Yellow Bean and Spinach Dosas


April 17, 2020

These yellow bean and spinach dosas from the Cool Beans cookbook are easy and incredibly delicious. Serve with chutney for an amazing appetizer or meal.

Yellow Bean and Spinach Dosas

These sensational yellow bean and spinach dosas come from the Cool Beans cookbook by my friend Joe Yonan. Joe is the food and dining editor at the Washington Post, and is an incredible vegetarian cook.

Bean Lovers: This book is for you! And, for those of you who think beans are bland and boring, cook your way through this beautiful book, and you will see that they are brilliant, and so versatile.

This book is so timely as we navigate our way through this “Quarantine Cooking” period of life. We are all trying to make our money stretch further, use ingredients out of our pantry, and nourish our bodies. Beans are so cheap, and they are so high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients, and they fill us up! And, a bag of beans goes a long way!

This is the sexiest love letter to beans I have seen with exquisitely creative recipes, and stunning photography by Aubrie Pick. If you like beans, but want some more interesting ways to incorporate these protein-rich foods into your diet, you’ll find a ton of new ideas in Joe’s repertoire. Joe cooked with some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the country to develop the recipes for this book. This book goes beyond the expected soups, stews, tacos, salads, and dips. There are inventive recipes for breads, cakes, brownies, muffins, smoothies, cocktails, and more. And, the flavors…..WOW!

I cooked my way through this book, and there were a ton of recipes I wanted to share with you. But, as a dosa lover, I had to share these yellow bean and spinach dosas AND the two chutneys! Oh my…they are incredible.

If you want a show-stopping appetizer for you and your family (and the guests you may have over in 2022!) this is it!

The Best Grain-Free Dosa Recipe

Here’s what Joe said about these dosas:

Priya Ammu has taught me so much about the South Indian staple on which she has built DC Dosa, a little stand inside Washington’s Union Market with a fervent fan base. First, that there are many, many kinds of dosas. Like so many foods, they vary even from family to family, who use different lentils and other legumes, sometimes in combination with rice and with varying spices and fillings. Second, that you don’t even have to fill them, serving them instead with a combination of chutneys and sambar, a legume-based stew. Third, and possibly most important, that I could make them myself. As with crepes, it takes practice to get the spreading technique right, but the worst thing that can happen is you end up with something less-than-perfectly formed. It will still taste as good—trust me.

If you’ve ever sampled the divine dosas from DC Dosa, you already know how good these dosas are.

For those of you who have never had dined with dosa, here’s the scoop:

What is Dosa?

A dosa is a cooked rice crepe made from fermented batter that originally came from Southern India. As Joe says in his headnote, there are a ton of different varieties, and each region in India has their favorite base combo. But, traditionally, the main ingredients are rice and beans that are ground together with salt. Once you have your batter base, add any aromatics you like such as herbs (I love cilantro) and spices.

Dosa Recipe

Dosa ingredients vary from region to region. What I love about Joe’s dosa batter recipe, is that he is not using grains. Instead, to make his dosa batter, he is using a blend of mung beans (moong dal) and spinach with onion, ginger, chile, and cilantro.

Yellow Bean and Spinach Dosa Recipe
8 to 10 servings

  • 2 cups dried split mung beans (moong dal), soaked in water for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small dried red chiles (preferably Kashmiri)
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
How To Make Dosa
  1. Add the mung beans, ginger, chiles, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water to a high-speed blender, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until very smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of a pancake batter. Add a little more water if the batter is too thick. (If you use a conventional blender, you may need to add as much as 1/2 cup of additional water.) Stir in the spinach. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  2. Heat a large (11-to 12-inch) crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. If the pan is not nonstick, pour in 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and wipe it out. Use a ladle or 1/3 cup measuring cup to empty 1/3 cup of the batter into the center of the pan, and then use the back of the ladle or cup to quickly spread the mixture from the center, working outward in rapid concentric circles. The goal is to get the dosa as thin—and large—as possible, making sure the batter is spread evenly and not too thick, especially at the edges. Use a little more batter if needed to patch small holes but resist the urge to keep smoothing any areas that seem too thick; just try to get it thinner the next time. It’s fine if it’s not perfect!
  3. Working quickly, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons each of the onion and cilantro and a little of the chiles on the batter. Lightly sprinkle with some oil and use a spatula to press the toppings down into the batter. Cook the dosa until the edges are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen it if necessary, then flip the dosa over—using your fingers to pick it up on one side and flipping it with confidence. Use the spatula to help even it out if needed, then press with the spatula to sear the onions underneath the dosa and cook for another minute, then flip it again, transfer it to a plate, and fold it in half or in thirds like a business letter.\
  4. Serve the dosas immediately while hot (they lose some of their requisite crispy-edge-ness if they sit for long, especially if you stack them). Serve the dosa with the chutneys. Repeat with the remaining batter.
How To Serve Dosa

Dosa is traditionally served hot along with sambar or chutney. I’m sharing Joe’s Cilantro-Sesame Chutney and Tomato Peanut Chutney. These chutneys are really easy to make, can not only be served with these dosas, but also with tacos or over rice. I also love to make dosa burritos by stuffing the dosa with dal or eating the dosa with soups and stews.

