Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

All About Dosas


2011
05.06

IMG_9337

Dosas are yummy crêpes made from fermented batter of rice and black gram. These can be made and eaten in a gazillion different forms. I plan on updating this post as and when I make the different kinds and combinations of them. That’s why the title “All About”. The basic batter for most of them can be made using the below proportions. It is eventually what else you add into this batter and how you make the crêpes that give the various forms and names to this wonderful delight.

Ghee Roast – This golden brown super thin crisp crêpe roasted to perfection in ghee and served right off the flame with mouth watering coconut chutneys is probably the most simple dosa of all and my favorite. So, obviously it goes first in my list of recipes

Ingredients

3 cups idli /parboiled rice (if you don’t have it go ahead and use raw rice)
1 cup urad dal(skinned black gram)
1 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
2 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp mung dal
3 tbsp cooked rice(can be replaced with poha/beaten rice)
salt to taste
ghee for roasting the crepe

IMG_9349 

Directions

  • Soak the rice, methi and the dals together in sufficient water for about 6 hours.
  • Drain the water and grind to a smooth and soft batter. Add the drained water a little at a time while grinding is necessary. 
  • Transfer the  batter to a bowl.  Add water if the batter is too thick.  Add salt and mix well.The final consistency of batter should thickly coat a spoon when dipped into it.
  • Set to ferment in a warm dark place.
  • Time to ferment depends on the room temperature. Usually take 6 – 8 hours on a warm day.
  • The quantity more than doubles upon fermentation.
  • Mix the batter well.
  • Heat a skillet at low flame and smear it with 1/2 a tsp of  ghee (I use an onion cut horizontally into half, to smear oil on the skillet. This tends to give a nice aroma to the dosas).
  • Pour batter on to the center of the hot skillet, and gently spread towards the outside in concentric circular movement using the base of the ladle to form a circular very thin crêpe.
  • Increase the flame to high.
  • When you start noticing a golden brown color on the sides and the top surface has the lost the wet look, Turn the dosa over.
  • Allow to roast for half a minute or so on this side.
  • Fold and take of the flame.
  • Reduce the flame and repeat the process to make the next dosa
  • Serve hot with coconut chutneys or sambar.
  • April 22nd – Happy Birthday Papa


    2011
    04.22

    Recently Updated1

    The heart monitor beeped steadily. The morning nurse gently tapped the half full IV bag as she checked in on my Father. She nodded and left the room. The room reeked of disinfectant. I hesitantly looked at Mom, my forehead  shrunk into a frown. “So? He looks ok, right? Why did you wake me up?” I complained, annoyed at being shaken awake in the wee hours of the morning. I’d spent the night with Mom at the hospital. My Father, Papa as we called him, lay in the post operative ward at the National Institute of Mental Sciences, Bangalore, recovering from a brain surgery performed the previous day. I hadn’t slept well and my groggy self grumbled more than usual. Mom moved closer to me. “Papa opened his eyes this morning. He asked for you – first thing,” she whispered. “Asked for me? How come?” I said shifting on my feet, my discomfort made obvious. Mom shrugged. “Ok? What do I do now?” I continued, uncertain. Mom’s gaze dropped down at him. He stirred under the white sheets. His eyes struggled open as I looked down. He gave me a wan lopsided smile and raised his hand. I diffidently reached for it and curled my fingers around his big palm. He gripped it tight. As tight as a sick man could.  His eyes swelled up in tears. I tried to control mine. Eventually I relented, pursed my lips tight, and let it flood down my cheeks. I Bent down and kissed his ashen forehead. He heaved a long sigh of relief.

    As a fall out from years of being (or thought to being) ignored  by my Old man I grew up feeling very indifferent towards him. Though on rare occasions the apathy turned 180 and churned into strong emotions of resentment and frustration, most of the time I remained smug and  complacent around him with very little interaction and totally avoiding conversations beyond a yes, no or a maybe. I simply considered my Father to be my material provider which no doubt he did a pretty good job at. He definitely made sure We, his four girls – a niece and three daughters, received adequate mental and physical stimulation. We were allowed to take as many classes as we were interested, attend as many camps as we liked, had all the sporting goods and games sufficient to engage a battalion.  But obviously, there was a problem. With my 20-20 vision of envy, I saw my Father dote a tad bit more on his first-ling, my sister Sony, saw that he had immense appreciation for his bright child, Sophie and a soft corner for his niece, Jasmine. I realized I couldn’t forgive him because he was almost exhausted when it came to me.

