Remember that mantra: adding garam masala to a dish does not make it Indian? Neither does adding curry powder. Seriously.

I wonder if your world was rocked by the wave that was unleashed onto the net in the form of Indian dosas? Apparently, the recipe was from a cookbook. Great! Personally, I think the recipe should have been left there - in the cookbook, that is. Those who buy the cookbook will be far fewer than those who will now find the recipe online.

One more time: Adding curry powder to a pancake does not make it Indian. And, it certainly does not make it a dosa. There are many different types of dosas: the real deal made from fermented batter of ground urad dal and parboiled rice; instant dosas made from various flours; adais made from a spectrum of beans. There are stuffed dosas and there are spicy dosas with onions, cilantro, green chillies and even ginger. But, don't take my word for it, check out Srivalli's Dosa Mela and be totally overwhelmed.

That's not to say that I have not added onion, green chillies and cilantro to a boxed pancake mix. The first time I did that and placed the steaming result under my sleepy husband's nose:
Huh? What's this?
Eat it with the coconut chutney. Did you like it?
Yeah, but what is it?
Just eat it.

It had no name. I don't call it an Indian dosa, although uttapa - everyone not from Maharashtra, feel free to add an 'm' to make it uttapam - would have been more like it. I don't even call it a pancake. It's the result of a quest for savory breakfast food, a kind of strange east-meets-west fusion food. Blasphemy? Feel free to tell me like it is. But notice that I don't have a recipe for it on my blog. And I certainly don't call it Indian anything. Not Dosa. Not Uttapa. I don't even call it American.

So much heartburn.

Perhaps, I have the right remedy for it.

Jeera Goli

  • 2 tbsp amchur (dried mango powder)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 5-6 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt to taste
  1. Toast the cumin on a griddle or a cast iron pan at medium heat, stirring frequently until it darkens. Take care that it does not burn.

    Dry toasting cumin
  2. Allow to cool and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Five ingredients
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, reserving 2 tbsp powdered sugar. Taste the mixture. If it is too tart for you, add some more powdered sugar from the sugar you set aside. Make sure you have at least 1 tbsp powdered sugar in your reserve to roll the jeera goli in.
  5. Add the lime juice and stir, bringing it together like a dough.

    Makes about 1/4 cup worth
  6. Don't be tempted to add more lime juice when it looks like it won't come together. Use your hands and bind it into a ball.
  7. Pinch off a very small amount and press it together several times until it can be formed into a ball or goli.

    So we had some fun as the sun set
  8. Toss the goli in the reserved powdered sugar and set out on a plate to dry.  Typically these should be dried in the sun but I skipped that step as the sun was setting and they dried plenty just by sitting out on the table. Thank you, dry Colorado weather.
  9. This mixture will make anywhere from 100 jeera goli to 150 jeera golis, depending on the size of your golis.
  10. Store in an air-tight container and pass it around after a rather satiating meal. Or at any other time, just because.
  • I find it easier to use my fingertips than my palm to roll the golis as they are so teeny. 
  • If you like, you could exercise quality control and ensure that the golis are all of a similar size. As you can see, I had helping hands and we decided not to bother.
  • Don't be tempted to add a lot of powdered sugar as that will override and kill the fragrance of powdered cumin. 
  • I had a huge bag of limes - to make mojitos for my Book Group on Thursday - so I did not feel like buying a lemon. Next time though, I will try it with lemon juice.
  • The golis will darken in color slightly and most of the powdered sugar coating will be absorbed into the goli as it dries.
Tangy balls of delight

Jeera goli is usually eaten as an after-dinner digestive. I eat it any time I need a quick zing to break the monotony of the day.

Perfect for the party, no?

Happy Anniversary, Anita! I promise you these jeera golis will reduce the heartburn of doing a round-up!

A Quick Update to say that I have issues with the recipe, not with the group of people or any person that participated in the challenge!


Srivalli said...

It's like calling a dosa topped with cheese as Pizza!..:(

jeera goli is superb..never knew it can be done at home with such ease..thanks!

taste traveller said...