Cool Beans Cookbook

If you want to learn about everything you can do with beans, this cookbook will be your bible.

There is a fantastic glossary of beans, as well as quick tips for how to use spices and other ingredients to enhance the flavor of beans in dishes. I also love the information on selecting, rinsing, soaking, and cooking beans, and guidance for using both canned and dried beans. To cook beans on the stove or with a pressure cooker? Or, what the heck do I with with aquafaba (the liquid from cooked chickpeas)?  Joe covers all of it.

But, the recipe sections is where the magic lies.

There are phenomenal recipes for soups and stews; burgers, wraps, and sandwiches; casseroles, pasta, and other mains; salads; dips and snacks; desserts and drinks; and condiments. And, the headnotes for each recipe tell lovely stories about the inspiration or person involved in each dish.

Some of my favorite Cool Beans recipes include:

  • Black Bean Sopes
  • Black Lentil Crackers
  • White Bean Tabbouleh
  • Tunisian Soup
  • Kabocha Squash, Chickpea, and Lemongrass Stew
  • Smoked Jackfruit, White Bean, and Mushroom Tacos
  • Lalo’s Cacahuate Beans with Pico De Gallo
  • Julia’s Deep Dark Chocolate Mousse
  • Chocolate, Red Bean, and Rose Brownies
  • Cardamom, Lime, and White Bean Bundt Cake
  • Salty Margarita Sour
  • White Bean Smoothies

These recipes are not only inventive, but packed with delightful flavors. I love this book so much.

RUN to your computer and snag your copy of Cool Beans and learn more about Joe Yonan.
Other Indian Recipes

Potato, Cauliflower, and Green Bean Curry
Aloo Gobi
Cashew Chutney
Okra Masala
Mango Lassi

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think of these dosas.

 

Yellow Bean and Spinach Dosas

These yellow bean and spinach dosas from the Cool Beans cookbook are easy and incredibly delicious. Serve with chutney for an amazing appetizer or meal.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword dosas, vegan, vegetarian
Recipe Tag Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

Cilantro-Sesame Chutney (Makes 2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3 cups firmly packed cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 habanero chile, stemmed and seeded, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, plus more to taste

Tomato Peanut Chutney (Makes 2 cups)

Dosas:

  • 2 cups dried split mung beans (moong dal), soaked in water for 2 hours, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small dried red chiles (preferably Kashmiri)
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup firmly packed baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

Instructions

To make the Cilantro-Sesame Chutney:

  1. Add the sesame seeds and 1/2 cup of the water to your blender, and pulse on a medium-low speed just a few times until the mixture is combined, but the seeds are mostly still whole. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water, cilantro, garlic, onion, lemon juice, chile, and salt and blend briefly again, just until combined but not too smooth. (If you overblend, the sesame seeds can turn bitter.) Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

To make the Tomato-Peanut Chutney:

  1. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until they start to pop, 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in the tomatoes, chile, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes collapse and exude their juices and the juices thicken, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in ½ cup water and the sweetener. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very soft, 8 to 10minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly.

  3. Scrape the tomato mixture into the blender, and add the peanuts and the salt. Blend on a medium-low speed for 10 to 20 seconds, until incorporated but still slightly chunky. Blend in up to 1/2 cup more water, as needed, to achieve a pourable, but thick consistency. Serve immediately, store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To make the Dosas:

  1. Add the mung beans, ginger, chiles, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water to a high-speed blender, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until very smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of a pancake batter. Add a little more water if the batter is too thick. (If you use a conventional blender, you may need to add as much as 1/2 cup of additional water.) Stir in the spinach. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  2. Heat a large (11-to 12-inch) crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. If the pan is not nonstick, pour in 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and wipe it out. Use a ladle or 1/3 cup measuring cup to empty 1/3 cup of the batter into the center of the pan, and then use the back of the ladle or cup to quickly spread the mixture from the center, working outward in rapid concentric circles. The goal is to get the dosa as thin—and large—as possible, making sure the batter is spread evenly and not too thick, especially at the edges. Use a little more batter if needed to patch small holes but resist the urge to keep smoothing any areas that seem too thick; just try to get it thinner the next time. It’s fine if it’s not perfect!

  3. Working quickly, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons each of the onion and cilantro and a little of the chiles on the batter. Lightly sprinkle with some oil and use a spatula to press the toppings down into the batter. Cook the dosa until the edges are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to loosen it if necessary, then flip the dosa over—using your fingers to pick it up on one side and flipping it with confidence. Use the spatula to help even it out if needed, then press with the spatula to sear the onions underneath the dosa and cook for another minute, then flip it again, transfer it to a plate, and fold it in half or in thirds like a business letter.

  4. Serve the dosas immediately while hot (they lose some of their requisite crispy-edge-ness if they sit for long, especially if you stack them). Serve the dosa with the chutneys. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Recipe Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Cool Beans by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Photo by Aubrie Pick © 2020.

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