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Mundhiri Kothu – the traditional and exceptional sweet!

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

  

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I have always been fascinated by the name of this sweet. Whoever named it Mundhiri Kothu – which translates as ‘Bunch of Cashews’- has been a keen observer of the making of this sweet. This deep fried snack/sweet comes out like a bunch when taken out of oil.

Mundhiri Kothu is a popular sweet from the Kanyakumari region of Tamilnadu.It can be called the healthier cousin of Susiyam which is also known by the names Soyyam/Sugiyan. For recipe refer- (http://dosaikal.com/2011/10/18/susiyam-deep-fried-lentil-jaggery-sweet-balls/).

Susiyam is made with kadalai paruppu/bengal gram; and the outer dip is prepared with maida/all purpose flour. Whereas, Mundhiri Kothu is made with paasi payaru/green gram and the outer dip is with rice flour. This is a sweet with the best choice of ingredients, except that it is a deep fried snack. The pleasing aroma of roasted green gram combined with other ingredients would surely make one’s kitchen a favorite place to work more!

Mundhiri Kothu is a popular sweet in the Yaazhpanam or Jaffna Area of Srilanka too. With slight variations, people call this as ‘Payatham Paniyaram’. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munthiri_Kothu

  
Now to the making of Mundhiri Kothu -
  
Mundhiri Kothu

  

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Ingredients (makes approx. 30 mundhiri kothu)

  • paasi payaru/whole green gram – 1 cup/150 gms
  • grated coconut – 1 cup – 75-80gms
  • ellu/sesame seeds (i used white) – 3 tblsp
  • elakkai/cardamom pods – 20
  • chukku/dry ginger – 3 gms
  • vellam/jaggery – 250 gms
  • rice flour – 2 cups
  • salt – 1/4 tsp
  • water – to mix rice flour and to dissolve jaggery
  • oil – for frying

  

Method of Preparation
  
1. In a pan, dry roast whole green gram till nice aroma comes out of the grain, along with cardomom pods

  

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2. Dry grind green gram and cardamom, with dry ginger into a coarse powder (not too coarse)
  
3. Dry roast grated coconut and sesame seeds
  
4. Mix green gram powder, roasted coconut and sesame seeds

    

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5. In a separate pan, dissolve jaggery in water and strain well
  
6. Boil jaggery in water to make a syrup – little sticky consistency, to make a tight ball with the powdered ingredients; Be careful not to make it stringy consistency

    

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7. Mix jaggery to the powdered ingredients and make marble sized urundai/ball

    

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8. Make a not too thin-not too thick batter with rice flour, salt and water; The batter should be thick enough to coat the jaggery balls before deep frying
    
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9. Dip each urundai/ball in rice batter and deep fry till well cooked
  
10. As the cooked mundhiri kothu would be in a bunch, separate each ball after it cools a bit.

  

Note:
  

  1. Cardamom is added for flavor and I have added dry ginger for easier digestion; for me – addition of dry ginger makes any jaggery based sweet taste divine.
  2. The above can be omitted too.
  3. The quantity of grated coconut and sesame seeds can be altered/reduced according to taste preferences.

  
Few Other Variations of Mundhiri Kothu
  

  1. Traditionally, the batter is made by soaking raw rice and grinding it wet into a dosai consistency; But, I have used rice powder.
  2. In the above mentioned, soak and grind method, dehusked black gram is also soaked and ground together with rice (50 gms ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram for 200 gms pachia arisi/raw rice).
  3. Turmeric powder is mixed to the batter and hence mundhiri kothu looks yellow.

  

Happy Diwali!

  

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Khmer Festive Sweet – Num Ansom Chek – Banana Filled Steamed Rice Cakes

October 17, 2014 2 comments

  
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Cambodia has a long list of traditional festivals. The major festivals seem to be influenced by both Hinduism and Buddhism. Apart from the influence of religions, Cambodians still preserve many cultural celebrations like the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in May and Water Festival in November.

  
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Pchum Ben
Pchum Ben is celebrated from late September to early October for 15 days. It is a festival in honour of ancestors. It is also called the Festival of Souls and the All Soul Day. I couldn’t witness the festival this year. But I had already tried making the special Rice Cake called ‘NUM ANSOM CHEK’ with the help of friend ‘D’ for posting during the period. So, better late than never or wait till next Pchum Ben next year, thought I should share it now.

    

Offering of food is a meritorious act and is one of the oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism. During the Pchum Ben festival, people bring food to the temple for the monks and to feed hungry ghosts who could be their late ancestors, relatives or friends. Pagodas are usually crowded with people taking their turn to make offerings and to beg the monks to pray for their late ancestors and loved ones. Many remain behind at the temple to listen to Buddhist sermons. http://www.tourismcambodia.org/contents/festival/index.php?view=detail&id=35#comp

    

 food offered in pagoda

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photo courtesy ‘D’.

  
The people here, wake up very early and get ready to go to Pagodas or Buddhist Temples. They wear their traditional clothes and walk around the Pagoda chanting Buddhist hymns. One of the most important ritual of Pchum Ben is taking food for their loved relatives who are no more part of this world. It is believed that the dead parents and relatives come on this day to see their dear ones and also accept the food offered by them. So, in order to not disappoint any of their lost relatives and ancestors, the Khmers prepare various delicacies and give it in the Pagodas.

