Monthly Archives: May 2012

Chola Dosai/Yellow Corn Flour Pancake


healthy chola dosai/corn dosai


Cholam means Corn in Tamil language.   Before rice became a staple food in Tamilnadu,  cultivated cholam/corn, kezhvaragu/finger millet, kambu/pearl millet and many more natural grains which are uncommon in cities and becoming less common in towns and villages these days were used in making kanji/porridge or  cooked as main course meal.

Even today, every area – be it rural or urban in Tamilnadu has one or many local grinding mills. Ladies of the household use the local grinding mill to grind their gothumai/wheat, cholam/corn, kezhvaragu/finger millet, kambu/pearl millet and other whole grains to powder for usage in their day-to-day cooking – idli, dosai, upma and so on.   Powders to make all staple and speciality gravies like sambar, rasam, puli kuzhambu, kuruma and many more have to be grounded in these mills. Hence, these local grinding mills are indispensable. Nowadays, the whole grain powders are available ready-made in super markets.


Whole grains have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.

The medical evidence is clear that whole grains reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Few foods can offer such diverse benefits.

People who eat whole grains regularly have a lower risk of obesity, as measured by their body mass index and waist-to-hip ratios. They also have lower cholesterol levels.


That is why I thought I could share one of the easiest dosai batters, though needs little practice while making dosais/pancakes – Chola Dosai.

Makka Cholam/Sweet Corn is more common in most of the tourist/picnic spots… in beaches and hill stations – grilled corn, flavoured with juice of lemon, salt and chilly powder makes a spicy-tangy comfort food.

Dried corn is milled into a powder to make different breakfast and dinner main courses in Tamilnadu…. especially in rural Tamilnadu. I think it is slowly becoming a restricted affair in the cities to make idlis or dosais from different kinds of grains. Lack of time due to fast paced life!

Now, to some health benefits and historic facts of corn…


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 vitamin C as well as the mineral manganese. But it is corn’s phytonutrients that have taken center stage in the antioxidant research on corn.

Archaeological studies indicate that corn was first cultivated by the primitive people of Mesoamerica at least 5600 years ago.

Corn or maize was the primary starch for Native Americans for centuries. The kernels were boiled or fried, or ground to cornmeal after drying.



The evidence of maize in archaeological sites in China and its depiction in Hoysala Temples in India, both dated before the 15th century A.D., suggests that this domesticated crop was diffused by human action before the arrival of Columbus in the New World. The implications of this evidence are of great magnitude, since the presence of maize in Asia indicates that humans were able to migrate between both hemispheres; more than likely through trans-oceanic means of travel.





While coming from Chennai, I had brought chola maavu or the corn powder milled from the nearest grinding mill. After that was done, I get the packed yellow corn flour from the indian store.


chola maavu/corn flour



Chola Dosai

Ingredients (makes approximately 4 dosais)

  • chola maavu/yellow corn flour – 1 cup
  • salt – as needed
  • water – enough to make batter


Mix chola maavu, salt and water into a lumpless loose batter.


pour in patches


more if required


spread to make it even


turn to cook



Method of Preparation

  1. Heat dosaikal/tawa/flat pan on stove
  2. When hot, grease well with gingelly oil or any cooking oil
  3. Take enough batter in a ladle and pour in circular motion from inner to outer or outer to inner side of pan
  4. Pour more batter if needed and spread to make a crispy fine dosai/pancake
  5. Do not make like normal dosai method – pouring the dosai batter in the middle of the tawa and spreading it evenly in circular motion; see
  6. Pouring the batter in patches, and then quickly spreading it evenly on pan makes perfect chola dosai
  7. Sprinkle oil on the outer edge of the dosai and let it cook till brown
  8. Turn the dosai to cook on both sides
  9. Serve hot with preferred chutney.  see


cooked well on the other side


ready to serve




  1. This batter would stick to the dosaikal/pan immediately – hence cannot be made like the normal dosai – in circular motion from inside to outside.
  2. Pouring in patches from outside to inside or vice versa and then spreading helps to avoid broken dosais.
  3. Takes a little practice to be successful. Good Luck!

Mor Kuzhambu/Buttermilk Curry


easy to digest – Tirunelveli Mor Kuzhambu


Mor Kuzhambu is a simple yoghurt curry. Mor means buttermilk and kuzhambu means gravy or curry in tamil language. In the north of India, the gravy made with yoghurt is called ‘Kadi’. Mor Kuzhambu looks like the north Indian ‘Kadi’, but the flavour of mor kuzhambu is enhanced by the ground coconut mixture and it is thinner in consistency. It is a really light gravy and very less or nil in pungent spices, which makes it easily digestible.

