Thursday, March 20, 2008

A balancing act

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.......

Vegetable dosa

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.


Finla said...

Oh i want to have the last plate with the whole chutney, sambar and the dosa.

Kalai said...

Nice entries for both events! :)

Mansi said...

wow, those dosas look very inviting jayshree! thanks so much for participating in the event!:)

Dhivya said...

yummy dosa..

Anonymous said...

Its pouring dosas everywhere. Love it.

Seema said...

That plate is so delicius with dosa & sambhar chutney.. looks yum!

EC said...

Nice dosas...good tips for making softer idlis and dosas

Srivalli said...

that look balanced..thanks for the entries!

Unknown said...

Masala dosa is my favourite!!! Sadly mine dont turn out very well.Yours looks crisp and delicious !!!!


Laavanya said...

That masala dosa looks so crispy and perfectly done and that's a really good one with vegetable dosa. I think that'll be a hit with my daughter.

Jaya M said...

U know ,I love the entire package ,dosa ,chutney and sambhar ..
I guess rice flakes or poha gives the dosa that crispy touch ..
happy holi
hugs and smiles

Vanamala Hebbar said...

hmmm healthy bfast :)

Uma said...

looks delicious.

Trupti said...

wow .. all dosas looks delicious..thanks for sharing this recipes
Happy Holi !!

Linda said...

Hi Jayashree, I don't think I have ever seen a prettier photo of dosa cooking -- I would like to have a bite even before it's done! And like happy cook, some sambhar too :) Looks delicious! Also, thanks for the interesting tip about soaking the urad dal... I always soaked that for hours.

srikars kitchen said...

looks mouth watering dish.....

Bharathy said...

Perfect fit for both the events!..I am a great Dosa Freak and I absolutely love all the dosas you have posted recently :)

mitr_bayarea said...


first time visitor to ur blog, the dosa looks awesome, can't wait to try them out.

Sagari said...

veggi dosa looks delecious and masala dosa looks crisp and yummy jayashree

Cham said...

U r right, ur veg dosa looks great :) looks different than mine but still loaded with veg...Great entry too...

Meera said...

What a perfect 8 healthy entry!

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Suganya said...

Hay this dosa looks YUM!.... Love it....Nice way to eat vegetable....

Kamini said...

Both dosais look great. I particularly like the first vegetable dosai, since it can be made with no advance soaking or fermentation. And it's nutritious too!

Rupa said...

Thanks for visiting my blog..
Your dosas looks awesome and you too have nice brown and crispy ones..I liked all your dosas...Great entry..

Archana Vivek said...

Hey i tried the vegetable dosa. It gave a different taste. Good One...:-)

Sunshinemom said...

Thats what they call vegetable omelette in hotels, isnt it? I love it with a sinful pat of butter and tomato ketchup! Good work, girlie!