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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

  

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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.

   

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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

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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

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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.

  

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

May 24, 2014 2 comments

  

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.

 

Kezhvaragu Dosai/Finger Millet Pancake (Whole Grain Dosai Series)

April 29, 2014 Leave a comment

  

kezhvaragu/finger millet – the centre of attraction

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First in the series of Dosais would be Kezhvaragu Dosai. Kezhvaragu in Tamil, is Finger Millet in English and locally Ragi in Karnataka, the southern Indian state which is the largest producer of Finger Millet in India. It is also called Keppai in Tamil.

I give primary importance to Kezhvaragu/Ragi as it was one of the first foods of my daughter after mother’s milk at six months of age.

When my daughter was ready for her first worldly meal – she was fed Keppai Kanji or Finger Millet Porridge. The millet is soaked and sprouted, dried and milled first. This powder is mixed with milk and sugar or jaggery and boiled to porridge consistency. The warm porridge is best next to Mother’s Milk for infants.

  

health drink for children: keppai kanji – finger millet porridge

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It is rich in Amino Acids which are vital in normal functioning of body and are essential for repairing body tissues. Finger Millet contains Tryptophan, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine and Methionoine amino acids. Isoleucine helps in muscle repair, blood formation, contributes to bone formation and improves skin health.

    

Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet
  

ingredients for dosai

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This is a beautiful orange colored grain. When powdered and mixed with milk or water in porridges or made into batter for pancakes, the color changes to somewhat ashy brown.

In packaged drinks called ‘ragi malt’ or powdered version available in the markets, it used to be in orange color, the synthetic colors added to give it the natural grain like color. But beware of those colorful health drinks. Kezhvaragu loses its color when grounded or mixed with milk or water.

Finger Millet, is cultivated in drier parts of the world – mainly in Asia and Africa. It has a distinct taste and is widely used in Southern Indian and Ethiopian dishes. It is easy to digest and does not contain gluten; people who are sensitive to gluten can easily consume Finger Millet.

   

Nutritional Facts

 
1. Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet contains an amino acid called Tryptophan whichlowers appetite and helps in keeping weight in control. Ragi gets digested at a slower rate thus keeps one away from intaking excessive calories.

 
2. Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet consumption helps in development of bones in growing children and in maintenance of bone health in adults. It keeps diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could reduce risk of fracture.

 
3. It’s photo chemicals help in slowing digestion process and lowering absorption of starch.. This helps in controlling blood sugar level in condition of diabetes. In a study conducted in 2000, it was found that Finger Millet based diet helps diabetics as it contains higher fiber than rice and wheat.

 
4. Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet contains amino acids Lecithin and Methionine which help in bringing down cholesterol level eliminating excess fat from Liver. Finger Millet also contains Threonine amino acid which hinders fat formation in the liver, which brings cholesterol level of the body down.

 
5. It is a very good source of natural Iron. It also helps in relaxing body naturally. It is beneficial in conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is also useful for migraines.

 
6. It is rich in Amino Acids which are vital in normal functioning of body and are essential for repairing body tissues. Finger Millet contains Tryptophan, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine and Methionoine amino acids. Isoleucine helps in muscle repair, blood formation, contributes to bone formation and improves skin health.

 
7. If consumed regularly, Ragi could help in keeping malnutrition, degenerative diseases and premature aging at bay.

  
  

Caution:
It is an extremely nutritious cereal and is very beneficial for maintaining a good health. However, its high intake could increase quantity oxalic acid in the body. Therefore, it is not advised to patients having kidney stones (Urinary Calculi).

    

Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet could be enjoyed in different forms and preparations. Keppai Idli/Rice Cakes, Keppai Dosai/Pancakes, Keppai Kanji/Porridge, Keppai Kali/Halwa, Keppai Upma, Ragi Cakes, Ragi Biscuits and many more.

  
Kezhvaragu Dosai/Finger Millet Pancake

  

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Ingredients (makes appr. 12-15 dosais/pancakes)

  • Kezhvaragu/ragi/finger millet – 1 1/2 cups
  • Ulundhu not split/dehusked black gram – 1/2 cup
  • Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • salt – as needed
  • oil – to make dosais

  

soaked

  

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.

