Mixed Vegetable Sagu – Karnataka Special Meals

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I am back to Blogging after what seems like ages though it’s actually been just a month. This week I will be posting three different thalis or combo menus. When Valli announced this theme, she was benevolent to allow us to post one recipe from our previous thali menus. So when I checked on the few thalis I posted, I realised I had not posted this awesome recipe of the mixed vegetable sagu from the Karnataka special meals I posted a while ago. The amazing thing about this sagu is that it has quite a few vegetables, is delicious, quite easy to make and best of all it goes with poori, dosa, rotis and rice. So what I do is make a big batch of it for a Saturday / Sunday and have it for breakfast with dosa, for lunch with rice / poori and for dinner with rotis. The meals seem different but involve less effort from my end and I can enjoy the weekend too. Yay!

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The Sagu is not very spicy and so works well with kids too. If your kid loves coconut like mine does, it is a perfect way to sneak the vegetables in. Sagu is a also made with potatoes only but I love the mixed vegetable option better because I eat way too many potatoes as is. So here goes –

Serves 4-5

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

2-3 Carrots, medium size

4-5 Cauliflower florets

1 Potato, big

8-10 French beans

1/4 cup green peas

1 Onion, big

1 Tomato, big

1 tbsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard seeds

1/2 tsp Urad dal, split and skinless

1 sprig Curry leaves

Salt

To grind

1/2 cup Grated coconut, loosely packed

1″ Ginger, skinned and finely chopped

3-4 Garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Coriander seeds

2 tbsp Roasted gram

1 tsp Poppy seeds

2 Green chillies, chopped

1″ Cinnamon

2-3 Cloves

1 Cardamom, green

2 tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped

WHAT TO DO

  • Chop the carrots, potato, beans and cauliflower florets
  • Add salt and steam them for 12-15 minutes or and set aside
  • Take all the ingredients specified under ‘to grind’ above and grind them to a fine paste with little water and set aside
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
  • Once it splutters, add the Urad dal and curry leaves
  • Chop the onion and add it to the pan
  • Once the onion is translucent, add the chopped tomato and let it cook till the tomato is soft
  • Add the cooked vegetables and ground paste
  • Add a little water if necessary. The Sagu needs to be at a thick gravy consistency
  • Adjust for salt and let it come to a boil, around 7-10 Minutes
  • Simmer 2-3 minutes and turn off the gas
  • Serve hot with rice, roti, poori or set dosa
  • Enjoy!

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Thalis’.

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Soya Tomato Dosa

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Pressure situations result in some fun inspiration and quick fix dishes. I overslept last weekend and that coincided with the husband and daughter waking up early and being very hungry before I had time to sip my tea. So I needed a quick breakfast to keep them calm. One thing led to another and I was able to feed them before they ate me up.

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Makes around 10-12 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Soya flour                                3/4 cup

Rice flour                                 1 cup

Tomato, medium                    1

Salt

Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the tomato and blend it into a paste / puree in a mixer
  • Take the rice flour, soya flour and salt in a bowl
  • Add the tomato paste and mix
  • Add enough water to make a dosa batter. The batter should be slightly runny, not as runny as a rava dosa batter
  • Heat a tava and once it is hot, add a ladle full of batter and gently spread it on the tava
  • Add oil at the edges of the dosa and once it starts browning gently release the dosa from the tava with a spatula
  • Repeat the process till you have as many dosas as you need
  • Serve warm with idli gunpowder or chutney
  • Enjoy!

 

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Crepes all the way’.

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Millet Dosa

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The husband has been asking me to reduce the carbs in our daily diet since he has to lose only a few more kilos to reach his ideal weight. It is tough to take him seriously because he makes these requests while munching on a bag of chips or biting into a milk chocolate. But I also needed to finish my packet of millets and so I agreed to go along with his request. I have been making millet dosas and idlis for quite a while now but I have not been able to simultaneously please both the husband and daughter. If he likes it, she wouldn’t and vice versa. Finally I cracked the perfect balance between taste and there being reasonable amount of millets in the batter to make some difference. Of course, the battle will be on to somehow try and add more millets in but that is a fight for another day.

