipe below) as desired. Place the curry in one half of the dosa. Fold it or roll it.
To make the next dosa, if using cast iron pan repeat the process of rubbing with cut onion. Make sure the tawa is hot enough and not over hot otherwise it will burn the dosa. Do not cook the dosa on low heat as it makes the dosa hard.
Serve crispy masala dosa hot with coconut chutney and tiffin sambar.
Roast 2 tbsps chana dal until golden along with 6 to 8 dried red chilies. Chilies have to turn crisp.
Saute 1 large onions lightly in 1 tsp oil until the raw smell goes off. Add 2 pinches of cumin.
Cool everything. Powder the dal and chilies first.
Add half tsp tamarind (optional), 2 garlic cloves and salt. Blend till smooth. You will have a thick chutney. If the chutney turns very thick, add 1 to 2 tbsps of water and blend again.