Day 4 of Kannada Cuisine
The ultimate soul food called Neer Dosa, the lacy crepes dunked in highly aromatic mutton gassi, or the famous and most celebrated dish from the region – Manglorean style mutton curry.
Neer Dosa – I was first introduced to neer dosa some 12 years back at a old style Manglorean restaurant in Bangalore. The menu was neer dosa and kori gassi (manglorean style chicken curry), mutton sukka and Manglorean style fish fry on side. The food was scrumptious, finger licking and bit spicy to our palate but the mildly sweet neer dosa perfectly balanced out the flavours.
Food conjures memories and even after so many years, what stays with us were the sweet memories of those cotton soft neer dosa. I found them exquisitely beautiful, delicate to touch, soft like cotton balls with intricate lacy designs that can even beat your mom’s crochet designs.
I was under this presumptions for long that such beautiful things can not be created at home, they would need special skills and may be some special equipment. And for that reasons only, I never ventured out to test my skills on making these beauties. For long these beautiful neer dosa remain shrouded in mystery till recently I decided to take the plunge in learning Kannada cuisine. I was surprised to find that they are so ridiculously simple to make, just with water and rice flour you can create such wonders.
Learning new things always brings happiness to my heart and making these neer dosas were real fun. The very first one comes out nice but get crisper on the underside. I tried to improve with each dosa, but alas laces were gone and they never returned. Then I grind some more and started to make second batch of it. Results were good and I was getting good lacy deigns. Slowly I learned the trick and sharing the same with you here.
Keep two things in mind while making the neer dosa –
One, the batter should be buttermilk consistency.
Second, the tawa or griddle should be hot and at a constant high temperature.
For details and more tips please see the recipe section.
Mutton gassi / Manglore style mutton curry – put it in other words, this mutton curry brings all the coastal flavours in a bowl. The flavours are robust, with a mild undertones of tanginess that comes from tamarind, coconut – which is characteristically present in all the coastal cuisines and range of flavorful spices that makes this Mutton Gasshi truly lip smacking and finger licking good down to the last finger.
You can also check our North Karnataka special – Akki roti and nati koli saru (Gowda style chicken curry).
Strangely this recipe was always with me as a secret gem hidden in faded and worn out recipe book of Sumeet mixer. I am talking about pre- Internet era when food lovers like my mom used to save every paper cuttings and clippings of recipes from magazine and if a recipe book comes free with home appliances it was double the happiness.
She had tried the recipe with fish many times – paplet gasshi was one of our favourite at home, but never dared to try the same recipe with chicken and mutton. Reason being the tamarind in the recipe. She could never imagined using tamarind with mutton. May be that would be too experimental for her taste.
So I dig out that recipe book and use it in mutton curry and the result was just awesome. This recipe is keeper and I am often going to make this whenever I need to feel the sand in my feet and coastal flavours in my senses.
Neer dosa with mutton gasshi recipe –
- Rice (I used kolam) : 2 cups
- Coconut grated (fresh): 2-3 tbsp
- Coconut milk : ¼ cup
- Salt to taste
- Mutton : ½ kg
- Onion : 1 chopped
- Ginger - garlic paste : 2 tbsp
- Red chilli powder : 1 tsp or less
- Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
- Tamarind : 1 lemon size ball soaked in warm water
- Jaggery powder : 1 tbsp (optional)
- Garam masala : a large pinch
- Salt to taste
- Onions : 1 small quartered
- Garlic cloves : 6-8
- Grated coconut : ½ cup
- Coriander seeds : 1 tbsp
- Poppy seeds : 2 tsp
- Sesame seeds : 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds : ¼ tsp
- Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
- Black peppercorns : 1 tsp
- Black mustard seeds : ½ tsp
- Red chillies : 5-6
- Oil : 4-5 tbsp
- Curry leaves : a handful
- Potatoes : 1 big cut into quarts
- Soak the rice overnight or at least for 5-6 hours.
- You can use either grated fresh coconut or coconut milk.
- Blend the rice with coconut or coconut milk and salt with little water to a very smooth paste.
- The rice paste should looks milky and smooth.
- Now take that in a big bowl and add water.
- Keep stirring. The consistency of the dosa batter should look like buttermilk. Thinner than milk consistency.
- So thin down the batter to that consistency.
- Keep it for 5-10 minute before start making the dosa.
- Heat a non stick pan. If using cast iron pan, then grease the pan really well.
- Stir the batter with a ladle and add a ladleful of batter in the center.
- The batter will spread out in all directions. Let it be. Do not try to spread the batter with ladle like in regular dosa.
- Cover the pan with a close fitting lid.
- Else you can start pouring the batter from the outer side of the pan, moving inwards. This takes lots of practice as it need to be done very quickly.
- While making neer dosa do not worry about shapes.
- After a minute or so, open the lid and you will see the edges of dosa starts coming out.
- Do not use a spatula. with your fingers, try to peel out the dosa from the pan, take a corner and fold it in triangles as you go.
- Once folded, use a spatula to take the dosa out of the pan and put it on a plate or banana leaf.
- Repeat with rest of the batter. This will yield around 10 medium size dosa.
- Wash and clean the mutton very well.
- Rub salt, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste all over the mutton pieces and let it rest for 20 minute or so.
- Now take a pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil, and fry the onions, garlic and coconut.
- Once fried, remove them from the pan and add rest of the spices and stir.
- Lower the heat or you can switch off the heat too. Keep stirring in between the spices. Once the spices looks roasted and chillies are crisp, take them out and blend everything together - onion- garlic- coconut and spices. to a very smooth paste.
- Heat oil in pressure cooker or pan.
- Fry the chopped onions and potatoes. Once they turn golden brown, add the mutton pieces.
- Keep frying them till the rawness disappear.
- Add turmeric, red chill powder, curry leaves.
- Keep sautéing. For 5 minute more.
- Add the masala paste. Stir well. Add little water and keep sauteing for another 10 minutes.
- Add the garam masala, tamarind extract, add more water. Mix well.
- Close the pressure cooker and let it get cooked on low heat upto 3-4 whistle or till mutton pieces are soft and they easily fall off the bones.
- Check and adjust the seasonings. Add the jaggery powder at this stage if using.
- Give a nice stir and serve with Neer Dosa.
To get good lacy dosa follow this - The pan for neer dosa should be hot at constant temperature. Do not lower the heat through out the process.
The batter should be very thin of buttermilk consistency. Keep adding water and watch closely the consistency.
Do not place the neer dosa one above another. They get clumped together when hot. Once cooled sufficiently, you can stack them.
After every dosa, rub the pan with wet cloth.
Try to keep a close eye on the neer dosa. They should not be crispy. Neer dosa are lacy, milky cotton y soft texture.
Pour the batter only once. So adjust your ladle size accordingly.
For Mutton gassi - usually dried coconut is used. If you dont get it, use fresh grated coconut but the one that is a day old (in the fridge) . Refrigeration takes away the moisture from the fresh coconut. That will be the best for this recipe.
Stay hungry for more,