I have tried this recipe with all the millets but all three of us agree that little finger millet or sama arisi is the best of the lot while thinai or foxtail millet is our least favourite. But thinai makes for a delicious pongal and so we end up eating enough of that too. I use the same batter for both idli and dosa. While grinding the batter, I add water to make a thick batter which is suitable for idlis. When I need to make dosas, I take some batter in a separate vessel and add some more water to make dosas. I use only the wet grinder to make this batter because I don’t get satisfactory results in my mixer. But my mother swears by her mixer for the idli batter and so you can try and see how you like it.

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Makes around 25 idlis or 30 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Little finger millet 1 1/2 cups

Idli rice 1 1/2 cups

Raw rice 1 cup

Split skinless black gram / urad dal 1 cup

Fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp

Salt

Water

Oil, to make dosas

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the millets, idli rice, raw rice and split skinless black gram in adequate water in separate vessels for 6 hours or overnight
  • In a grinder, add the split skinless black gram and grind till it is smooth
  • Take a small portion of it and drop it in a bowl of water. If it floats then it has been properly ground
  • Transfer it to a large vessel and set aside
  • Add the millets, idli rice and raw rice to the grinder
  • Add the salt and fenugreek seeds and grind to a near smooth paste
  • Just add 1-2 tsp of salt. This salt ensures that the batter ferments well. You can adjust the salt for taste before making the dosas / idlis
  • Transfer the millet rice mixture to the ground urad dal and combine the two with your hand
  • The vessel needs to be large enough that the batter fills only half of it
  • Cover and set aside for 8 hours or till the batter ferments and expands to fill the entire vessel
  • The batter is ready for use. If you are not using it immediately then refrigerate it until you need it

To make dosas

  • Add sufficient water to the batter to make it like regular dosa batter
  • Heat a tava
  • Once it is hot, pour a ladle full of batter on it and spread it in circular motions to make a round dosa
  • Dot the edges of the dosa with some oil
  • Once it starts browning at the edges, use a steel spatula and release the dosa from the tava
  • Turn it over to ensure the other side of the dosa is cooked
  • Take it off the gas after 30 seconds
  • Repeat the process till you get as many dosas as needed
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney, sambhar or gunpowder
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Crepes all the way’.

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Moong Dal Chilla

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My mother turned 60 a couple of months ago and to celebrate the occasion we went for a family lunch to this small but amazing restaurant called Swati Snacks in Mumbai. Every item on the menu was so delicious that we ordered quite a few of them multiple times. One of those dishes was this thin, crispy, buttery moong dal chilla. When I asked them about it, the restaurant guys insisted it had nothing but moong dal and it alone could result in a crispy crepe. I had two reasons to be suspicious – one, I am a typical South Indian and for me, lentil based crepes are thick and massive like ‘adai’ and secondly, I did try having besan chills and it did not work for me. Maybe I didn’t do it right but even after multiple attempts the husband refused to eat it and for once, I couldn’t fault him.

Then I figured I would try the moong dal chills. I mean, what was the worst that could happen? So I soaked some split moong dal and blended it with some salt and ginger. Voila, the results were fabulous. Then the next time I tried, I had some sour curd which I thought I could use up in this batter and the dosas were soft and delicious. So thanks to the people at Swathi Snacks for that amazing chilla and though mine isn’t as good, I still get a tasty and easy breakfasts dish on the menu.

