Masala Dosa is special!! Can’t deny that. But, consider this – Dosa is a carbohydrate rich dish (an excellent dish, but made primarily from rice). If we pair it with potato – a high-glycemic, high carbohydrate ingredient, our sugar levels will skyrocket. So, can we get a satisfying masala dosa without potato? Yes, we can. If we preserve the essence of the dish, a change in the vegetable may even go undetected.
Understanding the Recipe
A masala curry served with dosa or puri has a few requirements. 1) The key ingredients that give its unique tastes are – spice from ginger, green chillies, onions and crunch from roasted nuts and dals. 2) The end curry should be of soft, mashy consistency but with little chunks to scoop with the dosa or puri.
If we can preserve the above 2 qualities but substitute potato with a low carb vegetable like zucchini, you can preserve the authenticity of the recipe and make it healthier.
Zucchini instead of Potato
1 cup of cooked diced zucchini has only 42 calories compare with 1 cup potato has 133 calories. The total carbohydrate is also a low 9g per cup versus 31g per cup for potato. That’s a fantastic swap to lower calories as well as carb count!!
Walnuts instead of cashews
Cashews contains more carbohydrates than most nuts, mostly in the form of starch. Use walnuts instead, that is a source of omega-3. It may be a small amount , but vegetarians should take any opportunity to consume omega-3 in food form when possible.
The original recipe requires us to boil and mash potato separately to get it ready for masala. But, in the upgraded version, zucchini is soft enough to get cooked directly in the pan. It takes less time (~12 minutes) and there is one less pan to wash, yay!!
Step by Step Photos
Upgraded Masala for Dosa or Puri Recipe
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 Tblsp
Chana Dal – 1 Tblsp
Hing (Asafoetida) – 2 pinches
Ginger – 1 in (finely minced)
Green Chillies – 1-2 chopped (based on your family’s spice level)
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Walnuts – a handful
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup chopped
Zucchini – 2 medium size peeled and diced
Onion– 1 large (sliced thin and long)
Frozen green peas – 1/2 cup (optional – bumps up the protein level)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put handful of walnuts in a sheet pan, roast in the oven for 10 min.
Add oil to the pan.
Add mustard seeds, wait till they pop. Then add the chana dal, urad dal and hing.
Add sliced onions, minced ginger and chopped green chilies and saute for a couple of minutes. No need to brown them, just a quick saute is enough.
Now add chopped zucchini, peas, turmeric powder and salt.
Close the lid and let it cook for about 8 minutes, opening the lid to stir every 2-3 minutes. .
Once the curry achieves the desired consistency, add walnuts and chopped coriander leaves and mix.
Ta-da!! Upgraded masala curry ready.
I know many of you may have your doubts about tinkering with tradition. You may think, “it is not going to be the same” or “We only make it once in a while, why change it?”, etc…But, what if a cuisine is an evolutionary concept and not a fixed set of ideas? Our revered idli (a brilliant dish, btw!!) has only been around, according to history books since 8th century. Until jaggery and sugar became cheap and available (around 18th century), sweets were not a regular item in menus. Nothing is set in stone, lifestyle changes, availability of food changes and correspondingly cuisines too. Now, at 2017, given that the incidence of diabetes and heart disease is on the rise, why not adapt our cuisine to make it easier on our bodies?
Do try this technique or try using other low-carb veggies instead. How was it? Were you happy with the swap? Or disappointed? Either way, let us know the results. Post your thoughts, ideas or photos of your dishes either here or on my Facebook page. The community will benefit from your input. I look forward to it!!