Basic Batter for South Indian Recipes (Dosas ‘Savory Crepes’ or Uttapam)

I must say south Indian cuisine is one of my all time favorites. Earlier, I use to buy store bought batter to create dosa/uttapam, but now I make my own batter. Usually, there are several ways to make South-Indian batters depending on the ratio of lentils and rice. Every household has a separate batter version.

Infact I have two versions for dosa/uttapam batter myself. One with lentils, rice, methi seeds and the other one with lentils, rice, methi seeds, and steel cut oatmeal. The second one is a healthier option and I will post that recipe in my next post. Both tastes equally good and you will not notice the taste variation. Even my husband couldn’t tell and he is still unaware of this fact that I put steel cut oatmeal in my dosa/uttapam batter, which is hilarious!

My version has three steps and the batter can last for one to two weeks in your refrigerator. It takes me one whole day to prepare the batter. So, I soak all my ingredients overnight: rice and lentils (individually) and the next morning grind them separately in my trustworthy Blendtec. Later I mix them all and keep them to ferment for 10 hours. At night the batter is ready to prepare dosas and vegetable uttapam. I serve my dosas with rasam or sambhar, potato onion curry, cutneys like coconut-roasted channa and yogurt- green chili chutney. My husband likes yogurt-green chilies chutney, which takes 2 minutes to prepare.

Dosa/Uttapum Batter:

Ingredients:

1 cup of Sona Masoori rice (available in Indian grocery stores)

1 cup of parboiled rice (available in all grocery stores)

1/2 cup of black grams known as ‘urad daal’ (available in Indian grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)

Salt to taste.

Method:

Step 1: Overnight Process (or 8 – 10 hours)

Prewash and soak both rice together in a bowl with 4 cups of water.

Prewash urad daal and soak it with fenugreek seeds with 1 cup of water. (separate from rice mixture)

Step 2: Grinding Process (Morning around 7:00 am)

Grind both the mixtures separately (First rice and then daal+methi seeds). Separate grinding is necessary as both different textures of rice and daal will ensure crispy dosas.

If you think mixture is too dry then add more water during grinding. Now remember add water little by little. We don’t want to avoid having too runny batter.

Mix both rice and lentil batter together.

Now add salt to taste.

Cover the batter.

Step 3: Fermentation Process (10 hours minimum)

Keep the batter to ferment in a warm place. I sometimes keep the covered mixture in my oven with light on. (Don’t turn your oven on during this process).

You can cover the mixture with woolen sweater and keep it on your window sill or in a warm corner of your house.

Don’t open the cover and let it ferment well.

Step 4: Making of Dosas/Uttapam

Heat up the skillet on medium high.

Note: Keep paper towels, bowl full or water, Misto oil spray in the side.

Now pour the batter in middle and in circular clockwise form start spreading the mixture from inside-out. Just like we make thin crepes.

Cook for two minutes, spray oil. I use Misto oil spray and brush.

Cook the dosas until crispy. I like my dosas to have medium dark brown hue.

Serve with your favorite chutney, rasam/sambhar, and potato-onion curry.

whole batch of batterfermented batterbrush the non stick mpanMisto sprayClockwise Swirl -  Middle to  OutPaper ThinSuper WhiteGolden Brown - Extra CrispyPotato Curry Stuffed Dosas with Sambhar and Coconut Chutney

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Spiced Up Multi-grains & Lentil Pilaf (Gujarati Masala Khichdi)

I posted a recipe of Cracked wheat pilaf/risotto earlier and now I am adding one more recipe. This is similar to the previous one, but this is a healthier version. It has six grains and one lentil with lots of vegetables. This recipe is an evening staple and a comfort food in my home-state of India ‘Gujarat’ and is known as ‘masala or vaghareli khichdi’ which means ‘spiced up pilaf’.  Traditionally it has a lot of variations, using various lentils and rice.

For this I always use my trustworthy stove-top Indian cooker, which quickens the cooking process. You all can surely slow cooker if you don’t have stove-top cooker.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of Bulgar wheat (Cracked Wheat)

1/4 cup of Sorghum/ Millet grains (Indian Jowar)

1/4 cup of Barley

4 tablespoons of Quinoa

1/4 cup of Farro (Type of Whole Wheat)

1/4 cup of rice (brown or regular)

1/2 cup of golden grams (Split yellow mung dal)

Note: Pre-wash all lentils and grains. Soak them for atleast 1/2 an hour.

Chopped Veggies (Chinese Eggplant, Potatoes, tomatoes, peas, green beans, carrots)

1/4 cup of raw ground-nuts (raw peanuts)

1 tsp of ginger garlic paste

10 green curry leaves

1 tablespoon of cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon of clarified butter (ghee) or oil

5-6 cups of Water

Salt to taste

Spices (Masalas)

1 teaspoon of mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida powder (Indian hing)

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 tablespoon of red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1 tablespoon of coriander powder

3 dried whole red chilies

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

Method:

Take cooker to fasten up the cooking process. Add clarified butter and add mustard seeds, let them sputter. Now add asafoetida, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Add whole dried red chilies, green curry leaves, and other remaining spices.

