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

Acorn Squash and Mini Pie Pumpkins Stuffed with Curried Quinoa Salad

This healthy fall recipe can be prepared and served for Thanksgiving dinner. You can totally replace Acorn Squash and Mini Pie Pumpkin with Butternut Squash or Spaghetti Squash.

Ingredients:

One Mini Pie Pumpkin

One Acorn Squash

Olive Oil (Spray)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Curried Quinoa Salad Recipe:

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1/2 medium apple (chopped)

1/8 cups of dried cranberries (chopped)

1/8 cups of  maple roasted walnuts (roast walnuts with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and a pinch of salt)

2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds

1 cups of quinoa

2 and 1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon of curry powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons of Hot Pepper Raspberries Chipotle  

2 tablespoons of Pineapple Mango Sauce  (Picture posted below) 

Note: You can use any of your favorite sauce, salad vinaigrette, or even fruit preserves. These two sauces I am using are made from real fruits and has no corn syrup. Some options to consider: Spiced Apple Butter, Raspberries preserve, or Pepper Jelly.

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450.

Cut the acorn squash and mini pie pumpkins into halves and prick the skin with fork.

Scoop the seeds (forming a cavity)and place them cut side down into a cast iron or oven safe plate. Now roast them for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle Salt and Pepper in the cavity.

 

Curried Quinoa Salad:

Roast quinoa with 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a hot pan.

Add water and cook them until water boils. Add curried powder, salt, and black pepper.

Switch off the stove and let the quinoa soak all the water. Fluff up the quinoa with fork and cool it completely.

Now add vinaigrette and other ingredients.

 

Stuffing:

Stuff the curried quinoa salad in the roasted acorn and mini pie pumpkin cavities.

Drizzle some more vinaigrette if you want.  

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IMG_9187 IMG_9196 IMG_9213Sauces I adore

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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Panini with Caramelized Onions-Pears Jam and Brie + Gorgonzola Cheese

God bless the person who invented ‘sandwich’ for all of us. I am huge sandwich fan myself, so I always experiment different food pairings in my recipes. Hot Panini, cold sub, grilled burger anything and everything is good, especially when I am not in good mood. It just brightens me up.

Moreover, I love sweet and savory combination of fruit and cheese in my salads and sandwich. Well, for hot sandwich craving I tried this recipe with baby spinach, brie + Gorgonzola cheese, pears, onions, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary.

Ingredients:

Any Bread (I used sunflower seeds & whole grain bread from Fresh Market)

Fresh baby spinach (for some greens)

Brie Cheese (thinly sliced)

Gorgonzola blue cheese (crumbled)

Jam Components:

1 teaspoon of butter or olive oil

2 Fresh Pears (thinly sliced)

1 onion (thinly sliced)

Fresh Rosemary (chopped)

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

For Jam

Heat up butter or oil. Add onions and cook them on low heat for almost 20 minutes until they are soft, lightly golden, and translucent. Add salt and pepper. 

Now at this point on low-medium heat add sliced pears, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary. Cook all for 15 more minutes until all turns lightly brown color.

Your sweet jam is ready. Cool it down a bit.

Sandwich Assembly

Heat up your Panini grill. (I use my Calphalon non-stick Panini press)

1st bread slice, brie cheese, sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese, jam, spinach leaves, brie cheese, 2nd bread.

Now with little butter make Panini sandwich.

Serve hot.

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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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Asparagus Stir Fry

Whenever I have less time to prepare meals, I tend to whip up few of my easy stir fries and here is one of them.

Ingredients:

Bunch of Asparagus (last hard section removed)

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

4 tablespoons of Island Soyaki sauce (Trader Joes brand)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of sesame seeds (garnish)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Boiled Water (To blanch asparagus)

Ice + Chilled Water (Shock the blanched asparagus)

Serve with:

Thai Jasmine Rice (1/2 cup cooked)

1 tablespoon of Sweet or Spicy Chili Sauce (Optional)

Method:

1. Boil water

2. Blanch asparagus for 2 mins (until they turn bright green)

3. Transfer asparagus to cold water bath. This is called shocking method, it is intended to stop the cooking process of vegetables. So that they remain crunchy.

4. In a pan take all the sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Heat up the mixture. Add blanched and shocked asparagus.

5. Now cook them for 2-3 mins.

6. Serve with warm rice and spicy/sweet chili sauce.

7. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the asparagus.

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Pan Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 Large Potatoes (Boiled)

1/2 tablespoon of Olive Oil

1/2 tablespoon of Butter

Basil & Rosemary (Fresh)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Red Chili Flakes

Method:

1. Pan roast the white potatoes (boiled) with its peel. Just burst it open with a potato masher

OR

1. Peel the boiled potatoes and dice them.

Add butter and olive oil in a pan.

Roast until gets brown and crispy. Add herbs Chili flakes, and salt-pepper. Serve hot as a side dish or a breakfast hash potatoes.

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