  

IMG_8693photo courtesy ‘D’

  
The Monks in the Pagodas are worshipped and given food on this special occasion. There is also another reason for this ‘food from every home’ to the Pagodas -

    

According to venerable Um Sum, long ago Buddhist monks had to walk everywhere to ask for alms no matter how bad the weather was. Later during his reign, King Jayavarman, a strong advocate of Buddhism supported and provided Buddhist monks with the four requisite: clothing, food, shelter and medicine. The king realized that when the monks walked to ask for alms during the rainy season, they encountered heavy rain, thunderstorms, lightning and violent winds. The monks could not walk and fell down on the muddy paths. The king felt great sympathy for them and asked them not to go for alms for three months every rainy season. And he appealed to all his compatriots to offer food, and other basic needs to the monks for this period. Also, Buddhist followers explained that there was much merit in offering alms to the monks. As a result, more and more people offered the four requisites to the monks. http://www.bodhikaram.com/Pchum%20Ben.html

    

With so much food offered every day during the festivity, there is also chance of food getting wasted. Hence came the idea of making Rice Cakes which could be kept for days together without being spoilt. People make Steamed Rice Cakes filled with Bananas, Jack fruit or Pork. They are wrapped in Banana Leaves and steamed well. The speciality not only lies in the filling, but in the intricately crafted shape of the banana leaf cover.

  

Bananas of Cambodia

  

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Chek, is the Khmer word for Banana. There are many varieties of Banana in Cambodia. Being a tropical region, Banana enjoys the status of ‘King of Fruits’. Fruits are available in abundance, but the usage of bananas is extensive. Like the southern part of India, here too Bananas enjoy the status of a ritual fruit as well as ritual tree – We can see houses with banana trees tied in front on special occasions. The main varieties are Chek Namva, Chek Pong Morn, Chek Amboung, Chek Snab Muk. http://www.cambodia-picturetour.com/tag/banana-in-cambodia/

There needs to be a special post on bananas of cambodia and their value in rituals and traditions. But now we shall proceed with Num Ansom Chek – the delicacy.

The Banana Variety used in this sweet is Chek Namva.

    

Beside eaten fresh, Check Namva also be used in creating many Khmer simple delicious snack, cake, sweet such as Chek Khtis (banana coconut milk dessert), Chek Chheung (Banana cooked with sugar paste), Chek Chean (Fried banana), Chek Ang (Grilled banana), Chek Chhab (Sliced banana deep fried), Num Chek Bok (pounded banana cake), Num Ansom Chek (banana sticky rice cake). http://www.cambodia-picturetour.com/tag/banana-in-cambodia/

    

The Recipe – Num Ansom Chek – Steamed Sticky Rice Cakes with Banana Filling

  
Note: I regret for any faults in making or explaining the recipe. I have just tried to do my best. Please feel free to write about any changes and/or corrections.

  

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Ingredients (makes approximately 20 to 25 num ansom cheks)

  • sticky rice – 3 cups
  • well ripe bananas – appr. 6
  • grated coconut – 1 cup
  • salt – 1/4 tsp

  
for covering and steaming

  • banana leaves
  • strings from banana fibre
  • steamer

  
About Cambodian Sticky Rice pelase refer – num-kom-sticky-rice-cakes-with-coconut-fillingkhmer-kozhukkattai/

  
Method of Preparation

  
1. Soak sticky rice over night; In the morning, filter water away and keep rice in a siever to drain extra water. The soaked rice need not be fully dry

  
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2. Mix grated coconut with rice

  

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3. Cut bananas vertically; Mix salt to cut banana
  
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4. Each rice cake would need 1 square and another half its size – a rectangle banana leaf; keep the banana fiber string ready to tie the cake. Cut squares and rectangles in approximate numbers
  
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5. Place the small leaf (rectangle) over the bigger one(square)

  
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6. Place a small portion of rice and spread vertically
  
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7. Make space in the middle and place banana piece
 
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8. Cover with rice

  
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Folding the Rice Cake in Banana Leaf

  
This is an extensive process. I have tried my best to do justice. I think it is time to post a video for this purpose. But, I go with my photos.

  
1. After the leaf is filled with rice and banana, fold the leaf

  
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2. Cover with a fold in the middle

  
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3. Bend the leaf and close one side and press the rice and banana tighter inside but without collapsing the shape
  
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4. Make the next and final fold with a dent in between  – this I think is the toughest bit. This is very important for the perfect shape of num ansom chek
  
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better…

  
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5. After the cake has been folded by this exquisite technique, now it is time to tie it well;
  
First, tie on top, around the cake – leaving the string long after tightening the string.

  
1st knot-
  
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2nd knot – keep the same order of place going..

  
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3rd knot -

  
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4th knot -

  
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6. Tie all the strings together and the end string would look like this..
  
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7. Now, this is time for some imagination in making your desired plaits, to complete the string

  
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or…

  
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8. And great job!! the cakes are ready to be steamed!
  
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9. Fill the steamer with enough water and place the steaming bowl. The steaming bowl should be covered with banana leaves. Place the prepared cakes and close with more banana leaves. Then close the lid of the steamer. Steam for nearly 20 mins.
  

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10. The num ansoms are tied together and also hung on roof edges. It seems, during the Pchum Ben days while the family members, friends and relatives are chatting day and night, when one feels hungry he/she can pull out a cake and enjoy.

