Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicken and iffles

There is a wondrous, lesser known cuisine for the gluten-free diner - South Indian. So many wonderful flavorful options, like dosas and idlis. These are made with a batter of slightly fermented ground rice and urad dal (lentils). Dosas are made into thin crispy crepes typically filled with a dry potato curry, but they also make them filled with all sorts of things - even jack cheese at one local South Indian restaurant! Idlis are steamed in small metal bowls. When done right and fresh, these are pillowy, moist and tangy. Both are typically served with a thin soup called sambar and a variety of chutneys.

Around here, our Indian groceries all sell dosa and idli batter already made. One of these days I will attempt to make the batter but we can't keep from buying the premade batter for quick weeknight meals. One night I was spooning the batter onto my nonstick pan, and carefully using the back of the ladle to concentrically spread the batter as thin as possible. It takes a bit of time, as dosas are best when they brown, but my kids were eating through them faster than I could make them. So, I gave up and just threw some batter in the waffle iron.

Eureka! Behold iffles and wosas. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, gluten free, and if you live near an Indian grocery that sells batter - the quickest dish you can make. This is a real kid pleaser and with the lentils in the batter, has a better nutritional profile than most gluten-free baked goods. Just spoon 1/4 cup of batter into a non-stick waffle iron, and cook until golden brown. Note that this batter cooks a lot faster than waffle batter. If you are using a dosa mix (from a powder) do be careful as many are not gluten-free.

Tonight we played on the ever popular chicken and waffles - tandoori chicken and iffles. We served this with curried bok choy from our CSA box. The kids scarfed down everything, and leftovers were made into a tomato based curry with leftover chicken and chard, again with our iffles. Kids scarfed that down too, and took the last bits for lunch today.

I bought the idli rice and urad dal to make my own batter - I'll let you know how it works.


Tandoori Chicken


  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 T ginger
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 t chili powder (I used ancho)
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 t fenugreek powder (you can skip if you don't have it)
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 3 T oil

  1. Mix all ingredients, and spread over chicken. I covered 5 pounds of bone in chicken pieces with the marinade. 
  2. Marinate in refrigerator for 1-8 hours. 
  3. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. 
  4. Preheat grill to medium heat. 
  5. Wipe off marinade, and grill over medium heat about 10 minutes, until browned on one side. 
  6. Flip chicken and finish cooking until the juices run clear. Don't overcook it!
  7. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


  1. Wow... Lovely recipe for the lovely contents i got from the big indian store.

  2. Sounds delish! Thanks for the info!

  3. An easy way to do Dosa..well the way I do it is to mix urad dal flour and rice flour to make the batter. I add in a tsp or so of fenugreek powder as well for that authentic taste. Just do it overnight, let it ferment and add salt before you make the dosas. The reason I started doing it this way was because it is hard to get that real texture of the batter with the blenders here. You know authenticity is hard to remake, lol! Good luck I hope this helps.