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Makes around 8-10 chillas

WHAT WE NEED

Split moong dal 1 cup

Ginger, grated 1/4 tsp

Sour curds 1-2 tbsp

Water

Salt

Oil

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the moong dal in water for around 3 hours. If you are in a hurry, then you can soak it in hot water for 1/2 hour.
  • Drain the water and set aside
  • Add the moong dal in the blender / mixer
  • Add the ginger and salt and enough water to make a smooth batter
  • Transfer the batter to a vessel.
  • The batter should be smooth and not very thick. It needs to be slightly thinner than the regular dosa batter but not too runny
  • Heat a tava and once it is hot, pour a ladle full of batter on it
  • Spread the batter with the back of the ladle to form a thin circular shape
  • Pour a little oil around the edges and let it cook for almost a minute on high flame
  • Once it is nearly cooked on the top side, lower the flame and use a spatula to gently separate the chilla from the tava
  • Once it comes off fully from the tava, turn it over to cook on the other side
  • Leave it on the tava for about 30 seconds on low flame
  • Repeat the process till you have made as many chillas as you need
  • Serve warm with some paneer bhurji and green coriander chutney
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. You can also add some finely chopped onions and fresh coriander to the batter or to the chilla once it has been poured on to the tava
  2. Leave out the curds if you want a crisp chilla and add a little more curd for a softer chilla.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Crepes’.

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Spinach Dosa

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This is the last day of the week and my final vegetable based protein dish. Spinach is the vegetable of choice. As a kid, I was anemic for sometime which my mother took as a personal affront. So she fed me a bunch of spinach each day pureed. She refused to stop even after my hemoglobin levels were over the threshold so much so that I was convinced that my vein, if cut, would bleed green instead of red.

I read somewhere recently that if two people in a house agree on the fan speed then they are definitely not married. I think that should be extended to dosas as well. The husband and I have completely different views on what a perfect dosa should be like. He thinks dosa should be thick and small while I think any dosa thicker than a banned plastic bag should be termed an uthapam.   

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I make spinach dosas mostly when the batter is insufficient for the number of dosas needed. I add some spinach purée which increases the volume of the batter and also gives it a nice flavour. I paired this with some lentil and coconut chutney which I came up with when I discovered that I didn’t have any fried gram to make the regular coconut chutney. I had some mixed lentil powder we use to mix with rice. So I blended it together with some coconut, ginger and green chillies. It tasted very nice with the dosa and we had a lovely weekend breakfast.

Protein – Spinach, Skinless black gram / Urad dal

Makes 15 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Dosa batter                            4 cups

Spinach                                   1 small bunch

Green chillies                        1-2

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Wash and chop the spinach
  • Blend it along with the green chillies, salt and little water to a fine purée
  • Mix around 1/3 cup of purée with the batter 
  • The consistency of the batter should be slightly less than regular dosa batter but not as watery as a rava dosa batter
  • Heat a tava and pour a ladle full of batter on it
  • Spread the batter in a circular motion and pour few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa
  • Once it starts browning at the edges, use a steel spatula and turn it over
  • Let it cook for a minute and then take it off the tava
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the batter till you have as many dosas as you need
  • Serve warm with chutney or molaga podi
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Black Gram Dosa with black gram chutney powder

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My mother is very interested in my blogging themes and enthusiastically keeps a look out for dishes that fit my theme of the month. Though she prefers me cooking and blogging about more traditional Indian dishes instead of ‘baking bread all the time’, she still supports my endeavour in a big way. She saw this recipe on a Tamil cookery show and promptly wrote it down to tell me. 

Usually dosa is made with skinless black gram but this dosa is made with the whole black gram which is the same one used to make dal makhni. Another interesting feature was that the black gram did not have to be soaked in order to make the dosa. I was intrigued when I heard that and thought I should give it a shot. For the past few weeks I am experimenting with grinding my idli / dosa batter in a mixer rather than the wet grinder. One, it is easier to clean and can also be used for smaller quantities as compared to the grinder. Though I am not completely pleased with the idli results from such an endeavour, the dosa works beautifully. So I used a mixer for this recipe too and it turned out quite nice. 

This dosa is also accompanied by a black gram podi / dry chutney powder which is to be mixed with oil and spread on the dosa. The combination is fantastic and I would recommend you try the two together instead of having this dosa with a regular red chilly lentil powder.