  
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Note:

  1. This Cake doesn’t need any kind of sugar as banana is a sweetener here. Still, palm sugar can be used as preferred.
  2. Num Ansom Chek is also made by mixing soaked red bean to rice.
  3. We have made smaller cakes. Larger ones are made with whole banana placed inside. The amount of rice kept would be increased accordingly.
  4. Salt in the banana adds to the perfect balance of the cake.
  5. No doubt a healthy, low fat dessert which is worth the effort certainly!

  

A very big THANKS to my friend ‘D’ who guided me and helped me learn the nuances of this special Khmer Dessert/Delicacy.

Awkoon Chran! – Thank you very much in Khmer.

 

Puli Kuzhambu – The Exceptional Tamarind Curry

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

  

puli kuzhambu/tamarind curry

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Puli Kuzhambu is a tamarind curry where a vegetable like drum stick, ladies finger or brinjal is cooked in a tamarind gravy with specially ground spices. This is a semi-thick curry to be mixed with piping hot rice! For a balance of vegetables and lentils, puli Kuzhambu is preferably served with kootu- stew of veggies cooked with lentil. The lentil stew also aids in easy digestion of the tangy spicy Kuzhambu! Plain cooked and seasoned lentil (thaalicha paruppu) is also served alongside.

    

Puli Kuzhambu – Tamarind Curry

The most exclusive among the tamarind based curries is PULI KUZHAMBU- which translates as Tamarind Curry! It is a thick gravy with tamarind pulp. It has a tangy flavour combined with the special spices. The ‘Podi or the powder is as usual supplied my Amma! I have not grown up still to make my own ‘Puli Kuzhambu Podi’ – the special curry powder.

  
Amma’s Podi/Home made Puli Kuzhambu Podi
  
Ingredients

  • kothumalli vithai/coriander seeds – 1/2 kg
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 1/2 kg
  • kadalai paruppu/bengal gram – 100 gms
  • thuvaram paruppu/split pigeon peas – 100 gms
  • uluntham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 100 gms
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 4 tsp
  • venthayam/fenugreek seeds – 2 tsp
  • raw rice – 1oo gms
  • black pepper – 100 gms

  
Method of Preparation

  1. In a hard bottomed vessel, dry roast all the ingredients with 1/2 tsp oil, except rice
  2. Separately roast rice – after a while the rice would puff up – 100 gms of rice would become nearly 200 gms, after roasted
  3. Spread in a plate and cool it for a short while
  4. The difference between sambaar and this curry powder is that the red chillies are roasted till darker brown in colour to get the dark colour of the kuzhambu
  5. Dry grind into a smooth powder
  6. Kuzhambu Powder is ready.

  
Now, when I needed to post my favourite curry and my daughter’s favourite side dish for her thayir saadham (curd rice), my rescue came from Chennai – my Amma! She gave me an easier solution rather than making one’s own curry powder in a blender – mixing sambaar powder with more pepper powder would be a timely, handy substitute. But making the spice powder at home is highly recommended to obtain the heavenly flavour of the south!

Though I have made the kuzhambu with amma’s podi, I suggest those enthusiasts who cannot receive amma’s powder to use a blend of sambaar powder with pepper powder.

Fresh vegetables like drum stick, egg plant, okra are used separately in making of the Kuzhambu. Shallots and Garlic are inseparable ingredients used with any vegetable.

  
This curry tastes best with gingelly oil – or to be precise the only means of getting the original flavour is by using Gingelly Oil.
  

Gingelly Oil is the south Indian sesame seeds oil – other sesame oils are different – Gingelly oil can be bought from any Indian departmental stores selling south indian stuff, if you live abroad.

  

 nallennai/gingelly oil

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Today, India is the largest producer of tamarind. The consumption of tamarind is widespread due to its central role in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia and South America, particularly in Mexico.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarind

    

Usage of Tamarind

The usage of tamarind in South Indian Cuisine can be next to quintessential!
  
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  1. Puliyodharai- tamarind rice
  2. Thuvayal – Chutney with tamarind
  3. Sambaar- lentil curry
  4. Rasam- the digestive soup
  5. Kozhi Kuzhambu- chicken curry with ground ingredients and tamarind pulp
  6. Meen Kuzhambu- fish curry where fish pieces are cooked in tamarind gravy with powdered spices……..

The list is no doubt a longer one. The list of different kinds of chutneys with tamarind alone can be quite  extensive.

Hailing from Thirunelveli and Thoothukudi – the list has more curries – simple and exotic. A few that I know from a vegetarian household are-

  

  1. Keerai Chaaru – spinach cooked in tamarind curry – almost like Sambaar;
  2. Puli milagai – spicy green chillies cooked in a simple tamarind gravy, which is a mouth watering dish with idli or dosai;
  3. Puli thanni- a very mild and light gravy or in fact it is a ‘curry in soup consistency’ to have with cooked rice and roasted gram chutney;
  4. Kara Kuzhambu – which translates as spicy gravy with veggies cooked in diluted tamarind pulp;
  5. Milagu Kuzhambu – pepper curry made with diluted tamarind pulp;
  6. Vendhaya Kuzhambu – fenugreek curry made with diluted tamarind pulp;
  7. Vattral Kuzhambu – curry made with dried vegetables –  dried and preserved vegetables like sundaikkai (turkey berry), manathakkali (black night shade), pavakkai (bitter guard) are fried and used in this kuzhambu. These all have anti oxidental and anti inflammatory properties.

