A majority of my ancestors were farmers, they mostly grew rice & lentil crops in their farmland. Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather became the last agriculturist of our family due to several reasons such as scarcity of water, lack of manpower, declined profitability, etc. Earlier there were large amounts of nutrient-rich broken rice and broken lentils kept inside kudhil (a gigantic earthenware used to store foodgrains) in my grandfather’s house. Since those small uneven particles of rice & lentil (kurunai) could not be sold in the market, they were used by our grandmother for making upma, payasam, kanji, dosa, etc. She used to make kurunai dosai often as she found it as one of the fastest ways to use up those leftover kurunai.
Kurunai dosai is a traditional savory crepe prepared using the batter made of broken rice and broken black gram. Since black gram is beneficial to women’s health particularly to strengthen their hip bones, kurunai dosai is often served to young girls & pregnant women along with the sweet made of black gram & palm jaggery (ulundhu kali).
Nowadays it is almost impossible to get those broken rice & broken lentils, so we are using regular rice & de-skinned black gram lentils for making kurunai dosai. Since kurunai dosai does not go well with mildly-spiced chutney or idli sambar, it is usually served with hotter chutney made of red chillies & raw shallots (pacha vengaya chutney) mixed with copious amounts of cold-pressed sesame oil (chekku ennai).
Instead of adding sesame oil into the chutney, some like to take this chutney along with curd (yogurt).
We also serve kurunai dosai with spicy coconut chutney & garlic-chilli powder (poondu milagai podi) particularly to children as they don’t like such a spicy chutney with pungent shallot flavor.
Kurunai dosai is one of the most favored breakfast due to its unique aroma and it is a specialty dosa prepared in every household in Tirunelveli & Kanyakumari districts. Now the recipe for kurunai dosai as below:
|Idli rice||4 cups (approx. 800 g)|
|De-skinned black gram (whole/split)||1 cup (200g)|
|Fenugreek seeds (vendhayam)||1 tbsp|
|For making dosa:|
|Sesame oil (nallennai)||as needed|
First we need to soak the rice for 4 hours, and lentils & fenugreek seeds for 1 hour. Then grind them separately in a wetgrinder, mix both the batter along with salt and allow it to ferment for 8 hours. You may refer here for some essential tips for preparing perfect batter for idli/dosa.
With this batter we can make both spongy dosa (uthappam/ pancake) and crispy dosa (crepe) as shown below. You can also refer the dosa making tips here. Kurunai dosai is more delicious & flavorful when served hot.
Any spicy tangy chutney or kuzhambu goes well with kurunai dosai, so we can use kara chutney, pulikuzhambu, sambar, or idli powder as accompaniments. You can check out the recipes of the commonly served accompaniments for kurunai dosai like spicy shallot chutney & flavorful garlic-chilli powder in the next page.