Vegetables like okra, long squash (lauki) or ash guard (white pumpkin or petha) are generally used in making this kuzhambu. Vadai (vada or deep-fried lentil balls) made fresh with soaked and ground kadalai paruppu/channa dal/bengal gram can also be used instead of vegetables to make mor kuzhambu.

When I was young, Mor Kuzhambu used to be our Sunday Lunch Special. Mostly, amma used to make ‘vadai potta mor kuzhambu’ or buttermilk curry with deep-fried lentil balls soaked in it. Sometimes, with vegetables.

 A few years ago, I had the splendid privilege of having aachi – my paternal grandmother and thatha – my grandfather come and stay with us for a while. When I wanted to cook something special for thatha, aachi suggested mor kuzhambu – one of his favourites and very easily digestible at any age.

Now, destiny had knocked my kitchen door to make me realise what I had missed so long.

I asked her to guide me. The step by step process of making mor kuzhambu…  the exotic aroma of grinding coconut with many more ingredients… the blended colour of buttermilk/beaten yoghurt with turmeric and the ground ingredients… the flavour of the vegetable cooked in this kuzhambu/gravy…. all made me relish the art of making mor kuzhambu and love tasting it too!

This is traditional tirunelveli style mor kuzhambu… thoothukudi mor kuzhambu might be different.

(Note: Amma’s mor kuzhambu is equally tasty… she always makes this mor kuzhambu she learnt from her mother-in-law – the same grand old lady of the household! I recollected this exact recipe from amma)

Mor Kuzhambu tastes best with ash gourd – vellai poosanikkai in tamil and petha in hindi.


vellai poosani/ash gourd


A few nutritional aspects of ash gourd –


Ash-gourd is loaded with nutrients. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin C. It is also rich in many minerals like calcium. Its high potassium content makes this a good vegetable for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

Ash-gourd is alkaline in nature and hence has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids and as such used effectively for treating digestive ailments like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. Ash-gourd juice is a popular home remedy for peptic ulcers. Ash-gourd juice is also used to treat diabetes.

Ash-gourd is also useful in treating respiratory disorders like asthma, blood-related diseases, and urinary diseases like kidney stones



Mor Kuzhambu/Buttermilk Curry

 Ingredients (serves approximately 4)

  • cubed vellai poosani/ash guard – 2 cups
  • water – 1/4 cup to cook the vegetable
  • butter milk – beat 3 cups curds with 1/2 cup water together
  • turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
  • salt – to taste
  • coriander leaves – for garnish
  • asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp


cubed vegetable


Grind to Paste

  • freshly grated coconut (do not use desiccated or dried coconut) – 1/2 cup
  • pottukadalai/roasted channa dal (chutney dal) – 2 tbsp
  • minced ginger – 1 tsp
  • cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 no.s (according to spice level of chillies)




 grind to paste


 mix with buttermilk



  • cooking oil – 2 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • red chillies – 1 broken into two halves
  • curry leaves – a few


add yoghurt mixture into cooked vegetable



beautiful yellow colour


Method of Preparation

  1. Peel the skin, remove seeds and cube vellai poosani/ash gourd
  2. Heat oil in an iruppu chatti/ kadai and add mustard seeds
  3. When mustard seeds splutter, add red chilly and curry leaves
  4. Then add the cubed vegetable and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  5. Pour in 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt; Cover and cook the vegetable in medium heat till done
  6. Beat the curds and water to make buttermilk
  7. In a wide bowl, add the ground paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt to buttermilk and mix well
  8. Pour this buttermilk mixture to the cooked vegetable in the iruppu chatti/kadai
  9. Stir gently in low heat till everything blends well
  10. While getting cooked, the raw yoghurt gravy transforms into a beautiful light yellow colour kuzhambu
  11. Keep stirring till the kuzhambu comes to boil
  12. Kuzhambu is done
  13. Do not increase heat or boil the gravy too much as the buttermilk will lose its consistency or curdle
  14. Add very little water if kuzhambu is too thick
  15. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
  16. Serve hot with rice.


mor kuzhambu done



  1. Never add desiccated or frozen coconut – freshly grated coconut tastes best
  2. Yoghurt should be beaten well – this avoids quick curdling while cooked
  3. Always cook in sim or medium heat to avoid curdling
  4. Kuzhambu should be stirred gently
  5. Other vegetables like vendaikkai/okra, suraikkai/bottle gourd, vellarikkai/cucumber or poosanikkai/pumpkin taste good in mor kuzhambu.