    That early morning, in the summer of 1999 when Papa called for me I welcomed it with greedy, wide opened hands. I was glad he had though of me first. I know I was unhealthily needy  and I’m embarrassed of admitting it too. But truth be told, I was in a really dark place and desperately could do with some healing. I so wanted to stop criticizing what I didn’t understand. In my subconscious mind I knew Papa had very little time and I didn’t want to spend the rest of it looking away when people praised his liberal thinking, graceful humility and generosity. I needed to admit he was a noble man of whom I had every reason in the world to be proud of.  And so that morning when Papa trumped me, when despite  his pain and sufferings he thought it necessary to show his deprived child that she was important, that gesture was my catharsis and at long last it brought about the much necessary change in my perception of him.

    I realize my Father was just a human being like all of us.  Born with flaws and mortality. But in his short but exemplary life he helped me see that greatness could be achieved in spite of them.

    Four years later from that day, my Father lost his battle with cancer and died leaving behind many who dearly loved and missed him. And I, was one of them.

    Ragi Roti – Spiced Finger Millet Flat bread

    IMG_9355This gluten free South Indian flatbread is made with the most healthiest of grains – Millet. Rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins Millet is worth acquiring a taste for. Apart from all the nutrition it provides it also helps maintaining those svelte curves for you ;)! ..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     Vendakka Stew – Okra in Coconut Milk Gravy

    IMG_9420 

    Coming Soon

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ghee Roast – Plain Dosa

    IMG_9349 Coming Soon

    Ragi Roti – Finger Millet Flat Bread


    2011
    04.22

    IMG_9355

    This gluten free South Indian flat bread is made with the most healthiest of grains – Millet. Rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins Millet is worth acquiring a taste for. Apart from all the nutrition it provides, it also helps maintain those svelte curves for you ;)! Personally I love its taste. Unlike other healthy foods which I often find all so difficult to swallow, Ragi is something I don’t mind in any form. Be it in a porridge, crepe or as rotis I can make them disappear in no time. And like all foods that I like I made sure my boys acquired a taste for them too so that I can effortlessly get them to eat various forms of ragi whenever I have a craving for it :).

    Traditionally ragi rotis mainly call for onions, green chilie, curry leaves and cilantro. But I also add ginger, coconut, and any vegetables I have around like grated carrots, cooked liva beans or peas, fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves  .  This not only makes it healthier, my boys and I find it much tastier too.

    IMG_9381

    Ingredients

    1½ cups ragi/ finger millet flour
    1/2 cup rice flour (you can replace with ragi if you don’t want to use rice)
    2 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
    2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (the more the better) 
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    refined oil for roasting
    2 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped fresh baby dill (optional)
    1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
    1/2cup cooked avarai kaalu/surti papdi lilva (optional)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients except oil together with warm water and form a semi soft dough.
  • Make fist size balls from the dough. 
  • Grease a sheet of aluminum foil with a tsp of oil, place a ball of dough at the center of the sheet and carefully spread the ball with your fingers into a circular roti as thin as you like it to be.
  • Heat a flat griddle on medium to high flame and grease it with a tsp of oil.
  • Place the foil with the roti side down on the griddle. 
  • After 3- 4 minutes remove the foil (which will easily slide of the roti now because of the steam formed) and repeat the steps to make the next roti on the same sheet.
  • Meanwhile cover the roti on the griddle for 4- 5 minutes or until it is cooked on one side.
  • Remove lid, carefully turn the roti and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Serve hot with chutneys
  • Ragi Roti – Finger Millet Flat Bread


    2011
    04.22

    IMG_9355

    This gluten free South Indian flat bread is made with the most healthiest of grains – Millet. Rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins Millet is worth acquiring a taste for. Apart from all the nutrition it provides, it also helps maintain those svelte curves for you ;)! Personally I love its taste. Unlike other healthy foods which I often find all so difficult to swallow, Ragi is something I don’t mind in any form. Be it in a porridge, crepe or as rotis I can make them disappear in no time. And like all foods that I like I made sure my boys acquired a taste for them too so that I can effortlessly get them to eat various forms of ragi whenever I have a craving for it :).