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Protein – Black gram

Recipe from Revathi Sankaran’s TV show

Makes 10-12 dosas

WHAT WE NEED

For the Dosa 

Idli rice                     3 cups

Raw rice                    1 cup

Black gram                1 cup

Fenugreek seeds       1 tsp

For the chutney podi

Black gram                 1/4 cup

Bengal gram               1 tbsp

Dried red chillies       5-6 

Salt

WHAT TO DO

For the dosa

  • Soak the idli rice and raw rice together and the fenugreek seeds in a separate vessel for 6 hours or overnight
  • Wash the black gram well and add it to a mixer / blender
  • Grind it well to a near smooth paste and set aside
  • Drain the water from the rice and add to the blender
  • Add the fenugreek seeds and salt and grind to a smooth paste
  • Mix the ground black gram and the rice and set aside to ferment for 6-8 hours depending on the weather
  • If the weather is chilly and you are not sure the batter will ferment then wrap the vessel with a thick towel and place it on top of the refrigerator. The heat from the refrigerator will help fermenting.
  • Once the batter has fermented, add some water and salt, if needed.
  • Heat a tava
  • Pour a ladle full of batter on the tava and spread it in a circular motion
  • Add few drops of oil at the edges of the dosa and let it cook for 20-30 seconds on medium high
  • Gently release the dosa from the tava with a steel spatula and turn it over on the other side
  • Let it cook for 10-20 seconds on low
  • Take out the dosa from the tava
  • Repeat the same procedure till all the dosas you need are made
  • Enjoy with the chutney powder

For the chutney powder

  • Dry roast the black gram, bengal gram and dried red chillies in a pan individually and set aside to cool
  • Add all the ingredients with salt to a blender 
  • Blend to a coarse powder 
  • Once the dosa is made, mix the chutney powder with a little gingely oil and apply on the dosa
  • Enjoy!


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  This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’. 

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Rava Dosa – a nearly foolproof recipe

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In the second of my Weekend Breakfasts, I have the most delicious Rava Dosa with the classic partner, medhu vadai and accompanied by sambhar and two types of chutneys – coconut and coriander. All of this has to be washed down with a tumbler full of frothy, steaming filter coffee.

I have tried numerous recipes for the rava dosa and most of them have simply not worked. Either the dosa would come out in bits and pieces as if it has been toyed around by a toddler or it would stick strongly to the tava and simply refuse to budge. I kept experimenting with various types and quantities of rava and rice flour and finally I can tell you that I have a nearly foolproof recipe for the rava dosa. It is no longer something I can only have at a restaurant. I can have it whenever I feel like it, which is way more often than it should be. So I love this recipe and this dish so much that I am convinced this is my legacy. Whatever I do or don’t do henceforth, I am happy to report I can make a good Rava Dosa.

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The basic recipe has mainly three ingredients – rava / semolina, rice flour and curds. Simple thumb rules to go by are – The time needed to keep the rava soaked in curds is directly proportional to the proportion of rava in the recipe. The more rava you use in the recipe, the crispier is your dosa and the skill needed to make it is also more.

The usual proportion I use is 1/2 cup of rava to 1/2 cup of curds and 1 cup of rice flour. You can use as low as 1/4 cup of rava & curds each to 1 cup of rice flour. Even an equal amount of rava and rice works but I find that I prefer the taste and texture when the rava is half the quantity of the rice flour. Though you can use 1-2 tbsp of curds for 1/2 cup of rava and substitute the rest with water, I would recommend you not to do that. Using equal amount of rava and curds is one of the key reasons for success in making this dosa.

The rava and curds need to be mixed together and set aside before adding the rice flour. If you use only 1/4 cup then you need only 10 minutes of soaking for the rava. If you are using more, then you would need around 20 minutes. You can play around with this depending on the time available to you.