  
The above mentioned Milagu Kuzhambu – pepper curry, Vendhaya Kuzhambu – fenugreek curry or Vatral Kuzhambu – dried veg. tamarind curry may be cousins to Puli Kuzhambu! These three curries are almost made the same way with slightest differences in ingredients.

There are also candies made with tamarind and local healing spices that aid in digestion.

  

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Puli Illa Kuzhambu

The usage of tamarind is almost on a daily basis for the afternoon meal, so much so – to skip the most sort after ingredient in the kitchen shelf for a day, a curry without tamarind – ‘Puli Illa Kuzhambu’ (literally translates as curry without tamarind) is made in regular intervals.

    

Health Benefits of Tamarind

  

Tamarind juice is a mild laxative.
Tamarind is used to treat bile disorders
Tamarind lowers cholesterol
Tamarind promotes a healthy heart
The pulp, leaves and flowers, in various combinations, are applied on painful and swollen joints.
Tamarind is use as a gargle for sore throats, and as a drink to bring relief from sunstroke.
The heated juice is used to cure conjunctivitis. Eye drops made from tamarind seeds may be a treatment for dry eye syndrome.
Tamarind seed polysaccharide is adhesive, enabling it to stick to the surface of the eye longer than other eye preparations.
Tamarind is used as a diuretic remedy for bilious disorders, jaundice and catarrh.
Tamarind is a good source of antioxidants that fight against cancer.
Tamarind reduces fevers and provides protection against colds. Make an infusion by taking one ounce of pulp, pour one quart of boiling water over this and allow to steep for one hour. Strain and drink tepid with little honey to sweeten. This will bring down temperature by several degrees.
Tamarind helps the body digest food
Tamarind applied to the skin to heal inflammation
The red outer covering of the seed is an effective remedy against diarrhea and dysentery.
Juice extracted from the flowers is given internally for bleeding piles.

http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com/display.asp?CAT=1&ID=77

    

Puli Kuzhambu

Here, Puli Kuzhambu is prepared with ladies finger or okra.

  

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Tamarind is still a source of carbohydrates, and it must be limited and factored into a well-balanced diet. It is best eaten plain in small amounts or used as a condiment to spruce up the flavor of food and beverages.

This food is an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, riboflavin, and fiber.
http://diabetes.about.com/od/nutrition/a/Benefits-Of-Tamarind.htm

    

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Ingredients (serves 4)
  

  • puli/soaked tamarind – lemon size or thick tamarind extract- 1 cup
  • vendaikkai/ladies finger or okra – cut to medium sized pieces – 1 to 1 1/2 cup
  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 6 no.s whole or thinly sliced as preferred
  • poondu/garlic – 10 cloves – i have thinly sliced
  • sambar powder – 2 heaped tsp
  • dry roasted pepper powder – ½ tsp
  • uppu/salt – as per taste

  

Seasoning
  

with dried black tamarind

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  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 3 tsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few

  
Method of Preparation
  
Initial Preparation

  

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  1. Soak tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes and filter the juice – keep aside
  2. Dry roast black pepper and dry grind to fine powder
  3. Add sambar powder and pepper powder  (Using non-roasted pepper powder might be too spicy and might change the taste of the kuzhambu)
  4. Cut shallots, garlic and okra in required sizes

    

Kuzhambu

  1. Heat 3 tsp oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds
  2. When mustard splutters, add fenugreek seeds and curry leaves
  3. Add whole or thinly sliced deskinned shallots and garlic cloves and fry a bit
  4. Add the okra and fry a while
  5. Add the sambaar powder-pepper powder mixed spice and stir well; adding the spice powder at this point makes the curry darker in colour
  6. Dilute the tamarind extract with 1 cup water and add to the vegetable-spice dry mix
  7. Add salt to taste and bring the curry to boil and simmer
  8. Let the vegetables cook in tamarind and spice mixture in open kadai – closed chatti/kadai might make the curry thinner
  9. When the vegetables are cooked and the gravy thickened, kuzhambu is done
  10. Heat 2 tbsp oil and pour over the curry
  11. Puli Kuzhambu is served with hot rice, kootu (vegetable-lentil stew) and appalam (south Indian plain pappad).

  

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Note

 

  1. Generally, shallots are not cut or halved, but depending upon preference one can also thinly slice.. this helps when you do not want your little ones to place aside shallots or garlic but enjoy their goodness
  2. When the curry powder is added while frying the vegetable, it gives a darker brown colour to the kuzhambu or else the curry would have a reddish colour – as we have always seen puli kuzhambu as a darker coloured curry, for a undoubtful colour this method works
  3. As mentioned earlier, if one is making the curry powder at home, roast the red chillies to a darker brown colour to get the colour in the curry
  4. Tamarind used should be the dried one. Fresh tamarind is not used  in cooking curries. The dried tamarind which is black in colour also aids in the brown colour of the end product
  5. More pepper powder can be added according to spice preference
  6. The last step mentioned above – to add heated gingelly oil on top of the curry, gives a distinctive, wonderful flavour and beautiful glow to the kuzhambu.. so do not miss this step
  7. The ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram shown in the seasoning list picture is purely out of practice – any seasoning is inclusive of black gram … here it is not added as the inclusion of lentil is believed to reduce the storage value of the curry.

