Cattail Pollen Dosas
Cattail pollen pancakes are a necessary part of my summer ritual. No year is complete without a tall stack of their sunny yellow goodness. The challenge with cattail pollen comes in finding fun ways to use it without obscuring its delicate flavor. On its own, cattail pollen doesn't taste like much. But a little heat and steam is all it takes to wake up its milky/grassy/floral aroma. Cattail pollen also seems to excel in starchy goods, whether mixed into pasta dough or sprinkled atop basmati rice as it steams.
Over the last year, I've discovered a new dish that makes cattail pollen sing. My buddy has gotten me addicted to her homemade dosas, which are thin Indian pancakes made from rice and lentils. I like them so well that I always have some dosa batter sitting in my fridge, ready to become a quick snack or part of a meal. At some point, it only seemed natural to try a little cattail pollen in my dosas. Now, I think cattail pollen dosas will also become a part of my summer ritual.
If you are new to harvesting cattail pollen, or need a refresher, refer back to this post, which contains detailed instructions on how to maximize your yield.
Cattail Pollen Dosas
|Eek, bad photo alert!|
3/4 c. brown rice
3/4 c. white basmati rice
1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cattail pollen
1. In a large bowl, cover the urad dal, rice, and fenugreek seeds with water by at least 3". Let them soak overnight. After they've soaked, rinse them several times with fresh water, until the water drains away clear.
2. In a blender, buzz up the soaked urad dal, rice, fenugreek, and salt with enough water to make a smooth mixture the consistency of thin pancake batter. Pour the batter back into the soaking bowl, making certain there are a few inches of headspace in case the batter rises. Cover, and place the bowl in the oven with the light on for at least six hours, but it may take as many as 12 hours for the batter to fully ferment. The batter will go from smelling like raw vegetables to smelling toasty and yeasty. It will also be slightly bubbly. My buddy taught me to enjoy a somewhat sour dosa, but if you'd prefer yours not to be so sour, don't let it ferment so long.
3. Just before cooking, whisk in the cattail pollen.
4. Here's the tricky bit. It takes some practice to learn to make dosas thin and lacy with bubbles. Get as close as you can. Heat a griddle or well-seasoned cast iron pan to medium-high. To form dosas, pour a ladle full of batter onto the cooking surface, then use the back of the ladle to spread it into the thinnest possible round. After the batter has set and tiny bubbles have formed, lift up an edge of the dosa and drizzle a tiny bit of ghee underneath. Let it continue to cook until it is lightly brown on the first side, and then flip it and let it get golden on the second side, too.
5. Eat these plain or with a tiny bit more ghee. Remember what I said about cattail pollen having a delicate flavor? Don't ruin it after all your hard work! Enjoy these dosas fresh off the griddle, and be certain to take deep breaths of their aroma as you eat them. If you don't think you can use all the batter, it keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.