What’s In A Name?

Maybe this blog’s name has got you intrigued. Well, I sure hope it has! As it happens, dosa and clafoutis are at the very top of my daughter Minette‘s long list of favorite foods.

Dosa, a Southern Indian staple, is a sort of crêpe made from a fermented batter whose main ingredients are rice and urad dal (split mungo bean). Because Cleveland is not exactly a tropical city, making dosa here is a three-day process. On the first night we let all the ingredients soak in a large bowl of water. On the second night we grind the soaked ingredients three times then we let the batter ferment at least 24 hours. If the weather is really cold we follow Aachi‘s advice and place the bowl of batter in our oven, turned off. It really helps speed up fermentation. On the third night we make dosa in our large pan. We eat dosa with sambar, a lentil-based vegetable stew, or with a potato filling and chutney. The latter is called masala dosa and this is a pretty good recipe for it.

Clafoutis, on the other hand, is a classic French dessert at the intersection of flan and cake. Some say it can be made with all sorts of fruits. I am not going to argue about that but I remain very partial to its most traditional version, with black cherries. (I am not a purist though and I can definitely live with pitted cherries in my clafoutis, unlike some of my orthodox French friends.) Although summer is the clafoutis season par excellence, I make clafoutis around the year and have received no complaint from Minette and Appa so far. My recipe is here — yes, it works very well with frozen cherries too.

Food matters to me and my family. Choosing it. Making it. Sharing it. Talking about it. It brings us comfort and pleasure but it is also a way to, quite literally, absorb and combine our heritages. It brings us joy that she is so fond of the French and Indian dishes we cook at home. It is a significant facet of our life as a multicultural family. So “Dosa Clafoutis” came up as a pretty good way to encapsulate our experience, early on in my thinking about this blog. I have not found a better name since.

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