If the curds are sour the dosa tastes better but that does not mean you cannot make this with fresh curds. All I suggest is to have the curds at room temperature. If you do not have time to get the curds from the chill of the refrigerator to room temperature, then take the required curds in a separate bowl and add few spoons of boiling water to it. This will help increase the temperature of the curds. This can also be used before giving curds to kids if you don’t want them to have it cold.

The amount of water to be used depends on the quality of rava. The best test to check if you have sufficient water is to pour a small amount of batter on a very hot tava. If it does not immediately form a lace like pattern, then you may need to add more water. But add water in 1-2 spoons each time so that you do not end up with excessive water in the batter.

The tava needs to be very hot while pouring the batter. As soon as you pour the batter, reduce the flame slightly and once you turn over the dosa reduce it to low flame. This will ensure the tava is not overheated which can result in blackening the dosa.

Makes 10-12 medium sized dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Rava / Semolina                                         1/4 cup

Curds (Sour / fresh)                                   1/4 cup

Rice flour                                                     1/2 cup

Cumin seeds / Jeera                                   1 tsp

Whole black pepper                                  1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves (finely chopped)         2 tsp

Broken cashewnuts (optional)                1 tsp

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the rava and curds in a bowl and set aside for 20-25 minutes
  • The rava would have soaked a lot of curd and will appear to be a thicker mixture
  • Add the rice flour, cumin seeds, pepper, coriander leaves, cashew nuts and salt
  • Add around 1- 1 1/4 cups of water and mix all the ingredients to a runny batter.
  • Heat the tava till it is nicely hot
  • Pour a small amount of batter on the tava. If it immediately spreads into a lace like pattern then the consistency of the batter is fine. Else add few spoons of water
  • Pour a laddle full batter from the outside in i.e. pour the batter in a circular form as an outline and then fill it with the remaining batter. The shape of the dosa will not be an exact circle but slightly shapeless
  • Pour oil at the edges of the dosa and a couple of drops on the dosa
  • Reduce the flame to medium low and wait patiently till the edges start turning brown
  • Once the edges are brown, reduce the flame to low and turn the dosa to the other side using a spatula. This is the key step when one has to be very careful.
  • Use the spatula slowly and carefully to release the dosa from the tava. If you meet with too much resistance, give it few more seconds before you try again
  • Do not wait for more than 30 seconds for the upturned dosa else it will become hard
  • Take it off the tava and put the gas on full flame again before pouring the next ladle of batter
  • Continue the same procedure till you have as many dosas as you need
  • The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Before using the refrigerated batter, check if you need more water to be added to it
  • Enjoy the golden brown dosa hot with sambhar and chutney!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under ‘Weekend Breakfasts’.

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Tamil Breakfast Thali

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I am a breakfast person. I love elaborate breakfast spreads. The variety of dishes with so many sides and drink to wash it all down with is food heaven for me and that is also my favourite part about Tamil cuisine. It lends itself beautifully to breakfast spreads and combo menus. The range of dishes and sambhars and chutneys  are mind blowing and not to forget the filter coffee which is the absolute icing on top.

My grandma was a huge filter coffee fan and my cousins and me inherited it from her. The family joke is that if our veins are cut there wont be blood but coffee decoction. Such is the family.

This week I am making three different thalis for the Blogging Marathon. The first of this is the Tamil Breakfast Thali inspired from the husband and my innumerable trips to Adayar Ananda Bhavan during weekends long ago. This is both a dedication and a nostalgic meal for me to make.

But the best part of making this thali is that I realised it wasn’t all that hard or time consuming as one would think. Items like idli, pongal and kesari can be made at one go. The sambhar and chutneys can be made the previous day and stored in the refrigerator. You can even make the kesari on the previous day or you can atleast dry roast the rava for the kesari on the previous day which reduces the time to make the kesari. Only the dosai and vadai have to be made individually but they can be done without too much difficulty because you would need only 1-2 per person because there are so many items on the menu. You need to have the idli and dosai batter ready.