I'm a little torn on the dosa thing - it's part of the daring kitchen & I think it's great to get people to try new things, but I agree - a lot of the "dosas" out there this month are not worthy of the name. Having said that, I'll be making my version this week, too!

musical said...

Desi ishtyle crepe/pancake? I always make variations of these for weekend b'fast. Last week it was makai aata+besan+rice flour+onion+green chillies+shredded carrots+cilantro :). Like, add whatever you fancy, always works for me :).

Love the jeera goli :).

musical said...

PS: I don't think it's a blasphemy to make something that the whole family enjoys together :).

I don't know if i can call my recipe a real pooda/cheela or not, may be i can name it as a missa cheela/pooda? Either ways, it tastes darn good and is very Indian, me thinks.

cybergabi said...

I'm all for crossover food. I love it when people are creative with food - as I am frequently myself.

In a UK sushi parlor I once had Italian (!) maki rolls - sushi rice in a nori wrap, with a mozzarella-tomato filling and a pesto dip. I loved it. It was delicious.

In the end, all great recipes have been results of a bit of experimenting. It's not 'natural' to mix certain ingredients with others.

Last night I had honey-glazed fried brussels sprouts, seasoned with onions, garlic, cilantro and chili pepper flakes, with my mashed potatoes. It was a FEAST. I bet there are few people who ever tried that one before, and am almost certain you won't find it in any cookbook (or online). But it was really delicious.

Just be creative - it doesn't always yield great results, but experimenting is so much fun!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I did see the recipe for the Daring Cooks and asked an Indian DC if it was really an Indian Dosa!!?? Yes - I did not speak up to say that this is NOT and Indian Dosa and even if the cookbook says it is does not make it a dosa. I guess shame on me!

However, I do have to say this that I was very pleased with what came out of the challenge. For even though it's nothing near to a real dosa it still got people to think out of their boxes and maybe take a first step towards finding out what a real dosa is. Better than not taking the step at all.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

You've stirred up the batter with this one. :)
So that's how you make jeera goli. Would you use jaggery instead of sugar if it was available?

I guess this "dosa" episode is a bit like our Indian "Gobi Manchurian". ;-)

Finla said...

You are a bold lady taking up this dosa subject which is indeed flying around.
I am sure going to make this goli whein I have a bit of a spare time as I always have heartburn and I just pop a tablet to my mouth, the recipis looks easy and it is healthier than popping a kinds of a pill.
Will let you know when i make them.

Nandini Vishwanath said...

I need to catch up on the dosa story from other blogs. Like I said, I just came to know it was dosa like thing, but didn't know it was actually the 'dosa'

I think this is a super creative entry for Anita! I'm still thinking about it :(

Sanghi said...

I think this is like Haajmola.. I love that tangy digestion balls. Nice idea..! thanks for sharing! Do check Dubai Palm islands tour in my World food treat blog..!

Thistledew Farm said...

Love your pictures - made me want to come over for supper...I could smell the spices, mmmmm yummy.

Shilpa said...

Loved to read this Manisha. Indian dosa with curry powder?? thats something :).

Love the golis. I remember eating them while growing up. Didn't know how to make them.

Unknown said...

Lovely post, Manisha! and innovative entry for the party...

Jhonny walker said...

I love these balls..now thanks to you I can even make them!!

TeaLady said...

Yeah, I'm a DB cook and I knew it wasn't a 'real' dosa, but it was fun to make anyway. Sometimes we make do with what we have and some of us don't have access to the right ingredients.

I appreciate your comments on our dosa tho.

Desisoccermom said...

Ok, I did not know that the jeera goli I ration out for myself after dinner can be made at home. I always stock pile it when I visit India but it doesn't last more than six months. Next item on my to do list -- make jeera goli.
Love a good rant and love the comments it generates even more. Since I already ranted twice in a row on my blog, I will leave the dosa (?) alone.

Rachna said...

wow love the recipe, never knew we could make jeera golis at home with such ease, maza aa gaya how about using imli in it too?... thank god i make such pooda's too with musy like throw anything togethor: besan + little sooji, onion + mirchi + methi ...we made this while we went camping last week!! thanks for the recipe manisha!

TheCooker said...