    

In hens, tamarind has been found to lower cholesterol in their serum, but not in the yolks of the eggs they laid. Due to a lack of available human clinical trials, there is insufficient evidence to recommend tamarind for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia or diabetes.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarind

  

Thinai Dosai/Foxtail Millet Pancake (Whole Grain Dosai Series)

July 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Holiday Traveling and Holiday Baby-sitting have made this post a delayed one. I truly apologize for that.

Thinai or Foxtail Millet would be the last millet variety in this series for now. As soon as I get a few more left out varieties, I shall keep updating in the same category. Other names for foxtail millet include Italian millet, German millet, Chinese millet, and Hungarian millet.

  

 

One of the oldest cultivated crops. It was used in India, China and Egypt before there were written records. Millet is still used in eastern Europe for porridge and bread and for making alcoholic beverages. About 85 percent is used as foodgrain for humans and 6 percent for poultry. In the United States it is grown chiefly for hay. http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Gbase/data/pf000314.htm

  

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So, to sum up -

The most common millets available at Jowar (Sorghum), Bajra (Pearl Millet), Ragi (Finger Millet), Korra (Foxtail millet), Sama (Little millet) and Variga (Proso millet). “They have huge nutritive value. Bajra and Sama are high on fat while Ragi has lowest fat. They are rich in Iron and phosphorus. Ragi has the highest Calcium content among all the food grains. They are rich sources in B vitamins especially in Niacin, B6, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc,” explains Professor (Food and Nutrition) and Associate Dean, College of Home Science, ANGRAU, Dr. Anurag Chaturvedi.

There are myriad health benefits of millets. Regular consumption of millets is beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from signs of heart ailments, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They help women to combat occurrence of gallstones because they are rich in fibre.

They reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes because millets are rich in magnesium, which regulates secretion of glucose and insulin. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/include-millets-in-regular-diet-say-experts/article3248602.ece

    

thinai idlis were equally good!

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Foxtail Millet or Thinai in Tamil could be one of the oldest millet varieties in Tamilnadu. We also have references of Thenum Thinai Maavum – Honey and Foxtail millet flour having been offered to Murugan, the God of the Tamils since olden days. Even today,  Murugan is offered ‘thenum thinai maavum’  in Pazhani Murugan Temple.

   

In South India, it has been a staple diet among people for a long time from the sangam period. It is popularly quoted in the old Tamil texts and is commonly associated with Lord Muruga and his consort Valli. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxtail_millet

   

thinai dosai/foxtail millet pancake

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About goodness of Thinai/Foxtail Millet-

   

Foxtail Millet May Help Control Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) is a common food in parts of India. Scientists at Sri Venkateswara University in that country studied its health benefits in diabetic rats, and concluded that the millet produced a “significant fall (70%) in blood glucose” while having no such effect in normal rats. Diabetic rats fed millet also showed significantly lower levels of triglycerides, and total/LDL/VLDLcholesterol, while exhibiting an increase in HDL cholesterol.
Pathophysiology. Sept 23, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/node/7722/print

   

Millet consumption decreases triglycerides and C-reactive protein

Scientists in Seoul, South Korea, fed a high-fat diet to rats for 8 weeks to induce hyperlipidemia, then randomly divided into four diet groups: white rice, sorghum, foxtail millet and proso millet for the next 4 weeks. At the end of the study, triglycerides were significantly lower in the two groups consuming foxtail or proso millet, and levels of C-reactive protein were lowest in the foxtail millet group. The researchers concluded that millet may be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Nutrition Research. April 2010; 30(4):290-6.

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/node/7722/print

   

Thinai Dosai/Foxtail Millet Pancake

  

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Ingredients (makes approximately 12-15 dosais)

  • thinai/foxtail millet – 3 cups
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 cup
  • vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • yennai/oil – to make dosais

  

 the foamy batter

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Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and Soak foxtail millet
  2. Wash and soak black gram and fenugreek seeds separately
  3. Soak the ingredients separately in enough water for a minimum 6 hrs
  4. Grind the black gram-fenugreek combination to a smooth and fluffy consistency
  5. Remove from the grinder/blender and grind the soaked millet to a fine paste
  6. Mix both with enough salt and leave the batter to ferment for 8 hrs or overnight
  7. In a warm country, 8 hrs is enough and one can mix the fermented batter and keep it refrigerated for further use
  8. Once fermented, always keep the batter refrigerated as it will go sour and get spoilt
  9. Make hot Dosais and serve with vengaya thuvayal /onion chutney or any chutney of choice
  10. After the dosais, more/buttermilk which is the diluted version of yoghurt with salt could be served for easy digestion.

   

IMG_0147

 

Vellai Chola Dosai/White Corn Pancakes (Whole Grain Dosai Series)

June 19, 2014 Leave a comment

  
Vellai Cholam/White Corn is next on the list. This is a pancake using fresh corn.

  
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Now, with the title, whole grain dosais/pancakes, can fresh corn be included?
  
Is Corn a vegetable, grain or a fruit?