  

one side of the story

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and the other side

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To Make Dosais/Pancakes refer – http://dosaikal.com/2011/08/14/basic-dosaidosa/

and serve with chutney of choice – refer – http://dosaikal.com/category/chutneys/

  

if one prefers dehusked black gram – go for it

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Note

  1. The black gram generally used is dehusked whole black gram. I prefer to use black gram with skin which adds to the nutrient value of the dosai.
  2. Be careful with the fermentation as the batter would become sour very quickly. Minimum 4 hrs is enough in a warm climate
  3. This is the plain dosai. If one prefers, grinding red chillies together or mixing coconut just before making Dosais can be a variation. Do not mix coconut before fermentation as coconut would be spoilt and make the batter spoilt too.
  4. Buttermilk is had after the Dosai as kezhvargi/ragi is supposed to be a heat producing grain and the onion in chutney and more/buttermilk act as coolants.
  5. Can make the Dosais thick or crispy thin as preferred.

  
Not to miss:

  1. Since Kezvaragu is supposed to be a heat producing agent for the body, it is always had with shallots/onion thuvayal/chutney.
  2. After a breakfast with onion chutney and dosai, buttermilk or diluted yoghurt is always served as a coolant.
  3. It is preferably or rather specifically adviced to have it only as breakfast and not for dinner as it needs more time to digest.

  
All nutritional facts adapted from http://naturopathycure.com/Health-Benefits-of-Finger-Millet-%28Ragi%29.php

ready!

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Power Packed Pancakes – Whole Grain Dosais!

April 19, 2014 Leave a comment

  
 

power packed grains and lentils

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top – brown rice, yellow corn and black chick peas

bottom – black gram, green gram, finger miller and pearl millet.

  

Idlies and Dosais for Stress-free life/life style…

  

Why not start a series on different kinds of Dosais/pancakes? With less intake of White Rice recommended, the wide variety of whole grain Dosais would not only contribute to the overall well-being of the family, but also in relieving Stress in terms of what to provide the next morning as breakfast on the table… Healthier, Yummier and less stress on the Home Cook! Just a bit of pre-planning required of course.

  
Whole Grains and Lentils

The different grains and lentils grown in the southern part of India marks the usage of those grains in the form of Dosais.

    
 

Kezhvaragu/Keppai – Finger Millet
Kambu – Pearl Millet
Makka Cholam – Corn
Vellai Cholam – Jowar/Sorghum
Varagarisi – Kodo Millet
Samai – Little Millet
Thinai – Foxtail Millet
Godhumai – Wheat
Muzhu ulundhu – Black Gram
Kollu – Horse Gram

    

are a few grains that are used in making Dosais and sometimes Idlies/steamed cakes too! But Dosais are comparatively easier, as Idlies have the risk of not rising well if the combination goes wrong or the fermenting ingredient is less or more. This list is apart from the usage of red rice and other lentils in making Dosais.

and this is varagarisi/kodo millet

  
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I might have left out a few here. Also, the photo display has only a few grains, those which are available with me at present.

The grains are not only used in their original form, soaked and ground; they are also used as powders, milled – sprouted or not sprouted. These powders are available in specific stores all over Tamilnadu.

These are 100% traditional foods. With today’s’ medical advancements proving their health benefits, the almost lost grains in the cities are slowly becoming power packed foods with soaring prices in the retail market.

The list of Dosais/Pancakes are all traditionally still part of South Indian cuisine – more specifically that I am sure of in Tamilnadu cuisine and in the homes of believers of traditional food.

The usage of grains may not only be in the form of pancakes, but in a varied forms like kanji/porridge, idiyappam/string hoppers, grain balls/urundai, kali/halwa and many more …

or the storable batters that end up as Idlies/rice cakes or Dosais/pancakes!

  
Stress-free Cooking with Dosais

  
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In today’s world, everyone is busy – an infant, toddler, pre-schooler or a school going kid, a teenager, youngster or an adult … ‘Busy’ is synonymous to ‘Life’. While ‘Stress’ stands for over-burden, who can categorize the stress level of each person?

Now, What is Stress?
an unmanageable kid – stress for a working mother,
a lazy employee – stress for a Boss,
heavily demanding boss – stress for a subordinate
troublesome daughter-in-law – stress for a mother-in-law,
complaining mother-in-law – stress for a daughter-in-law,
a serious patient – stress for a physician,
not so serious physician – stress for a patient,
And
not so caring wife – stress for a husband,
a self-centric husband – stress for a wife

The list is endless. This list may not categorize the true stress levels… Mostly the opposite or other extreme of these could also be stress factors.

Why talk so much about Stress? Having Good, Healthy Food and Serving Good, Healthy Food are stress factors attached to the Kitchen Cabinet – whoever is in charge be it male or female.

