Wild Masala Dosa with Sambar
Dosa is probably my favourite Indian street food, when I visited Bombay a few years ago I had one almost everyday! It's a thin crisp pancake made using fermented ground rice and lentils, a spiced potato filling and a sambar or spiced stew on the side. In the following recipe, some of the traditional spices have been replaced with ones from our wild native plants and we have replaced the traditional accompaniment, coriander chutney, with our alexanders based version to create a wild British/Indian street food treat! Please note: it is handy to have a crepe pan or Indian tava pan to cook the dosa otherwise a good, heavy based frying pan will suffice!
Tasty, nutritious, wholesome food made with our much-maligned, persistent, and ever-present edible friends: weeds.
Experiment with a wild green, mushroom, seaweed, berry, seed, flower, stem, or nut.
Go wild in the kitchen.
What you'll need to forage...
Alexanders leaves and stalks
The original name is 'parsley of Alexandria', which alludes to the intense parsley-like flavour of the green parts of the leaves. Use them chopped and added to dishes just before serving as you would parsley. Chop the stalks into small pieces and add to crunchy autumnal/wintery salads in the style of coleslaw and Waldorf or fry at high heat until crispy or slow at low heat until soft. Cooked briefly, they retain a pungent bitter flavour which takes some getting used to but which works well alongside other strong flavours, such as a a rich casserole or orange.
In times gone by was one of our native spices; commonly used before black pepper was introduced. It has an aromatic quality similar to that of black pepper, although it lacks the heat. These seeds also have distinct notes of juniper and have recently been used by some artisan gin distilleries.
These are wild mustard seeds which can be used in place of either black or white varieties in cooking, salads or to make mustard condiments. The mustard oils which they contain act as a preserving agent and enable the seeds to remain viable for long periods, which is why charlock is such a successful agricultural weed.
Wild fennel seeds
These mature seeds impart intense aniseed flavour year-round, add to sweet and savoury dishes.
Think of it like miniature c or green beetroot leaves- sea beet is the wild ancestor of both plants. Remove larger stalks and chop into salads; steam leaf blades/ smaller leaves as for nettles. Use as a side vegetable with pretty much any hard,savoury dish.
Alexander Seeds | Green
Wild Fennel Seeds
Alexander Seeds | Dried
Vegan | Season: Winter | Chef: Stephen Black
100g parboiled basmati rice
100g raw rice or rice flour
50g urad daal (these are oval-shaped lentils with their black skins removed, usually available from an Indian or Asian grocer)
1/2tsp alexander seed
3-4 medium-sized potatoes; peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes
1 brown onion, half and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, pureed
10g ginger root, pureed
1tsp cumin seed
1tsp charlock seed
1tsp ground coriander seed
1tsp turmeric powder
20g crow garlic, chopped small
Salt & Pepper
1. Soak the lentils and raw rice for around 6 hours or overnight.
2. Blend all the ingredients together adding water a cup at a time to make a smooth frothy batter. cover this and set aside to ferment overnight out of the fridge.
3. Once ready check the consistency, it should be thick but pourable, if necessary, add a little water.
4. Pour a little into the middle of the preheated pan, working quickly, spread it out evenly using a spoon or spatula to a very thin even layer, the dosa is only cooked on one side, once it starts to brown at the edges put some warmed potato masala (next recipe) in the middle, roll it up and serve straight away.
1. Boil or steam the potatoes until cooked through but not broken up,
2. Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a saucepan and add the charlock and cumin seeds, fry until the startcharlock to pop, then add the onions, a pinch of salt and cook slowly until caramelised and fragrant.
3. Add the turmeric and black pepper and ground coriander, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and ginger and a splash of water and cook out for 1 minute.
5. Add the potatoes and the crow garlic, stir all together and take the pan off the heat and reserve till needed.
1. Cook the onions in the coconut oil until browned and caramelised.
2. Add the pureed ginger and garlic, cook out for 30 secs.
3. Add the finally chopped chilli, add all the spices and cook until the fragrance is released, then add the vinegar and bring to the boil.
4. Next, add around 300ml water and all the prepared vegetables bring to a simmer and stir in the chickpea flour - this will thicken the sauce.
5. Season and bring back to a simmer, the veg should have a crunch and be slightly undercooked.
Wild Masala Dosa with Sambar
3 brown onions, halved and finely sliced
25g ginger root, peeled & pureed
50g garlic, peeled & pureed
2-3 green chillies
2g alexander seeds
2g wild fennel seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
50ml apple cider vinegar
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin rounds
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced into batons
30g sea beet
1 tbsp chickpea flour
Salt & Pepper