    

Corn seed is actually a vegetable, a grain, and a fruit. Corn seed is a vegetable because it is harvested for eating. (Usually sweet corn when grain is harvested at the milk stage.) Corn seed is a grain because it is a dry seed of a grass species. (Usually field corn when harvested after the grain is relatively dry.) Corn seed is a fruit because that is the botanical definition.http://www.extension.org/pages/36971/please-settle-a-dispute-is-sweet-corn-a-vegetable-or-a-grain-what-is-the-difference-how-about-field-#.U6LYm3bZU3A

    

According to the Whole Grains Council, fresh corn is usually classified as a vegetable and dried corn (including popcorn) as a grain.

Corn is a whole grain if the bran, germ, and endosperm are all left intact, just like whole wheat. If the corn is milled or degermed to remove the bran and germ, then it is a refined grain. http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/2013/07

    

Of course, if one has dried corn,  replace in place of fresh corn in this recipe and soak with the lentil for 4-6 hours, grind to a smooth batter and let it ferment overnight and make pancakes. (Target sort of justified isn’t it).

Still, I am courageous enough to post this under a whole grain dosai-  with two things in mind-

1. the very kind readers who don’t oppose

2. the goodness of fresh corn that gives equal nutrients to fit as a whole grain

  
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Interesting facts about white corn

    

White maize is biologically and genetically very similar to yellow maize, although there is a difference in appearance due to the absence of carotin oil pigments in the kernel which otherwise cause the yellow colour of the grain. Production conditions and cultivation methods are largely identical.

Among the individual geographical regions of the developing countries, white maize production is of paramount importance in Africa. In this region, which produces about one-third of the global white maize crop, it represents about 90 percent of the total regional maize output. The main producers include Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, countries in which white maize represents between two-thirds and 90 percent of total cereals production. Other important producers of the region include Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria, where white maize constitutes from 15-35 percent of total cereals production. In these latter countries, white maize rivals in importance other cereals, such as wheat, rice, millet and sorghum. http://www.fao.org/docrep/w2698e/w2698e03.htm#TopOfPage

    

Corns come in various colours – among them, the yellow corn, common on the cob; white corn is more chewy. But makes very good pancakes. I have already posted chola dosai/corn dosai with milled yellow corn – the powder version. see – http://dosaikal.com/2012/05/24/chola-dosaiyellow-corn-flour-pancake/

This one is with fresh white corn. Here in Cambodia, the markets are filled with yellow and white corns. Depending on the season, sometimes yellow and sometimes white is in bulk.

I like the yellow ones to be pressure cooked as a snack with salt and pepper, the yellow corn, the more chewy among the two is preferred as dosai/pancake.

White Corn Dosai can be made with white corn alone as the ingredient without black gram, blended with water and salt to make a batter. Dosai comes out good, but should administer caution while spreading in the pan.

The one I have made in this post is with the combination of dehusked black gram as in Idly or Plain dosai. Since I have used fresh white corn, I soaked the black gram alone with fenugreek seeds. After grinding the batter, fermentation is not needed. The batter might become sour or even go waste as the fresh white corn would get spoilt soon.

  
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A Few Health Benefits of Corn
  
Anti-oxidant
You can get health-supportive antioxidant benefits from all varieties of corn, including white, yellow, blue, purple and red corn. But recent research has shown the antioxidant benefits from different varieties of corn actually come from different combinations of phytonutrients.

Corn is actually a unique phytonutrient-rich food that provides us with well-documented antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidant nutrients, corn is a good source of the mineral manganese. But it is corn’s phytonutrients that have taken center stage in the antioxidant research on corn. Different varieties of corn highlight different combinations of antioxidant phytonutrients.

  
Fibre
Corn is a food that gives us plenty of chewing satisfaction, and its high ratio of insoluble-to-soluble fiber is partly the reason.

  
Digestive properties
Recent research has shown that corn can support the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine and can also be transformed by these bacteria into short chain fatty acids, or SCFAs. These SCFAs can supply energy to our intestinal cells and thereby help lower our risk of intestinal problems, including our risk of colon cancer.

  
Tackles blood sugar
Given its good fiber content, its ability to provide many B-complex vitamins including vitamins B1, B5 and folic acid, and its notable protein content (about 5-6 grams per cup), corn is a food that would be expected to provide blood sugar benefits.
Sufficient fiber and protein content in a food helps prevent too rapid or too slow digestion of that food. protein and fiber also help prevent too rapid or too slow uptake of sugar from the digestive tract up into the bloodstream. Once the uptake of sugar is steadied, it is easier to avoid sudden spikes or drops in blood sugar. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=90

    
Vellai Chola Dosai/White Corn Pancake

  

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Ingredients (makes approximately 10-12 dosais)

  • vellai cholam/white corn – fresh kernels- when removed – 2 cups
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1/2 cup
  • vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • yennai/oil – to make dosais

  

white corn – soaked them for 15 mins. as I had refrigerated them the previous night

IMG_6515

  
Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak dehusked black gram and fenugreek seeds in enough water for 2-3 hrs or if the weather is not too hot, can soak overnight
  2. Grind the black gram-fenugreek with fresh white corn kernels together in a grinder/blender to a smooth and fine paste
  3. Mix  enough salt and the batter is ready to make dosais
  4. The extra batter should be kept refrigerated for further use
  5. Make hot Dosais and serve with vengaya thuvayal /onion chutney or any chutney of choice
  6. After the dosais, more/buttermilk which is the diluted version of yoghurt with salt is served as coolant
  7. The buttermilk aids in digestion.

