Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gluten-Free Spinach-Onion Dosa (Pancake)

Spinach Dosas also famous as "Chana na Pudla" in Gujarat, is a healthy meal option. So this weekend, when I had an urge to make something gluten-free, more as a challenge and a change than anything else, I decided to make some savoury gluten-free pancakes with gram flour; we actually call them "dosa" or "puda" in local dialect. Its a great way to toss up your favourite veggies into the flour mixture and cook up something special without much effort or planning. I opted for spinach and sauteed onions as my main ingredients, while a blend of spices add to the flavor and fluff! These spinach dosas are a great way to eat something healthy yet tasty, and you can enjoy these with any dipping sauce of your choice!

I really wanted to send something to Srivalli for her Dosa Mela, but instead of using regular dosa-flour or all-purpose flour, I decided to go gluten-free by opting for the gram flour (besan). It not only adds a unique flavor, but also a nice color and texture to the pancakes. You can choose to add your favorite veggies like grated carrots, bell-peppers, peas or even shredded cheese!

Yields 3-4 pancake-sized dosas

2-1/2 cups gram flour (chickpea-flour or besan)
1 cup spinach leaves - washed and chopped
1 small onion - finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh coriander - chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt
1 pinch of asafoetida(optional)
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp fruit salt(baking soda)
1 tsp red chilli powder
2-3 cups water (or less, to make the batter)
oil - for saute

Note: It is believed that hing(asafoetida) is generaly ground with wheat-flour, so in that case it would be better for people to omit it from this recipe to make it a strictly gluten-free recipe.

Saute the onions in 1 tbsp of oil till they are lightly brown in color. Don't burn them too much, just make them soft and glazed.

Wash and chop the spinach and cilantro leaves. Add these to the gram flour. Add the ginger-garlic paste and all the spices except fruit salt, then slowly add water, half cup at a time and stir to form a loose batter. Make sure you do not have any lumps in the batter. Form a thick pancake-like batter; but it will be a little thick as gram flour has more consistency than all-purpose flour.

Now add the sauteed onions and fruit salt(soda) to the batter.

Take a non-stick pancake-pan, drop one ladleful of batter into the pan and swirl to form a circular dosa or pancake. This batter is a little thick, so it may not spread as readily as pancake; so just tilt the pan to let the batter spread around. You can even spread and shape it using your wooden spoon or spatula.

Now drizzle a teeny bit of oil on the sides, then cover the pan with a lid and let it cook on medium flame, for about 3-4 mins. Then flip it on the other side and cook again. it will not rise as much as a pancake, but you should see goledn brown spots on both sides. Flip it again till both sides are evenly cooked.

Repeat for the remaining batter and make dosas out of them.

Serve these gluten-free spinach and onion dosas with your favorite dipping sauce. We enjoyed it with corn-cilantro pesto along with a second round of Indian Chai! Serve them hot as they are best enjoyed crisp and fresh right off the stove! For more inspiration, check out these delicious Spinach Recipes

More Savoury Recipes:
Achari Paneer Tikka Wraps
Savoury Muffins with Sun-dried Tomato and Cheese
Fluffy Spanish Tortilla Omelettes

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