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Dosa, Matbucha and Chickpeas

Last week was an excited one. I started a food writing course coached by the super talented Marge Perry. I’ve been talking about taking a food writing course for a while and I’m happy that now I get to do it. A BIG thank you to my good friend Leetal, who gave me this very original gift and signed me up for these super cool classes.

I’m not planning to become the next Ruth Reichl (wouldn’t that be cool?), I just want to better my writing and I want to be able to write what I want without thinking I’m not making sense. Does that make sense? 

As I suspected, food writing is more complex than just saying “these dosas are delicious” and these classes are opening my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. The course is only four sessions long but I can already see that it will help me for a lifetime. 
Onto today’s recipe. I struggled for a while to come up with a good dosa recipe. After testing, testing and testing some more, I finally have a recipe that I’m happy to share with you. These crisp and slightly sour dosas, can be filled with anything you want. I filled mine with chickpeas stew, matbucha (which is a Middle Eastern style cold tomatoes and peppers salad) and fried eggs. I can tell you right now, this was a perfect brunch, very filling and satisfying. 

2 cups Indian rice, rinsed 
1 cup urad dal, rinsed
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
oil for cooking the dosa
Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water and set aside.  Place the urad dal and fenugreek seeds in a different bowl, cover it with water and set aside. Let everything soak for 5 hours. Drain (reserve the water from both rice and urad dal). In a blender, puree the rice and the urad dal separately, adding water as needed. In a large bowl, mix well both batters and cumin. Loosely cover it and place the batter in a warm place (I kept my batter inside the oven). Let it ferment for 8 hours or overnight, the longer it ferments, the more sour it gets. When the batter is ready, add the salt and the rice flour, mix well. If your batter is too thick, just add more water (little by little) until you get a consistency similar to crepe batter. Heat a 10 inch nonstick skillet and using a ladle, pour batter (about 1/3 cup) onto the pan spreading the batter with the back of the ladle. Drizzle oil over the dosa and cook until its bottom turns golden brown. Serve hot. 

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, chopped
6  tomatoes, chopped 
2 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch of sugar 
1 tsp chili pepper flakes (or more depending 
on how spicy you like it)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, chili pepper flakes, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat to around medium low, and cook for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced. In the meantime, mix well the olive oil and paprika in a small bowl. Pour the olive oil mixture into the pan and stir well until everything is well combined. Let the matbucha cook for about 15 minutes more, stirring every 5 minutes. Taste and adjust reasoning if needed. You can also add more chili peppers if you like it more spicy. Allow the matbucha to cool completely and served at room temperature or chilled.
1 cup of cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley 
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
In a pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions, cook for 2 minutes then add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring for 2 minutes then add the chickpeas, water, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. With a potato masher, lightly crush the chickpeas, leaving some chickpeas whole.  Add the parsley and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve warm. 

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