Mar 13, 2011

Spicy Chettinad Cauliflower Masala for Dosas

So the story goes like this. A few days ago, a few of my friends visited me for a weekend from the bay area. During our 2 months of planning for 2 days of fun, one of the gals asked me if I make chettinad masala for dosas. And my reply was - not really but we sure can try. And that is how this recipe here was born. I quickly googled and the little I saw, all chettinad masala recipes had ginger, garlic and spicy chillies. Ok, that's a good start. 

And at this point, I have to take a detour from this story to another one. One from a few years back..actually many years. Our family friends of decades are Chettiars and we used to visit them at least once or twice a month. They made the best dosas and idlis ever. They had a cook in their house who showed me how she makes those super paper thin dosas. She basically would make the dosa and then scrape off all the excess batter from the top of the dosa. The only thing left on the griddle would be what's sticking to it. And when it just peels off beautifully from the well seasoned 'dosa kallu', it would be a super crisp paper thin dosa. And then that dosa would be served along with a couple of awesome chutneys and a cauliflower based masala. You'll see where this leads to. 

So, this dish below here may not even be authentic Chettinad cuisine. But, excuse my enthusiasm to call it just that. But, whatever the name might be, this is a keeper recipe for me. Jumping back to the original story, I made this the weekend my friends were here and it was a runaway hit. I've made it a couple of times again since then and the most toughest part is to keep my hands off it. Literally, I find myself picking it with my finger and licking it while I'm making dosas for the family. Its like a 'can't resist' thing going on here. 

Start off with getting  your basic ingredients in place.

1 cup of chopped onions
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
About 8-10 single pieces of garlic peeled but not chopped
1-2 tsp of chopped fresh ginger
1-2 chopped green chillies
A few curry leaves

Chop up some cauliflower into tiny pieces. Just cut them into thin slices and turn the slices around and chop further into little bits. 

In a pan, add 2 tsp of cooking oil. When hot, add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add 1 tsp of cumin seeds. And then add about 3-4 pieces of dried red chillies. 

Now, add all the good stuff in - curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute for a couple of mins until the garlic starts to brown up.

Then, add the onions and cook for a few mins until they turn translucent. 

Then. add the chopped tomatoes. 

Then, add the chopped cauliflower bits in here and mix well. 

Time for some seasonings. Add all of these below - 

1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder (heaped if you like it spicy!)
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp rasam powder (heaped..and this time its a must)
About 1/2 tsp sambar powder

Mix all the flavors well and let this cook for a few mins. When the masala starts to turn soft, pick up a masher and start showing your strength.

Once you mash it up nicely, add a couple of tsps of oil again and let it cook for about 5 mins.

Let it cook until you don't see individual pieces of anything in there. No separate tomatoes or cauliflowers. They will all be kind of mashed up together now. And you're done! You can add some chopped cilantro at the end. I wanted to but did not have fresh leaves at home, so just skipped that.

Now, how about some spicy masala - all kicked up and ready to go.

Spread them on your dosa while on the tawa. Fold and serve hot dosas with Spicy chettinad cauliflower masala.

Give me this every day of the year and I can eat it without complaining.

Thank you GG for asking me about this. I now have a new favorite masala!

Just for my sake, please make this in your kitchen today or sometime soon. And I too can then just imagine you standing there and finger-licking this! 

Enjoy. Peace out.


  1. hi,
    i have tried many of ur recipes but not commented here. i love ur vetha kulambu and do it often. this masala is also looking great. going to try it soon. thank you giving step by step recipes. it is really helpful for beginner like me.

  2. Loved it dear...looks super yummy and it looks like finger looking good as u said..

  3. I luv the masala going in ur dosas...bookmarked to try

  4. good one..nice change from the usual chutneys dosa combo.

  5. the cauliflower masala dosa looks lip smacking and delicious.

  6. The pic of dosa smeared with the masala is calling out to!!

  7. Slurpppp !!! that is real yummy, especially the second last click,spicy masala and crispy Dosa...U r making me drool here:-(

  8. Yumm, cauliflower masala looks simply inviting and droolworthy..

  9. I have tried making super thin paper roast too just the same way you've described above, only that I don't know what to do with the removed batter which so quickly gets cooked partially. I saved that separately and used in kuzhipaniyarams...sometimes that can get lumps here and there!
    The Masala you've made is super delicious!

  10. Slurp, mouthwatering here, awesome clicks....

  11. I love cauliflower masala dosas and thanks a ton Anu for this pictorial details. Looks yummy yumm and seeing tose dosas am hungry now :)

  12. looks delicious dear...
    love to give a try :)

  13. The masala dosa looks absolutely divine.. love the color of ur dosa.. yummy prep..

  14. WOw wow wow Anu ..super finger licking recipe.. seriously tempted in this morning.. wish u could pass me that masala dosa. And filling is absolutely making me drool like anything...

  15. What a coincidence!I have just posted a cauliflower masala dosa recipe too!Do let me know hwat you think about it.
    YOur version looks just yum..What with powders galore,mashing up (a la Bheema) and super thin paper roasts!Can I plan a trip to your place?

  16. every single word in the title appeals to me. this is my kinda masala!

  17. Anu, I have some dosa batter but no cauliflowers at home :( Am sure trying this after my next grocery trip.

  18. Oh goodness, lady! Looks amazing!

  19. Never had cauliflower masala your dish is super tempting.Waiting for some cauliflowers to try this out.

  20. I am privileged to have tasted this first hand!! Simply delicious !!! looking at it again its mouth watering.

  21. Masala Dosa with cauliflower stuffing looks tempting


  23. wow, that sure looks a great recipe for dosa as well as regular rotis :)

  24. Yummmm. I love cauliflower in any form. You had me right there. When we meet, Im going to come up with not just one dish for you to make for me. My farmaish list is gonna be quite long...don't tell me I dint warn you, and well in advance.

    Im so tempted to make this on Sunday, drop a huge dollop of home-made butter on my dosas so I can guiltily gorge on it and then have a lazy mid-morning Sunday nap right after!! ;) ;) Chettinad Cauliflower Masala I come.

  25. I love chettinad style of cooking. now that it is chettinad cauliflower masala, it looks so tempting. thanks for sharing :)

  26. Love cauliflower masala dosa like anything! I am drooling at your pics for past few mins :) Great recipe!

  27. Dear Anu,

    :Lovely lovely post and I love that its mashed up so well. Love the colours in the masal and especially the one where the masal is spread around the dosa!!!
    I have the cauliflower ready and waiting and the rice soaking!!!


  28. looks yumm !! happy cooking !!
    do check out my food blog :

  29. those masala's....recipe looks extremely yum...

  30. Hi. I am an ardent fan of chettinadu masala dosa. But i tasted it only from office cafeteria. Today i found this recipe and tried my hands on it. It turned out well.
    Thanks a lot for this one.


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