Ever since I spoke with Chef Devagi on the Singapore Noodles podcast, I’ve been dying to try my hand at making thosai with wholegrain flour. Thosai-making is an artform – the batter is naturally leavened and getting the thickness of the thosai just right takes practice. I found the recipe to be very forgiving and producing great, crispy results. The fenugreek seeds add a delicious fragrance, akin to maple syrup, and even though wholegrain flour does have a slight earthy bitterness, I really enjoyed the complexity of its flavour. The perfect thosai has a thicker, spongy middle and thin crispy sides.
Adapted from Devagi Sanmugam’s recipe on her Instagram account
105g urid dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
50g cooked rice
240g wholegrain flour (I’ve made this recipe twice with wholegrain teff and millet flour)
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of yeast (optional – I find that this makes for a fluffier thosai)
Ghee or oil, as desired
1. Combine the urid dal and fenugreek seeds in a bowl and rinse well.
2. Drain, then soak in fresh water for 4 hours.
3. Measure out 400g water from this soaking liquid. Discard the rest.
4. Blend the drained dal and fenugreek with the cooked rice and some of the reserved soaking liquid.
4. Stir in the teff flour and sufficient soaking liquid to form a thick batter that leaves a ribbon when poured (you might not use all 400g).
5. Loosely cover with a cloth and allow to ferment 8-16 hours or until the batter has risen and has a few bubbles on its surface.
6. Stir in the salt and yeast if using. Add a little water to thin the batter to a flowing consistency – it should not be thick enough to leave a ribbon.
7. To fry the thosai, heat a large pan (preferably cast iron). Grease it and wipe off excess oil. Add a large drizzle of water – you want to see the water immediately boiling and bubbling. Wipe off the excess.
8. Turn the heat to low and add a ladle of batter to the centre of the pan. Immediately draw concentric circles from the inside to the outside of the pan.
9. Drizzle over about 1 teaspoon of ghee or oil and fry on low heat until you can see the thosai turning brown. Slide an offset spatula or fish slice under the thosai. Transfer to a serving dish.