Monthly Archives: April 2014

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

 

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 – https://dosaikal.com/2011/08/14/basic-dosaidosa/

and serve with chutney of choice – refer – https://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!

 

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. Check out the link for the recipe!
  

 

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

  

Above 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.

  

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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!