Muzhu Ulunthu Dosai/Black Gram Dosai – Pancakes
There are different kinds of Dosais – Traditional and Contemporary! The traditional ones include those pancakes made from a variety of grains and lentils. Like Kezhvaragu Dosai – Finger Millet Pancake; Kambu Dosai – Pearl Millet Pancake; Chola Dosai – Corn Pancake; Gothumai Dosai – Whole Wheat Pancake; Rava Dosai – Semolina Pancake; Adai – Lentil Pancake; Masala Dosai – Rice Pancakes stuffed with dry potato curry and so on.. The categorisation of tradition and contemporary might be a topic of conversation.
Now, this Masala Dosai is a perfect catch! It is a versatile pancake – to stuff the ingredient of one’s choice. The contemporary pancakes cater to the taste buds of people far and wide across the world, with the different kinds of stuffing.
But certainly, the pancakes with the various grains and lentils can be categorised as traditional as 1. they have been prepared through generations and most importantly 2. are becoming almost next to undone presently in households, while they are available at very selective restaurants.
One such kind of Dosai/Pancake made more commonly in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts of Tamilnadu is the Muzhu Ulundhu Dosai or Karuppu Ulundhu Dosai. It is Pancake made with Whole Black Gram. Normal Dosais are made with dehusked or skin removed black gram. This dosai is packed with the goodness of the whole grain and hence high in protein value. Black Gram is also a rich source of Iron, Phosphorus and Calcium.
muzhu ulundhu/black gram
Muzhu Ulundhu Dosai is made with the usual Parboiled Rice meant for Idlies and Dosais. The only difference being the Lentil used. The dehusked or deskinned black gram used in Idli and Dosai is substituted with the whole back gram. An easier option too – why? The batter can also be prepared by soaking all ingredients together and then blending them together. The time-consuming job of soaking separately and grinding separately rice and lentil is not needed here!
But originally, the black gram is ground first – soaking part not needed. Yes. you read it right. Only rice is soaked and the black gram is ground without being soaked. This might not work well with the present day electric grinders.
Amma says in those days when there were no electrical grinders, the muzhu ulundhu/black gram was ground in the Aattural – the hand machine to grind the batter. In the Aattural, the unsoaked black gram would be pounded first and then ground well with water until fluffy. After the ground gram is removed, the soaked parboiled rice is ground and mixed well with salt – no ladles please – only with hands. I had mentioned before too – the heat of the body through the mixing hands would let the batter ferment well and produce soft idlies or crispy dosais.
Now, if we use the black gram directly in the wet grinder of today, the stone inside might be damaged… or the motor inside might be affected – this one is quite practical and if the above mentioned problems do not arise – there would be a great amount of noise pollution created due to the dry grinding. So, in simple terms, just soak the black gram for a strain free treat.
When making the batter for a small family, the quantity of black gram to be soaked would be less – for a household of three members like ours might need batter for 12-15 dosais – breakfast or dinner for two schedules. Here soaking and grinding separately would be difficult to grind in the grinder. So, I soak both rice and black gram together and grind together and this has not made any big difference in the taste too.
This Dosai/Pancake batter comes out wonderfully fluffy after fermentation. The dosais can be made soft and thick or crispy as per one’s choice. I prefer the soft version and like most of the lentil dosais, muzhu ulundhu dosai tastes best with a spicy chutney. In our houses, it is the Vengaya Thuvayal or the Onion Chutney/Dip. With very limited ingredients – onions, garlic, tamarind and red chillies this chutney is the perfect match for a dosai with an earthy flavour due to the black gram.
dosai and thuvayal
Ingredients (makes 25-35 pancakes)
- puzhungal arisi/parboiled rice – 3 cups
- muzhu ulundhu/black gram – 1 cup
- venthayam/fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
- salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Method of Preparation
- Wash and soak rice, black gram and fenugreek seeds together for 4 hours
- Grind to a smooth paste with the same soaked water
- Add salt and mix well
- Let the batter ferment for a minimum 6 hours or overnight according to the heat in the kitchen – preferably overnight.
- Make soft or crispy dosais/pancakes. To make dosais, see https://dosaikal.com/basic-dosaidosa.
- Reduce the quantity to make lesser dosais but in the ratio 3:1 – rice:black gram.
- Fenugreek seeds are optional – but they aid in the versatility of dosais – crisp, soft or fluffy with added flavour.
- Always use gingelly oil if possible, for the best tasty Dosais.
- A well fermented batter would produce a pore-ful dosai!