 

the batter

IMG_6541

  
Note:

  1. If one is using dried corn, soak overnight like the black gram
  2. Dry red chillies can be ground together with the soaked ingredients for a spicy taste
  3. Chopped shallots mixed to the batter or spread over the dosai while cooking adds a different flavor to the pancake
  4. Any chutney of choice, but preferably with garlic, that would aid in digestion suits well
  5. The chutney can also contain shallots that would aid in cooling the system.
  6. Buttermilk is highly preferred with asafoetida to avoid gastric problems and also acts as a coolant.

  
  
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Varagarisi Dosai/Kodo Millet Pancake (whole grain dosai series)

June 16, 2014 Leave a comment

  
The next power packed pancake is Varagarisi Dosai. Varagarisi is Kodo millet in English.

Scientific name – Paspalum scrobiculatum L.

  

varagu/kodo in close up

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Kodo millet was domesticated in India almost 3000 years ago. It is found across the old world in humid habitats of tropics and subtropics. It is a minor grain crop in India and an important crop in the Deccan plateau.

The fiber content of the whole grain is very high. Kodo millet has around 11% protein, and the nutritional value of the protein has been found to be slightly better than that of foxtail millet but comparable to that of other small millets. As with other food grains, the nutritive value of Kodo millet protein could be improved by supplementation with legume protein. http://www.icrisat.org/crop-kodomillet.html

    

Points that struck me while searching for true facts on the ‘Goodness of Millets’ -
  
Millets are also unique due to their short growing season. They can develop from planted seeds to mature, ready to harvest plants in as little as 65 days. This is important in heavily populated areas. When properly stored, whole millets will keep for two or more years.

Unlike rice and wheat that require many inputs in terms of soil fertility and water, millets grow well in dry regions as rainfed crops. By eating millets, we will be encouraging farmers in dryland areas to grow crops that are best suited for those regions. This is a step towards sustainable cropping practices where by introducing diversity in our diets, we respect the biodiversity in nature rather than forcefully changing cropping patterns to grow wheat and rice everywhere. http://millets.wordpress.com/millets/

  

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Health benefits of millets

  

  • Regular consumption of millet is very beneficial for postmenopausal women suffering from signs of cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
  • Children’s intake of whole grains like millet and fish has been shown to reduce the occurrence of wheezing and asthma.
  • A high source of fiber, millet is very beneficial against breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
  • According to research and recent studies, consumption of millet can help women combat the occurrence of gallstones, as they are a very high source of insoluble fiber.
  • This form of cereal grain is very high in phosphorus content, which plays a vital role in maintaining the cell structure of the human body. The key role of this mineral is that it helps in the formation of the mineral matrix of the bone and is also an essential component of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate), which is the energy currency of the body.
  • A single cup of millet provides around 24.0% of the body’s daily phosphorus requirement. This mineral is a very important constituent of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of genetic code.
  • Recent research has indicated that the regular consumption of millet is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This is mainly due to the fact that whole grains like millet are a rich source of magnesium, which acts as a co-factor in a number of enzymatic reactions in the body, regulating the secretion of glucose and insulin.
  • Magnesium is also beneficial in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. It is even very useful for people who are suffering from atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.
  • To get the health benefits of millet, serve it warm with milk as an alternative to hot oatmeal in the morning. Its nutty taste can be enhanced by gently roasting the grains in a pan on the stovetop.
  • It can also be popped like popcorn to create a healthy “puffed” cereal. It can be ground into gluten-free flour and added to baked goods. One can also use it in soups, casseroles, and as a side-dish in place of rice. Enjoy the many health benefits millet has to offer!

    http://www.ilsi-india.org/conference-on-processed-foods-and-beverages-for-health/Session-IV/Prof-Suresh-Prasad-Delhi-Conf-on-millets-presentation.pdf

  

  

ALL MILLET VARIETIES SHOW HIGH ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY
At the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, a team of biochemists analyzed the antioxidant activity and phenolic content of several varieties of millet: kodo, finger, foxtail, proso, pearl, and little millets. Kodo millet showed the highest phenolic content, and proso millet the least. All varieties showed high antioxidant activity, in both soluble and bound fractions.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 9 June 2010; 58(11):6706-14. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/node/7722/print

  

Varagu/Kodo Millet could be enjoyed in different forms and preparations. Varagarisi Idli/Rice Cakes, Varagarisi Dosai/Pancakes, Varagarisi Kanji/Porridge, Varagarisi Upma and many more.

  
Varagarisi Dosai/Kodo Millet Dosai

  

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Kodo millet is a nutritious grain and a good substitute to rice or wheat. The grain is composed of 11% of protein, providing 9 grams/100 g consumed. It is an excellent source of fibre at 10 grams (37-38%), as opposed to rice, which provides 0.2/100 g, and wheat, which provides 1.2/100 g. An adequate fibre source helps combat the feeling of hunger. Kodo millet contains 66.6 g of carbohydrates and 353 kcal per 100 g of grain, comparable to other millets. It also contains 3.6 g of fat per 100 g. It provides minimal amounts of iron, at 0.5/100 mg, and minimal amounts of calcium, and 27/100 mg. Kodo millets also contain high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant compound. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paspalum_scrobiculatum

    

Ingredients (makes approximately 20-25 dosais) make half the quantity to make 10-12 dosais

  • varagarisi /kodo millet – 4 cups
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 cup
  • vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • uppu/salt – as needed approx. 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp
  • oil – to make dosai

  
Note:

  1. Unlike the previous Dosais with finger millet and pearl millet, here kodo millet batter is made exactly like the normal Idli/dosai batter
  2. Dehusked black gram is soaked separately with fenugreek seeds and the millet is soaked separately. The gram and fenugreek remains the same; rice is replaced with varagarisi/kodo millet.
  3. Though I have not tried Kezhvaragu/finger millet or Kambu/pearl millet idly, I made varagarisi/Kado millet Idlies, which were soft and fluffy and tasted only a tiny bit different from normal Idlies.
  4. It is highly recommended to have a glass of more/buttermilk to reduce the heat effects of this millet.