  

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I am one of those who takes her work serious and so the Stress too! It’s my feeling that Home is my Office, Kitchen is my Cabin and my work load in terms of a Chef without Hat at home is to provide Good, Healthy Food to my family.

So, whatever be my above mentioned stress, an unmanageable kid or a lazy caretaker, I want to do my Duty without much flaws! Especially, ensuring the best possible nutrients in homemade GOOD FOOD – ‘GOOD’ in its true sense – Stressless or Stressful!

Luckily for my family – COOKING is my Stress Buster!

  
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That is where I find Idlies – Rice cakes and Dosais – pancakes make my life stress free – of course with the tiny bit of stress making the batter before hand. But, stress free as they can be stored for even five days in the refrigerator. Every morning and evening, only a few minutes to make them, leaving the stress of making chutney or Sambaar only! That’s ok.. the side dishes are manageable and can be stored in the freezer too.

  
Frozen Batter

  
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Any batter for Dosais- pancakes (basic idli/dosai or lentil or whole grain batters) can be frozen. Make your batter, ferment it and freeze it in small portions or in two portions. Take out one portion and place in the refrigerator section overnight. Next morning keep it out for a few minutes to an hour. Or defrost in the morning. Batter is ready to make Dosais! What else do you want for a lazy weekend brunch or early dinner? Team the pancakes with chutney or left over curries too!

In fact, whenever we were traveling in Europe, with my daughter who was 3-5 years of age or sometimes with my septuagenarian mother-in-law who would prefer Dosais to sandwiches, I used to freeze a huge quantity of batter which would yield at least 30-40 Dosais enough for all for 3-4 days. Our favourite car trunk used to be filled with frozen food! After a long day’s tiring travel and touring and lunch with sandwiches, the thought of coming back to our kitchenette and having Dosais with thawed chutney or curry was such a soothing affair only South Indian tummies can explain!

In an apartment that wasn’t ours, in some of the most beautiful parts of Europe, in a kitchen that wasn’t mine, making our own Dosais, used to be a wonderful feeling, leave aside the work before and after… Washing the utensils and winding up the kitchen (that was not ours too) even during a holiday!

  
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But an important point to remember, dosaikal or the pan to make Dosais cannot be adjusted with any other pan! One needs to carry the same pan… Pans used for Dosais alone can make the best of Dosais without the batter sticking to pans.

I think back after a couple of years now and feel exhausted even at the thought of having done that for the three years of delightful tours in Europe. But, not letting my three year old sleep with only half or quarter tummy full or the whole family long for home cooked meal after a couple of days has been a Soothing Effect for my heart!

Have I become so much older that I feel exhausted even at the thought of it? But that’s not the issue. The fact is that dosai/pancake batters can be stored for long or frozen too! So flexible to maintain a healthy diet with minimal stress!

  
Breads, Parathas and Dosais

Different kinds of breads or pancakes for the western world;
Different kinds of parathas for northern India;
Dosais or pancakes stand for the South Indians!

1. these can be made from various ingredients – whole grains, lentils or a combination of these
2. some fermented and some non-fermented
3. unlike yeast or other baking-aid ingredients, basically black gram or dehusked black gram is used for the fermentation process
4. as kneading the dough is needed in both breads and parathas, here washing, soaking and grinding involves more time.. Time involved is more than the work involved with the aid of electrical equipments

  
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Unlike breads or baguette those need to be baked and kept on the breakfast table, the North Indian Parathas and South Indian Dosais taste best from a live kitchen with an on-the-spot chef who makes hot/incomparable stuff. Of course, they can also be made beforehand and stored in hot cases. But not as same as breads!

  
A Series

In the forthcoming posts, I shall try to post a few of the whole grain dosais or power packed pancakes as I call them. Some would be the soaked grain version and a few would be the powdered version as per stock at home.

The basic Dosai/Pancake, Chola Dosai/Corn Dosai, Muzhu Ulundhu Dosai/Black Gram Dosai, Payaru Dosai/Whole Lentil Dosai and Adai Dosai/Mixed Lentil Dosai are already available.

  

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A gentle reminder

Now, if reading this article was a stress or one feels making dosais can be a stressful affair, do not worry! This free world is full of options – make your food yourself or buy or order it yourself, it is your decision. Anything ‘Stressfree’ is the need of the hour!!

But, if you decide that, making the power packed pancakes at home is going to be less stressful than reading this post of mine, just continue … the next few posts I promise would be truly a – Power Packed – Healthy series!

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