    Traditionally ragi rotis mainly call for onions, green chilie, curry leaves and cilantro. But I also add ginger, coconut, and any vegetables I have around like grated carrots, cooked liva beans or peas, fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves  .  This not only makes it healthier, my boys and I find it much tastier too.

    IMG_9381

    Ingredients

    1½ cups ragi/ finger millet flour
    1/2 cup rice flour (you can replace with ragi if you don’t want to use rice)
    2 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
    2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (the more the better) 
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    refined oil for roasting
    2 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped fresh baby dill (optional)
    1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
    1/2cup cooked avarai kaalu/surti papdi lilva (optional)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients except oil together with warm water and form a semi soft dough.
  • Make fist size balls from the dough. 
  • Grease a sheet of aluminum foil with a tsp of oil, place a ball of dough at the center of the sheet and carefully spread the ball with your fingers into a circular roti as thin as you like it to be.
  • Heat a flat griddle on medium to high flame and grease it with a tsp of oil.
  • Place the foil with the roti side down on the griddle. 
  • After 3- 4 minutes remove the foil (which will easily slide of the roti now because of the steam formed) and repeat the steps to make the next roti on the same sheet.
  • Meanwhile cover the roti on the griddle for 4- 5 minutes or until it is cooked on one side.
  • Remove lid, carefully turn the roti and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Serve hot with chutneys
  • Chutneys Galore


    2010
    10.07

    2010-08-30

    Well it is a day over a over a month since I bought my new toy and evidently I’m not yet bored with it like I thought I would be (or should be) by now. And since the Wife/Mother has shown no signs of curbing herself, the Husband and Son have stopped making efforts to hide their annoyance as well. The boys hopelessly voice out their oh-no! not again shrieks while the obsessive and unrelenting South Indian in me serves them yet another variation of a fermented crêpe or a mutant version of some fried or steamed dumpling they just had a day before.

    The only saving grace for both the parties involved have been the savory chutneys. These spicy and tangy dips always manage to get the boys excited and hence lessens the burden of guilt for me, though obviously I don’t seem as bothered as I should be ;). In any case, when I see my boys serve themselves big mounds of these chutneys, which again is so not the right way of doing it and I have had to dig my nails into the wall and eat my own hair to refrain myself from lecturing them about the correct or rather the traditionally allowed proportions, I’m glad I look less evil than what I actually am.  When your boys act like the dinner or at least a part of the dinner you served was finger licking good you definitely can pass for a good Mother/Wife. Can’t you?? 😉

    Green Chili Coconut Chutney

    IMG_8613This mildly sweet, delicately spicy, greenish tinged elegance pairs very well with dosas and idlis. This chutney is my Mom’s recipe and something that I absolutely love..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Shallot Chutney/ Ulli Chammanthi

    IMG_8601This is another one of those chutneys that you continue to lick off of your plate even when the dosas and idlis are long gone..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Onion and Garlic Chutney

    IMG_8598 This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my most favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Simple Dal with Shallots, Ginger and Tomatoes For Idlis


    2010
    09.26

    IMG_8621

    This simple dal with shallots, ginger and tomatoes, is what I call the soul mate for idlis. I know idlis are officially married to sambars and no doubt they make a handsome pair. But according to me their divine, spiritual and natural love totally lies in this dal ;).

    I got this recipe from my sister Sophie, who I think tried to imitate something that my God Mother auntie M used to make and ended up with something  completely different but divinely delicious. And like I said before, if you have to do justice either to this dal or to the idlis you HAVE to get these two together. 

    Ingredients

    1 cup tuvar dal/ lentils (pigeon pea)
    1 8-10 shallots each cut into half
    1 cup tuvar dal/ lentils (pigeon pea)
    4 plump and ripe tomatoes chopped
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    1tbsp finely cut ginger julienne style
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    5- 6 curry leaves
    1/4 tsp tamarind paste or 1 marble sized ball of pitted tamarind soaked in warm water and pulp extracted (optional)
    4- 5 green chilies silt into half
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro (an absolute must)
    2 tbsp oil/clarified butter /ghee
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Pressure cook dal with turmeric, tamarind and half of the shallots with sufficient water.
  • Heat  oil add mustard and curry leaves.
  • When the mustard pops, add a spoonful of finely sliced ginger, sauté for 2 mins.
  • Add green chilies and remaining shallots and curry leaves.
  • Add coriander powder, chopped tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes are cooked and form a mush.
  • Add this to the cooked dhal and let it boil.
  • Garnish with with cilantro.
  • Spicy Paddu


