Doshas are a popular dish in South India. They are traditionally made with basmati rice and a type of legume called urad dahl. The beans and rice are soaked in water, then ground into a batter and fermented overnight. I have simplified the recipe and used red lentils, a more common legume, which is readily available. Doshas are typically served with a spiced potato filling (see recipe below). They were a great hit at work!
½ cup red lentils, rinse and soak for at least 1½ hours
½ cup water
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon chopped fresh turmeric (or ¼ teaspoon dry ground)
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Good quality cooking oil
Drain the soaked lentils and rinse. Add lentils, water, curry powder, turmeric and salt to a blender. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. If desired, let batter rest for 1–2 hours. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a nonstick (preferably ceramic) skillet over medium heat. Be sure to cover the surface of the skillet with oil. Stir the batter, add a little water (1–2 tablespoons) if batter is too thick (it should be pouring consistency, similar to loose pancake batter). Add about ¼ cup of batter to the heated pan and with the back of a spoon spread it out with a circular motion, starting from the center. This will make a 7–8-inch dosha. Cook for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side for 1–2 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm or hot. Makes approximately 5 pancakes. Goes great with Indian Spiced Potatoes.
Indian Spiced Potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or any good quality oil)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
4 cups cubed potatoes (4–5 medium potatoes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add ginger and red pepper. Sauté briefly, then add the potatoes. Add cumin, coriander and salt; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low–medium heat for 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender. Serve warm or hot. Goes great with dosha pancakes. Serves 2–4.
Health Benefits of Lentils
Though all lentils provide fantastic health benefits, red lentils cook more quickly and are considered to be the tastiest of the bunch. While cooking, they usually turn from reddish to a lighter yellow color. Lentils should be rinsed before cooking. Like any legume, soaking lentils overnight and discarding the water helps speed up the cooking process and helps remove impurities.
- Protein: Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third highest levels of protein. 26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
- Iron: Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
- Fiber: Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
- Anti-oxidants: Lentils contain anti-oxidants similar to those in tea, red wine and other foods.
- Lower Cholesterol: Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber. Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean.
- Heart Health: Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease.Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!
- Digestive Health: Insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
- Stabilized Blood Sugar: Adding to the many benefits of fiber, soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
- Increases Energy: Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fiber and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.
- Weight Loss: Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.