Ragado - An Outdated Kitchen Appliance
When I was a kid, Dosa or polo was one of the staple items in the breakfast menu. There were different types of dosas made for breakfast, one of my favorites was the Neer Dosa, called Pan Polo in Konkani.
Neer Dosa literally means water-crepe, because of the consistency of the batter used to make the dosa or crepe resembles water - I would say more like milk.
One of my favorite child hood memories are of my mammama (my maternal grandmother) grinding batter on the Ragado(in Konkani) or Aatukallu(in Malayalam). I used to sit next to her, while she was grinding the batter for the next day, and talk to her non-stop about my day at school.
A Ragado is an old (mostly outdated) grinding stone. May be two generations back, this was a must-have equipment in the kitchen in every household, at least in south India. It resembles a mortar and pestle, but is much bigger in size. Grinding batter using a Ragado was a ritual by itself. Luckily or unluckily, I never had the chance to use it, though we had it at our house. But it was only mammama who had the privilege of using it.
You would put the soaked rice or udad into the mortar part of the Ragado and grind it using the pestle, by turning the pestle in the clock-wise direction by holding the top of the pestle.
I found a short youtube video to demonstrate how a Ragado is used to grind batter.
This made way to the electric grinder which was quite big in size but was motorized - no more using the Ragado to grind the batter. As time went on, smaller versions called the table-top grinder made way to the bigger sized electric grinders. Now, these are available to be used in the US - like this electric grinder and a smaller version called the mixer -grinder.
At my home, we used our Ragado for a very long time. But sooner we also caved in and started using the electric grinder. Ragado became an antique piece inside the house and after a few years, my mom made it into a beautiful pot for a flowering plant.
Coming back to today's recipe - Neer Dosa or Pan Polo is easy to make. The batter is made by grinding rice and coconut together into a smooth paste. Not much planning is required since you don't have to ferment the batter. I generally soak the rice at night and grind it in the morning - batter is ready to use. Since the batter is not fermented, any tangy coconut chutney, or south Indian style chicken gravy dishes would pair very well with Neer Dosa. These days, some restaurants in Bangalore & Mangalore serve this delicacy for dinner.
When I talked about this dosa to my husband for the first time, he had never heard of Neer Dosa. But when he saw me making it, he understood what I was talking about - in their family it is called "Veeshi Dosa" because of the "veeshu" or twirl you do with the skillet to make the dosa/crepe. Sonshine loves it - but he calls it mask dosa. Why? Becasue once when I made it, the batter did not spread evenly on the skillet and the crepe ended up looking like a mask (with two eyes and a mouth). For a three year old, this was the ultimate crepe to eat. 🙂 . And the name stuck.
So each of us calls it differently, but we all love this dosa. It also goes well with sweetened coconut (either with sugar or jaggery).
- 2 cups Long Grained Rice See Recipe Notes
- ½ Cup Fresh Grated Coconut
- Salt to taste
- Oil for Greasing
- Rinse & Soak the rice for 5-6 hours.
- Grind the rice and coconut in a food processor or mixer-grinder using a little water at a time. You would need approximately 1 cup water for grinding. Grind to very smooth paste.
- Transfer the batter to a bowl, add salt and additional 1.25 cups of water to adjust the consistency. After adding 1.25 cups water, the batter should resemble milk.
- Heat a non-stick skillet (with handle) on medium high heat and grease with oil. Wipe away the excess oil using a kitchen towel, if required.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter on to the hot skillet using a ladle.Unlike the plain dosa, you cannot spread this batter with the back of your ladle.
- Holding the skillet by handle, quickly twirl the skillet in the clock wise direction to make a very thin crepe.
- Drizzle a little oil on top of the crepe, cover with a lid and cook for a minute or two.
- Typically, the neer dosa is not flipped over. But, I flip the crepe over and cook for a few seconds.
- Place the crepe over a big inverted sieve or a colander to slightly cool it. This step prevents the crepes from sticking to each other on the serving plate.
- Serve with any tangy coconut chutney.