I fell in love with this super soft and lacy pancakes in a restaurant called ‘Kanua’ in Bangalore where I had them for the first time. I would say “it was love at first bite”. And I had it with a super delicious Chicken Ghee Roast. This restaurant became one of our most frequently visited places during the time 2004-2007 that we were in Bangalore initially. I remember going to Kanua from the airport to have lunch (and of course pack some Neer Dosa and Chicken Ghee Roast too) when we had a couple of hours of transit in the city on our way to Kolkata.
Initially I thought it wasn’t easy to make Neer Dosas, but when I referred to a couple of recipes, I figured it was pretty simple to make. So armed with all the information I could manage through online research, I set out to make Neer Dosas. And I should say that it was an utter disaster. Next, checked with friends who used to make. Some suggested to use some fresh coconut too which grinding the rice. So next trial was with that. Again, just couldn’t manage to get the dosas spread properly on the pan. Then another friend asked me to trying using the appam kadai – easier to spread the batter evenly you see. So tried again and another failure. By this time, I had resigned to the fact that probably this isn’t meant for me. And I should just satisfy myself with the store bought Neer Dosas. But just couldn’t let it go..:)
Last Christmas, we were visiting my cousin in Mangalore on our way to Kerala for the holidays. The 2 days that we decided to stay with them was planned with visits to some of the iconic places to eat in and around Mangalore. My sister-in-law, Roopa, had made plans to ensure we get to taste all the local delicacies. And I had one request – I need to learn to make Neer Dosas. I knew she was a pro, so this time I was determined to get it right. Now, God had other plans for us. The day we landed in Mangalore, there was a curfew declared and everything was closed. So going out and eating was just not happening. But Roopa made sure we still had some of the local specialties. And I got to learn how to make perfect Neer Dosas. We had a brilliant breakfast of plain as well as masala neer dosas (this one was new to me!). And I realised that the consistency of the batter and the heat of the pan you are cooking in are the major factors to getting those perfect lacy crepes! So armed with all the information I learnt, I tried out making Neer Dosas on my own once I got back home after the vacation. And must say – I was so happy to feed some great Neer Dosas to my loved ones..:)
So here you go with my recipe and the details on how to make some great Neer Dosas. Make sure you watch the full video too!
Few things to keep in mind
- Consistency of Batter: The amount of water used in the batter will depend on how much it takes to get the right consistency. “Neer” means water. And that’s exactly how the batter should be. If the batter doesn’t spread as you tilt and turn the pan, just like water, then it means that you need some more water. Also, if the batter is thick, then the top will look a little dry. Now, if the water quantity is more than required, then the dosas will look all sticky. So after you grind the batter, always take one or two ladle full of batter and start adding water by measuring in the same ladle. And keep a count of the amount of water you have added. So that ways, once you get the right consistency, you will have an idea of the amount of water that will needed for one ladle of batter in that batch.
- Hotness of the pan: The pan or tawa should be hot when you pour the batter. Remember that the consistency of your batter is water like. So as soon as you pour it onto the pan, it should sizzle like water too. Imagine pouring water on a hot pan! Those tiny holes that you see in a Neer Dosa – that depends on the hotness of the pan. If you have an iron tawa, please use that. And make sure you grease it with some oil too. Even a non-stick pan should be greased lighty before you pour in the batter.
- Rice – 1 cup (I have used Sona Masoori rice)
- Salt – as per taste
Step by Step Process
- Wash the rice and soak it for atleast 4-5 hours. I prefer soaking it overnight.
- Grind the soaked rice with a little water to a very fine and smooth batter – similar to a dosa batter consistency. Make sure that the batter is really fine. If you rub a little batter between your fingers, it should feel powdery and not grainy.
- For the neer dosas, we need water like consistency. I add approximately 2 – 2.5 cups of water for every cup of this ground batter. The amount of water will depend on the initial consistency of the ground batter though. So make sure you read the Recipe Notes above for the batter consistency.
- For making the neer dosa, heat a tawa properly. Add a few drops of ghee/oil and use a tissue paper to spread it all around. The tawa should sizzle as soon as you add the batter.
- Immediately, tilt and turn the pan and spread the batter all over. If the consistency of the batter is correct, and the tawa is hot, you will see small holes in the dosas. Keep the heat on medium to high while pouring the batter and then reduce it to low and cover it and cook.
- Neer Dosas are not flipped over. They are cooked only on one side, then folded into quarters and removed from the heat. When hot, they may stick to each other if stacked. So let them cool, if you want to stack them one on top of other.
- Serve with chutney or ghee roast!