Add all veggies, ginger-garlic paste, and saute them well.

Add grains and lentils. Saute them for 2 more minutes.

Add water, peanuts, salt.

Cook in the cooker. I use an Indian cooker, so go for full 3 whistles. Once third whistle is done I let the vapor cook all well. Open it when all the steam is settled.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with yogurt, cucumber-onion-tomato (salt-pepper) salad, and hot Indian pickle.

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Veggie Dumplings (Asian Pot Stickers or Momos)

Pot stickers can be easily served as a light appetizer.  I used store-bought dumpling wrappers, which are easily available in Asian and American grocery stores. Please check the ingredients as some of the brands do contain egg yolks. I got an egg free version from Asian Mart nearby, so I have posted a picture of the brand I used.

Here is a veggie dumpling recipe.

A. Veggie Filling:

2 medium carrots (shredded)

1/3 Napa cabbage (shredded)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 inch ginger (finely chopped)

6 button mushrooms (chopped)

2 green onions (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves (chopped)

2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon of ajinomoto (optional)

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

1 teaspoons of cornstarch

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

B. Wonton Wrappers (Store-bought)

C. Dipping Sauce

1 cup of Soy Sauce

1/3 cup of rice vinegar

1/2 inch ginger (finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)

1 tsp of sesame oil (toasted)

1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon of hot chili paste (Sambal sauce)

Black pepper (Add salt only if using low sodium soy sauce)

Method:

1. Heat up sesame oil, add garlic, ginger. Saute them for few seconds. Now add all veggies and saute them for 3-4 minutes. Add other ingredients and in the last add cornstarch and cilantro. Cook everything for 2-3 more minutes. Cool the mixture. 

2. Thaw wonton wrappers.

3. Take a wrapper. Apply luke warm water with a brush on the sides in circular motion.

4. Add 1 tablespoon of filling on half of wonton wrapper. Fold it as folding Mexican empanada. Seal the semicircular dumpling with fork marks.

Note: You can follow pinched patterns on the sealed dumpling. There are various days to do it. 

5. At this point you can refrigerate the dumplings for a day and roasted them the next day. This will save you time on the day of a planned party.

6. Now heat up a non-stick pan. Spray mist oil. Take 3-4 dumplings and roasted them for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

7. Add 1/4 cup of water. Cover the pan and let it steam roast for until all the water is evaporated.

8. Cook other dumplings the same way. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce:

Heat up sesame oil. Add garlic, ginger, and add other ingredients. Simmer it for 2-3 minutes. Cool it off completely.

Serve all the dumplings / pot stickers with this dipping sauce.

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Cracked Wheat Pilaf/Risotto (Indian)

Cracked wheat is widely popular in Indian as well as Mediterranean cooking. It is known as Bulgar wheat, and in Indian glossary it is widely popular as ‘fada’ or ‘lapsi’ or ‘dalia’.

So here is a quick and a healthy recipe for cracked wheat risotto which in Indian culture it is called ‘Fada Khichdi’ (where Khichdi means Pilaf or Risotto). The cooking method differs as Khichdi is generally pressure cooked or baked unlike risotto where arborio rice is cooked slowly by adding broth.

Here is the list of ingredients,

Spices:

1 tsp of mustard seeds

1 tsp of asafoetida

1 tsp of cumin seeds

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons of Kitchen King Masala (or any curry powder)

Diced Vegetables:

1 small tomato

1 small potato

1 medium size onion

6-7 Green curry leaves (Indian grocery store)

1 corn from cob (substitute with frozen corns)

2 tablespoons of green peas

1/2 medium size carrot

2 green chilies

Main Ingredients:

1 cup of cracked wheat

1/2 cup of golden grams (Moong daal in Indian grocery store)

1/2 cups of peanuts

4 cups of water (soaking)

1 tablespoon of oil or clarified butter (ghee)

Method:

Step 1: Rinse cracked wheat and golden grams in running water.

Step 2: Soak cracked wheat, golden grams, and peanuts in water for alteast 2 hours

Step 3:

Take a pressure cooker or a non stick pan

Add clarified butter (ghee) or oil, heat it up

Add mustard seeds and splutter them.

Add curry leaves.

Now add all spices and veggies. Saute them for 2-3 mins.

Add the soaked mixture with water.

Now add Salt to taste.

Choose your cooking method (1. Slow in a pan or 2. quick cooking in a pressure cooker)

Serve it hot with chilled plain yogurt, Indian spicy hot pickle and/or raw onion slices.

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Sprout Beans (Protein Filled Breakfast)

For vegetarians beans, cereals, pulses, and lentils are very important protein sources. As an Asian Indian I utilize lots of them in my daily meals.

The moth beans (also known as brown bean or matki) and they can be easily found in Indian grocery stores. I also use the similar technique for sprouting Moong (known as green beans or green grams)

The difference between all the three (trio) beans are nicely explained here. http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2007/06/24/moong-moth-and-red-chori-bean-sprouts/

For Sprouting:

1 cup green or brown beans (Washed)

4 cups of lukewarm water (soak)

Cheesecloth or wire mesh colander or Sprout Maker

Method: Wash the beans well 2-3 times under running water. Now soak them in lukewarm water overnight. They will soak most liquid and fluff up. In the morning drain most water and wrap all beans in cheese cloth. Keep them moist by spraying water for an entire day or two. After two days refrigerate them. This will keep the sprouts fresh for a week.