Maybe calling it a 'dosa' is stretching it.
But such cross-over/ fusion food doesn't bother me much nowadays.
My father has a nifty term for it, he calls it the 'chicken-chowchow-makhanwala-curry' cuisine!

Soma said...

That was a bad joke played on Dosa. Wherever I encountered them i mentioned that those were nothing like dosa... tho' they looked pretty & all.. I wonder why people don't dare to google atleast once before they cook up some name they have never heard of before.. well don't know whom to blame.

Arjun has been planning & poking me to make Churan (his favorite from jaipur) for many years now.. the goli is probably the closest thing, but I think we should really get the anardana accumulating this season for the churan. thanks for the inspiration!

Pelicano said...

Your dosas look good! What brand of curry do you recommend?

[runs for cover]

Nabeela said...

I couldn't have said it better Manisha!
I came across the abomination on blogs only today and was horrified at what was being called a dosa. And when did coconut chutney look like that??!!

Sonia said...

Oh...Thank you very much Manisha for this Jeera Goli recipe. I used to pop anytime in a day in India. I completed forgot this beautiful thing...thanks for reminder and recipe. Your Jeera goli have exactly same shape and looks what I had before.

amna said...

i commented on one blog sporting the 'dosa' that her creation looked stunning but its nothing like a dosa. then i saw similar ones sprouting up all over and sighed since i dont have the time or inclination to go to each and say 'liar' or similar stuff.

probably ppl dont realise it but seriously, baking powder and curry masala in dosa batter? *shudder*

now let me go look at your jeera goli

Nirmala said...

True. Me too go confused on the naming part. As pancakes contain eggs no way to compar them with a dosa. Forget that but you are such a dear to share this recipe. You know I lived on these golis from a super market near my office whole of my 2nd pregnancy. I love it and the thouht of it makes me drool. Yeah will make this for sure but no more pregancies ha ha!

Miri said...

I would never even have imagined that these could be made at home - or rather that someone would. I have for, as far as I can remember, picked these up from our neighbourhood Gujju store.. kudos!

Anita said...

I don't think I can add much...I don't much care for fusion in the first place. Mostly because I am still trying to understand what traditional is. If Pel's recent post is anything to go by, then I have a lot of 'understanding' to do before I can attempt fusion!

There are dishes that are inspired, and then there is stuff that is neither-here-nor-there...but then I am biased...in favour of 'tradition.'

Oh, thanks for coming to the party. These golis may be just what everyone needs after our party binge! [I never even thought about making these at home!]

Bong Mom said...

I don't have too much knowledge about dosa varieties, but googling the keyword landed on a blog page which made dosa with flour as part of Daring Cooks. That does meet the Dosa commandment, right ?
Now I first heard about Dosa with Wheat flour from Mahanadi -- it was called Goduma Dosa. I have often followed her recipe to make that easy no-fuss dosa and I do add garam-masala or pickle to the batter at times ;-)

That said Your Jeera Golis are fantastic, I get my share in bottles from India, never knew they could be easily(?) made at home

Anonymous said...

Wow! You made some of these goli things at home! They're addictive.

Mohan Arun said...

I think this is similar to Hajmola's candy?

Bhagyashri said...

Stuffing 'curried' beans into 'curried' pancakes & calling it Indian seems to be exactly the thing done nowadyas. Use curry powder & call it Indian seems to be the norm. I cook Indian 95% of the time & I never use curry powder.

The jeera goli looks yum & will definitely be made soon. As soon as the Hajmola pack, that I struggled to get from the Indian store, gets over :)

Indian Food Rocks said...

Srivalli, maybe Italian pizza can be your next ICC challenge. ;-)

Taste Traveller, I understand the camaraderie there is behind the whole Daring Cooks / Bakers / Kitchen challenge and I think that's really great. Stepping out of one's comfort zone is also great. Did you know that dosas are vegan to begin with? It's when you try to make a pancake into a dosa that you run into vegan issues.

Musy, more like firang style, no? What you make sounds like a variation of thalipeeth or even cheellas (sp?).