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Today’s thali has –

Idli

Dosai

Medu Vadai

Pongal

Rava Kesari

Sambhar

Coconut chutney

Coriander stalk chutney

Filter coffee

Sounds heavenly doesn’t it?

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Molaga Podi | Idli Gunpowder

   

I made quite a few new year resolutions with regard to my cooking. So each day of this first week of Blogging Marathon, my dish will be a small little step towards one of my resolutions. I was deeply impressed by the book, ‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan. Amongst the many arguments he made, one that struck a chord with me was about ‘cooking from scratch’. After reading that, I realized how many things I buy that can be made at home which would most likely be fresher, healthier and free from preservatives. 

I started making sambhar powder, rasam powder and ginger garlic paste at home and have continued to do so for almost six months now. Then, one day I was chatting with my mom and extolling the benefits of cooking from scratch to which she replied, “oh good, so you will start making molaga podi on your own now.” So I was caught and had no choice. I am highly allergic to frying red chillies. Despite tying a huge scarf around my face, I sneeze an entire day and a half if I have to fry even two red chillies. So I get molaga podi from mom in bulk. Now, I couldn’t. So I took up my scarf and set off on the mission.

This recipe is from my mother and modified to suit the ultra spicy requirements of the husband. 

WHAT WE NEED

 Dried red chillies                         30

Bengal gram dal                            1/2 cup

Split black dal/ urad dal              1/2 cup

White sesame seeds                     2 tbsp

Oil                                                       1 tsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Dry roast the sesame seeds till they start popping and set them aside to cool
  • Heat 1/2 tsp oil and add the red chillies and fry the, for 2-3 minutes.
  • To ensure that the chillies don’t turn black move them about regularly. Set aside to cool.
  • Heat the other 1/2 tsp oil and add both dals and fry till golden brown.
  • Set aside the dals to cool.
  • Once cooled, put all the ingredients into a blender, add salt and blend to a powder.
  • Enjoy with idlis, dosas and uttapams.

 

NOTES

  1. The ratio of chillies to lentils depends on your spice preference. If you aren’t sure then fry 3/4 cup each of Bengal gram dal and split black dal. Keep 1/2 cup of the mixed fried dal aside. Mix the one cup dal with the chillies. If you find it too spicy, grind the balance dal separately and mix with the red chillies mixture.
  2. To maintain the consistency of the recipe, it is essential to have the red chillies of same quality and spice level. It is ideal to buy them from the same shop which should usually work the same way every time. If not, add some paruppu podi to the red chilly mixture to reduce spicyness.

This is a part of the Blogging Marathon under ‘New Year Challenge’.

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Raagi Dosa

   
  

It’s my constant endeavour to feed the husband and kid some finger millets. But I am usually unsuccessful. So whenever I get a chance, I make raagi dosas which is the least hated form for the duo. I also like the fact that it’s quick and easy to make. I have tried various recipes for this Dosa but none on them were satisfactory. Then I chanced upon this recipe in a vegetarian cookbook by Prema Srinivasan and I am relieved that this one gives me most consistent results without the dosa tearing up or being undercooked. 

So here goes –

For 5-6 Dosas

WHAT WE NEED

Raagi flour                                    1 cup

Rice flour                                      2 tbsp

Lady’s finger/ okra                    4 medium sized

Cumin seeds                                1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                                 1 sprig

Green chillies                               1-2

Salt

Water                                              1/2 – 3/4 cup   
WHAT TO DO

  • Grind the okra with 1 tbsp water to a fine paste. It will be slimy.
  • Mix the flours together and add the okra paste.
  • Add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, salt and water.
  • The batter should be in the consistency of regular Dosa batter.
  • Heat a tava and pour a ladle full of batter on the tava.
  • After a minute, flip the Dosa on the other side with a spatula.
  • Once cooked, remove from heat.
  • Continue to make Dosas from rest of the batter.
  • Enjoy with coconut or coriander chutney.

 

This is my entry for Bloggging Marathon hostedby Srivalli under the theme – Instant Breakfast

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