These sprouts are full of protein and fiber. You can cook them for a protein filled breakfast.

My cooking method is simple.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon of canola oil

Sprouted beans (mentioned in the beggining of this post)

3-4 cloves of garlic (minced or chopped)

1 pinch of asafoetida (good for digestive aid)

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 lemon juice

1/4 cup water

Salt to taste

Directions:

Heat up the oil. Add asafoetida and garlic. Don’t brown the garlic, just saute it until you smell like garlic. Now add turmeric powder and sprouts. Saute all.

Add water and heat it up until all the water is soaked by sprouts. We don’t want to mush up the beans. They should be soft and cooked through. Add lemon juice in the end and serve.

Cooked Sprout Beans

Breakfast

Baked Kofta (Stuffed with Cheese & Raisins) Curry

As I always say, good food inspires me. Although I always try
to remake my recipes with as may fewer calories as possible. This recipe is definitely one of them.

Traditionally ‘Koftas’ are veggie balls made up of chickpeas flour and shredded vegetables like bottle gourd, potatoes, carrots, and others. Later koftas are fried and added in thick creamy tomato curry.

I didn’t fry mine, but rather baked them. Before baking the koftas I stuffed them with mozzarella cheese and raisins.

Step 1
Kofta Ingredients:
1/2 medium bottle guard (shredded)
1 medium carrot (shredded)
1/2 white radish (shredded)
2 large potatoes (boiled and shredded)
2 tablespoons of Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of chickpeas flour
1 teaspoon of dried fennel seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of red chili powder
1/2 tablespoon of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
Chopped mint & coriander leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of canola oil

(Note: These measurements are rough, so please taste the mixture and add spices according to your taste)

Method:
Take as much water out as possible from shredded veggies. (Use cheese cloth)
Now mix all other ingredients. Keep the mixture aside for atleast 15 minutes before making kofta.

Step 2
Kofta stuffing
Shredded mozzarella cheese (as much as you want)
Raisins (4-5 raisins per kofta balls)

(Note: You can use chopped dried figs instead of raisins)

Method:
Stuff each kofta ball with cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Bake them at 350 for 25 – 30 Minutes.

(Note: Please keep an eye on them, so that you don’t burn them)

Step 3
Curry ingredients:
3 large or 4 medium size tomatoes (puréed)
5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 inch of ginger (chopped)
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
1 cinnamon stick
2 -3 clove spice
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese (heavy whipping cream or cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon of each red chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon of Arrowroot starch (cornstarch)
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:
This curry is typical in most North Indian (Punjabi) recipes.

Add oil+butter and cumin seeds. Let the seeds turn light brown.

Now add turmeric powder, cinnamon stick, clove spice sticks, chopped onions, garlic, and ginger until it turns light golden brown.

Later add tomato purée, chili & coriander powder, arrowroot starch powder, sugar, salt. Let it boil.

Lastly add mascarpone cheese & chopped coriander leaves.

Add baked koftas just before serving. In these way the kofta balls won’t become soggy.

You can eat the kofta curry with hot naan or steaming basmati rice. I served mine with toasted whole wheat roll ups.

Makkai di Roti & Sarso da Saag

Originally this recipe belongs to Punjab, a northern most state of India. Everyone in my family loves this rich, buttery dish.

Terms:
1. ‘Makkai di roti’ means ‘sweet corn flour bread’ which is similar to Mexican Mazda flour.
2. ‘Sarso da saag’ means ‘mustard leaves curry’.

You need two special ingredients: 1. A bunch of Mustard leaves and 2. Sweet corn flour available in Indian grocery store also known as makkai atta (not corn flour).

Originally Sarso da saag has mustard leaves & spinach, but I tried it with mustard leaves.I like taste of mustard leaves, but if you don’t then try it with both (mustard & spinach) half and half.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter or normal butter)
1 bunch of Mustard leaves
1 jalapeño chilly
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 tablespoons of cream cheese (or heavy whipping cream)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup of water

Method:
Grind water, washed mustard leaves with or without branches, jalapeño into a fine sauce like paste. Add water if too thick.
Now in a pan take ghee, cumin seeds and let it brown a bit.
Add chopped garlic & onions.
Add mustard leaves sauce, salt & pepper.
Let it simmer until its bubbly.
Add cream cheese and serve hot with makkai di roti, salad, pickle, and yogurt raita.

Makkai di roti
Ingredients:
4 cups of sweet corn flour. (Makkai da atta)
Salt
Coriander leaves
Water for the dough (almost 1 and 1/3 cups)
Ghee (top of your rotis)

Ingredients:

Make a tough dough.
Heat up your frying pan.
Make rotis (using pin and hands). Please use plastic sheet, as this is little sticky dough.
Now heat them up on both sides.

Serve.