In primary school, we learn that we need to eat right to become strong and healthy. We are told that the three major components of a balanced meal are carbohydrates, proteins and fat.
Our ancestors were not nutritionists or dietitians....but they seem to have known all this ages ago. Thea first meal that a South Indian child is fed is a mixture of rice(carbs),and tuar dal(protein) mixed with a generous dollop of ghee(fat). Add in some veggies and you have a complete balanced meal. Idli, dosa, pongal, dal-roti....think of most of your everyday meals and you'll realise that you don't have to reach further than your pantry to create a healthy, balanced, wholesome meal for your family.
Here are two such recipes.......
What you need:
Besan - 1 cup
Maida - 1/4 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Carrot - 1, grated
Green chilli - 1, minced
Corriander leaves - a handful, chopped
Tomato - 1, chopped fine
Onion - 1, chopped
Mix besan, maida, rice flour and salt with enough water to form a batter of pourable consistency. Add in all the other ingredients.
Heat a dosa pan or griddle. Pour a ladleful of batter on it. Pour it thick like you would for an uttapam. Drizzle some oil over it. When the bottom is golden brown, flip over, and cook on a low flame until done.
This dosa is a complete meal by itself. It does not really require a chutney or any accompaniment. A little bit of yogurt on the side would complement it well.
Now let's move on to another dosa that features on pretty much all South Indian menus.....the mighty masala dosa. To date, I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't like the humble dosa in this avatar. The best masala dosa that I've had is served at Annapoorna in Coimbatore..... there's just something in it that makes you want to go back again and again.
Here's how I make it:
What you need:
For the batter
Par-boiled rice - 3 cups
Urad dal - 1.5 cups
Poha/rice flakes - a handful
Fenugreek seeds - 1 heaped tsp
Soak rice and fenugreek seeds for 8-10 hours in plenty of water. About ten minutes before grinding add in the poha to this to soak.
Soak urad dal separately for 30 minutes.
Grind urad dal and rice separately and then mix together with enough salt. Leave it to ferment overnight. The next morning, stir the batter well and add some water, if necessary, to get a batter of pourable consistency.
For the masala
Potatoes - 3 medium sized, boiled, peeled and mashed
Onion - 1 large, chopped fine
Curry leaves - 1 sprig, chopped
Ginger - a small pieces, chopped
Green chilli - 1, chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Heat a tsp of oil. Add some urad dal and mustard seeds to it. When the seeds pop, add the ginger, chilli, onion and curry leaves. Fry until onions turn pink.
Now add the mashed potatoes, turmeric powder and salt. If necessary add a little bit of water. Stir and cook until the masala thickens. At this point, you can stir in some lemon juice if you'd like to.
To make masala dosas:
Heat a dosa pan. Spread a ladleful of batter on it. Make sure that you spread it thin if you like crisp dosas. Drizzle some oil over it.When the bottom of the dosa turns golden brown, take a few tsps of the masala and spread it over one half of the dosa.Close it with the other half and serve hot off the tawa with chutney and sambar.
Do not soak the urad dal for more than 30 minutes. Grind it with cold water or just pop the soaked dal into the fridge and grind it when you are ready to. This gives you creamier urad batter and makes idlis and dosas softer.
You can also add a cup of cooked left-over rice while grinding the batter.
Both dosas go to WBB-Balanced Breakfast Meal which is being hosted by Mansi Desai and to Srivalli's Dosa Mela.