  

varagarisi idli/kodo millet steamed cakes

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fluffy and soft

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Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and Soak kodo millet
  2. Wash and soak black gram and fenugreek seeds
  3. Soak the ingredients separately in enough water for a minimum 6 hrs
  4. Grind the black gram-fenugreek combination to a smooth and fluffy consistency
  5. Remove from the grinder/blender and grind the soaked millet to a fine paste
  6. Mix both with enough salt and leave the batter to ferment for 8 hrs or overnight
  7. In a warm country, 8 hrs is enough and one can mix the fermented batter and keep it refrigerated for further use
  8. Once fermented, always keep the batter refrigerated as it will go sour and get spoilt
  9. Make hot Dosais and serve with vengaya thuvayal /onion chutney or any chutney of choice
  10. After the dosais, more/buttermilk which is the diluted version of yoghurt with salt is served as coolant
  11. The buttermilk aids in digestion.

  

IMG_7339

  

Kambu Dosai/Pearl Millet Pancake/Bajra Dosa (Whole Grain Dosai Series)

May 24, 2014 1 comment

  

black gram and pearl millet

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Next on the list of healthy/protein rich dosais/pancakes is Kambu Dosai. Kambu in Tamil is Pearl Millet in English and Bajra in Hindi.

As mentioned in the previous Keppai Dosai Post, my daughter’s first intake after mother’s milk was finger millet porridge. Now, the goodness of these sprouted grains is that they are often used as weaning foods for infants and easily digestible foods for elders.

  
Health Benefits of Kambu/Pearl Millet

  

soaked….

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Scientific Name: Pennisetum Glaucum.
Pearl millet requires surprisingly low amounts of water to grow.

    

  1. Pearl millet is one of the very few foods that turns the stomach alkaline and prevents formation of stomach ulcers or reduces the effect of ulcers.
  2. The lignin and phytonutrients in millet act as strong antioxidants thus preventing heart related diseases.
  3. High amounts of magnesium present in pearl millet have been shown to control blood pressure and relieve heart stress. The high concentration of magnesium also helps reduce severity of respiratory problems for asthma patients and is also effective in reducing migraine attacks.
  4. It has a large amount of Phosphorus, which is very essential for bone growth and development.
  5. Owing to its fibre content it takes longer for the grain to move from the stomach to the intestines. This way, pearl millet satiates hunger for a long period of time and thus helps in lowering the overall consumption of food. This effectively helps in maintaining the blood sugar level constant in diabetes patients for a long period of time.

http://www.theresearchpedia.com/health/superfoods/health-benefits-of-pearl-millet

    

 

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  1. Celiac disease is a condition in which a person cannot tolerate even a small amount of gluten in his/her diet. Unfortunately, most of the common grains like rice, wheat, etch have gluten present in them. Millets are the only type of grains which do not have any gluten present. Thus this is suitable for people with celiac disease.
  2. Pearl millet contains a type of phyto chemical called phytic acid which is believed to increase cholesterol metabolism and stabilise the levels of cholesterol in the body.
  3. The high fibre content in pearl millet is also known to reduce the risk of gall stone occurrence.
  4. The grain is very digestible as such and has a very low probability of causing allergic reactions. Due to its hypo allergic property, it can be safely included in the diets of infants, lactating mothers, elderly and convalescents.

http://www.theresearchpedia.com/health/superfoods/health-benefits-of-pearl-millet

Kambu/Pearl Millet could be enjoyed in different forms and preparations. KambuIdli/Rice Cakes, KambuDosai/Pancakes, Kambang-koozh/ Kanji/Porridge, Kambang-Kali/Halwa, Kambu Upma and many more.

  
Kambu Dosai – Pearl Millet Pancake

  

 

 

Ingredients (makes approximately 12-15 dosais)

  • kambu/pearl millet/bajra – 1 1/2 cups
  • muzhu ulundhu/black gram – 1/2 cup
  • vendhayam – 1 tsp
  • uppu/salt – as needed
  • oil – to make dosai

  

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and Soak all ingredients in enough water for a minimum 4 hrs
  2. Grind to a smooth batter
  3. Add salt to batter and leave to ferment for 6 hrs
  4. In a warm country, 6 hrs is enough and one can mix the fermented batter and keep it refrigerated for further use
  5. If in a cold country, leave it overnight
  6. Once fermented, always keep the batter refrigerated as it will go sour and get spoilt
  7. Make hot Dosais and serve with vengaya thuvayal /onion chutney or any chutney of choice
  8. After the dosais, more/buttermilk which is the diluted version of yoghurt with salt is served as coolant
  9. The buttermilk aids in digestion.

 

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