Cybergabi, the problem is not with crossover food but with crossover food masquerading as the real thing. It doesn't take much to google the net to find recipes for real dosas, and even instant dosas. The attempt to make dosas vegan was very amusing - there are no animal products in dosas: urad dal and rice. ;-)

Meeta, I hope you are right. What I fear is that this may soon be misunderstood in the western world as the dosa. And that dosa is not vegan. And that since it is Indian, it needs curry powder. There were a couple of folks who stood up for the real dosa. Did you see those posts? Kudos to them!

Aparna, as I told you over Twitter, this is my opinion and it needn't concur with everyone else's. Apart from the fact that I have several things against jaggery (see my reply to Arun as well as in the related post), I would not use jaggery because it would be difficult to roll the mixure into tiny balls. You would either need to heat it to melt it or use muscle power to pound it to a point after which it can be rolled. If you try it with jaggery, let me know how you liked it!

Happy Cook, why bold? Who is it that I should be scared of? I have no stakes in the popularity game and would rather state my opinion than conform.

Nandini, it was a pancake like thing, with curry powder. ;-)

Sanghi, Hajmola has a bunch of other stuff in it. This is relatively simple in comparison.

Melissa, some of my shakinghanditis is evident in these pics!

Shilpa, milk and baking powder, too.

Joyce, thank you!

Jhonny, tweak the recipe to your taste!

TeaLady, thank you for your graciousness. It's good to have fun with what you're doing, always. Access to ingredients can be an issue. However, ingredients can be ordered online in the worst case. Instant dosas or adais are easy to make. If DCs can dehydrate food and then grind it before cooking further, soaking and grinding beans shouldn't be a problem. Adais can be made with beans readily available in the regular grocery stores. I've lived up in the Adirondacks in a town of population 500, with one Grand Union, and cooked Indian with whatever I could find in that store. And, yes, I made dosas, too.

Jaya, there are many versions of jeera goli, too. Some have ginger powder, crushed black pepper and even kala namak in them.

Indian Food Rocks said...

Rachna, my Dad taught us to make 'gola', which we would put on the remnant of the agarbatti stick and suck on for hours. It is similar to the Jaggery-tamarind-cumin candy that is on Indira's blog.

TheCooker, I can't stop laughing! Chicken-chow-chow-makhanwala curry!

Soma, a little research always goes a long way, I agree! If you try making anardana churan, please let me know! I haven't tried that yet.

Pelicano, the kind that would never lets you forget that you don't put curry powder in dosas.

Nabeela, that sauce was chutney? I had no idea!

Sonu, they are delicious and we love them, too!

Nags, I agree with you! Spiced pancakes would probably have been a better description!

Nirmala, you are too funny! BTW, pancakes can be made without eggs.

Miri, I never know how long the ones at the Indian store, have been sitting on the shelf. When I make my own, I drool over the flavor of freshly roasted cumin.

Anita, are you going to retract "who brings golis to a party, anyway?" I hope so!

Bong Mom, I think you may have kinda missed my point and sorta proved it, too. ;-)

elaichietcetera, pray when will Sir Gogji put in an appearance? It's beena while since we saw him. And yes, these are mighty addictive!

Mohan, similar but simpler. Jeera goli has fewer ingredients than Hajmola.

Bhagyashri, I hadn't heard of curry powder till I moved here. It's a mild spice blend that is found easily in supermarkets and grocery stores. Sadly, it is believed that to make Indian food, you need curry powder.

Unknown said...

Clearly I missed the entire dosa explosion on the 'Net, but am fervently thankful for this, because to me as of yet, a dosa is still a dosa.
I love variations or riffs on established dishes but I quite agree with you about a fusion or variation dish masquerading as the authentic thing. Call it your version or something like that maybe. A curry risotto does not a pulao make, nor a mushroom pulao a risotto. But then, that is only my opinion. Many would disagree, I'm sure.

Shaheen said...

you made your own jeera gooli?! Wow! I've always just bought mine from the store around the corner.. but never knew it'd be so easy to make! I'm so excited to try this at home.

Anonymous said...

It *is* perfect for the party!! Love such tangy treats. I am out of my supply of 'churan like things'- so will definitely try this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Quick question- Can I use brown sugar instead of white?


maybelle's mom said...

Hey, this post got me thinking and I linked to you on my site.