    2010
    09.23

    IMG_8586

    I always loved the lunches my best friend L got to school. Her Mom was a very good cook and I made sure L reserved a major portion of her lunch box for me. She was/is one of my closest of friends and there is no doubt I loved her company and always wished to hang out at her place irrespective of the food, that is. But, the fact that her Mom was an amazing cook only amplified the desire a tad bit more ;).
    These fried dumplings called Paddu sometimes came in L’s lunches and were coveted by  not just me but, by many of  our other avaricious friends as well. So, my dearest pal L, bless her sweet sweet heart, always saved a few extra for me in a safe place before she opened her box to the wild hungry wolves around us. And though I knew that my portion existed elsewhere, I still fought with the rest to get my split in this share of the treat as well;).  You see, greed is a vice I’ve had tough timing dealing with all my life :(.  Anyway, what is worth mentioning here though is that, it was not just with food that L made sure that I got more than I deserve. She’s been there for me as a close confidant all through my life. My preteens, teens and now well into my adulthood. And though today we live across the globe from each other, every time either of us are having a plate of these yummy dumplings we never fail to think back of the good times we shared.

    L in the last few years has been having more than her warranted share of problems in life. And to all or any of you who have taken the pains to read through my monologue here, I’d be grateful if you could spare a moment to send over some good thoughts, spirits and prayers her way. Not because L is my friend but because she is a genuinely nice person and totally totally deserves it.

    IMG_8544 

    Ingredients

    1/3 cup urad dal/black gram
    1 cup raw rice
    1 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
    3 tbsp thin poha/parched (beaten) rice
    3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    2 sprigs of finely chopped curry leaves
    1 med sized onion finely chopped
    2 green chilies finely chopped
    salt to taste
    1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger

    Directions

  • Wash and soak dal, rice and fenugreek seeds for 5-6 hours.
  • Grind this mixture along with the parched rice to make a smooth batter.
  • Add salt and let the batter ferment overnight.
  • When adequately fermented the volume of the batter more than doubles its original volume
  • Add all the remaining ingredients into the batter and mix well.
  • On high flame grease the appakara (the mold used in making these dumplings) with oil.
  • Pour  1.5 tbsp full of batter  into each mold.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook for 3 – 4 minutes
  • When the bottom side is done, turn it over to the other side.
  • Drizzle a few drops of oil gain.
  • Let it cook for another 2 – 3 minutes
  • Remove from the pan and server hot with your choice of chutneys.
  • IMG_8591

    Idli / Steamed Rice & Gram Dumplings


    2010
    09.07

    IMG_8621

    One of the most common breakfast in the south of India are these steamed puffed dumplings called idlis. Made from fermented rice and black gram these provide sufficient crabs and proteins to get you through the day. Idlis come in different size, shape and texture. Whatever kind they may be, you know they are perfect when they simply melt in your mouth.  The key to getting your idlis really soft is to make sure the amount of water is just right, not too much nor too little. And secondly ensure the husked black gram is ground fine to a smooth and silky batter. Take care of just these two things and rest assured that your idlis will be mouth melting delicate.

    Now, how you grind the rice depends on what kind of texture you are looking for. If you like your idlis smooth and soft then make sure your rice is ground to a smooth and silky batter as well. And if you are looking for a soft coarse texture in your idli, use cream of rice (rice rava) instead. If you can’t find cream of rice in the store you can make it yourself by soaking rice in water for about 4 hours, dry it and then dry grind it to a corn meal consistency.

    Ingredients

    1 cup urad dal (husked blackgram) soaked in water for about 4- 5 hours
    3 cups rice rava (cream of rice)  OR4 cups of boiled rice (idli rice) soaked in water for about 4- 5 hours
    1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds soak along with the urad dal
    2 tbsp cooked rice (speeds fermentation)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Grind urad dal and methi and cooked rice to a very smooth fine batter adding little water at a time.
  • If using boiled rice grind it separately to a smooth batter as well, again adding little water at a time.
  • If using rice rava blend separately it with little water at a time and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Mix the dal and rice batter well. Add water if the batter is too thick. The consistency should be similar to a cake batter.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Set to ferment in a warm dark place.
  • Time to ferment depends on the room temperature. Usually take 6 – 8 hours on a warm day.
  • The quantity more than doubles upon fermentation.
  • Mix the batter well.
  • Grease the idli molds with ghee, and pour the batter into it.
  • Steam for around 10-15 mins.
  • Serve hot with chutneys or sambar.

