Archive for the ‘Andhra Cuisine’ Category

All About Dosas


2011
05.06

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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

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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.
  • Spicy Paddu


    2010
    09.23

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    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.

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    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.
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    Pesarattu – Spiced Mung Dal Dosa(Crêpes)


    2010
    08.25

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    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

    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

    Gongura Dal


    2010
    08.12

    These lemony tart leaves are my all time favorite greens. There has not been a single time I’ve been to an Indian store and not bought them if they were available. And considering that I go to the Indian store every other weekend and also keeping in mind the fact that these perennial greens are often found all through the year, you can imagine how frequently I make it. Gongura or Sorrel/Kenaf as they are called in English are widely used in Andhra cuisines to complement flavors in dals and chutneys and to tenderize meats in non-vegetarian preparations. I‘m a big fan of them in the dals but, I go head of heals in love with them when they are fried with shrimp. No kidding. Wait till I post my Shrimp Gongura recipe. You’ll begin to accept that I hardly exaggerate ;).

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    The Gongura dal is popularly made with Tuvar or Masoor Dal. But if  you ask me I’d say use any dal you like and trust me every combination of these leaves and the dals give you a different flavor. So try all combinations before you decide on which kind you’d like to stick. You might end up liking them all just like I did.

    Ingredients

    ½ cup tuvar /toor dal 
    3 cups finely chopped gongura leaves 
    3 green chilies
    ½ cup chopped onions
    ¼ tsp turmeric powder
    ½ tsp red chili powder
    3 tbsp peanuts
    2 tbsp oil/ghee
    ½ tsp powdered roasted fenugreek seeds
    ½ tsp mustard
    1 dried red chili torn into two
    a pinch of asafoetida 
    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste (the authentic version calls only for garlic but i like the ginger-garlic flavor better)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Pressure cook dal and gongura along with turmeric, chili powder and salt and keep aside.
  • Dry roast peanuts and powder coarsely and set aside.
  • Heat ghee in a pan, add asafoetida, fenugreek powder, dried red chili and mustard.
  • When the mustard pops, add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add green chilies, ginger-garlic and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the powdered peanut and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add this to the cooked dal mixture, add water to desired consistency and bring to boil.
  • Serve hot with white rice.