Sweet Potato Masala Dosai

Fall, and the fancy turns to root vegetables

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: expert
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Fall, and the fancy turns to root vegetables. Add to it the fact that my kids are more liable to like sweet than savory things. I decided to tickle their palates with a little sweet in the spice. Why not add sweet potatoes to masala dosai? Once I got over the mental hurdle of not being a very good dosai maker (friendly dosai batter in a tub to the rescue), I saw the light.. and a weekend dinner was born.

Guest Chef: Veeraraghavan Sundar


  • Sweet potato, cut in chunks – 2c
  • Red/white potato, diced – 1c
  • Chopped onions (optional) – 1/2 c
  • Chile pepper – 1-2
  • Black mustard seeds (kadugu) – 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida (hing) powder – Sprinkle
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  • salt – To taste
  • Green peas – 1c
  • fresh ginger minced – 1 tbsp


  1. Peel and chop the sweet potato, and onion. My wife happens to grow these eye-wateringly strong long chiltepin-like chile peppers in a pot in the corner by the kitchen sink. Darn convenient. I have to seed and rib even the ripe red ones prior to use. I would tell you to chop the plain potatoes as well. But I had some leftovers.
  2. Heated oil in my trusty Calphalon wok until it smoked a bit. Endured the tween’s warnings not to set off the smoke alarm this time. Popped black mustard seeds, and sweated the onion and chile pepper a little. Tossed in the cumin, followed by asafetida, sweet potatoes. If you were starting the regular potatoes from scratch I’d pop them in here.
  3. I tend to finish with garam masala and salt rather than start with them. I work with a milder variety (Kitchen King) and like this way better. Some sweet peas added a bright color and sweetness as well.
  4. I do my dosais (and pancakes, and french toast) on a cast iron griddle. It covers two burners, so I can parallel process or set up hot and warm zones. Typically, I tend to use some butter to release and sesame oil on the flip side of the dosai. The cast iron pan is narrower than traditional tavva-s, but I love the ease of use. Each dosai got a generous scoop or two of masala filling.
  5. The tweener warmed the cockles of my heart by asking for ghee mixed with sugar for his dosai. I quoted his patti’s “thosaikku ney thozhi kooda kudukka mattaa” at him. A little fresh yogurt and hummus with pine nuts added protein to his plate. Next time, I could aim to shed some sloth and make a nice mint-cilantro chutney from these pages.

But until then, it was a fun Saturday dinner..