  • IMG_8010

    Idli / Steamed Rice & Gram Dumplings


    2010
    09.07

    IMG_8621

    One of the most common breakfast in the south of India are these steamed puffed dumplings called idlis. Made from fermented rice and black gram these provide sufficient crabs and proteins to get you through the day. Idlis come in different size, shape and texture. Whatever kind they may be, you know they are perfect when they simply melt in your mouth.  The key to getting your idlis really soft is to make sure the amount of water is just right, not too much nor too little. And secondly ensure the husked black gram is ground fine to a smooth and silky batter. Take care of just these two things and rest assured that your idlis will be mouth melting delicate.

    Now, how you grind the rice depends on what kind of texture you are looking for. If you like your idlis smooth and soft then make sure your rice is ground to a smooth and silky batter as well. And if you are looking for a soft coarse texture in your idli, use cream of rice (rice rava) instead. If you can’t find cream of rice in the store you can make it yourself by soaking rice in water for about 4 hours, dry it and then dry grind it to a corn meal consistency.

    Ingredients

    1 cup urad dal (husked blackgram) soaked in water for about 4- 5 hours
    3 cups rice rava (cream of rice)  OR4 cups of boiled rice (idli rice) soaked in water for about 4- 5 hours
    1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds soak along with the urad dal
    2 tbsp cooked rice (speeds fermentation)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Grind urad dal and methi and cooked rice to a very smooth fine batter adding little water at a time.
  • If using boiled rice grind it separately to a smooth batter as well, again adding little water at a time.
  • If using rice rava blend separately it with little water at a time and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Mix the dal and rice batter well. Add water if the batter is too thick. The consistency should be similar to a cake batter.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Set to ferment in a warm dark place.
  • Time to ferment depends on the room temperature. Usually take 6 – 8 hours on a warm day.
  • The quantity more than doubles upon fermentation.
  • Mix the batter well.
  • Grease the idli molds with ghee, and pour the batter into it.
  • Steam for around 10-15 mins.
  • Serve hot with chutneys or sambar.

  • IMG_8010

    Pesarattu – Spiced Mung Dal Dosa(Crêpes)


    2010
    08.25

    IMG_7986

    These specialty crêpes of the Andhra Cuisine can be made of either yellow mung dal or from whole green gram.If you use the former you get a golden yellow crêpe and if you use the latter you’ll have yourself a green crêpe. Both taste great. Personally I prefer using the yellow dal vs the green, purely for aesthetics. Hey, after all your eyes do most of the eating don’t they?

    Unlike the traditional dosas these are relatively faster to make for the obvious fact that they don’t have to go through the long hours of fermentation. And since they are not sour, in my opinion you need to complement them with sour chutneys like the tomato, gongura or tamarind to excite you palates.

    Ingredients

    2 cups mung dal soaked in water for about 4 –5 hours, if you are using whole green gram, soak overnight 
    1 tsp roasted cumin
    1/2 tsp chopped ginger 
    6 sprigs of cilantro 
    1/2 cup raw rice soak along with dal
    3 green chilies
    1 big pinch of asafoetida
    1 medium sized onion chopped
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Add more water if the batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of ordinary dosa batter. 
  • Heat a skillet at low flame and smear it with 1/2 a tsp of sesame oil or ghee (I use an onion cut horizontally into half, to smear oil on the skillet. This tends to give a nice aroma to the dosas).
  • Pour batter on to the center of the hot skillet, and gently spread towards the outside in concentric circular movement using the base of the ladle to form a circular thin crêpe.
  •  Increase the flame to high.
  • When you start noticing a golden brown color on the sides and the top surface has the lost the wet look, Turn the dosa over.
  • Allow to roast for half a minute or so on this side.
  • Fold and take of the flame.
  • Reduce the flame and repeat the process to make the next dosa
  • Serve hot with sambar or tomato chutney.
  • IMG_7975