Tag Archives: dosa

Nellikkai Thengai Milagaivatral Thuvayal/ Gooseberry Coconut Red Chilli Chutney (Gooseberry Chutney Series)

Next in the nellikkai/gooseberry thuvayal series, is a blend of coconut, red chillies, shallots, ginger and the star ingredient gooseberry.

There is an extra addition here – black gram, to give some texture to the chutney. We fry deskinned blackgram, shallots, ginger and redchillies. The fried ingredients are then added to fresh coconut and gooseberry to be blended.

Nellikkai Thengai Milagaivatral Thuvayal/ Gooseberry Coconut Red Chilli Chutney

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • periya nellikkai/gooseberry (bigger variety) – 5no.s chopped
  • thengai/coconut – 1/2 finely chopped/grated
  • milagai vatral/redchillies- 6/7 as preferred
  • chinna vengayam/shallots- 8 no.s
  • ginger– 1/2 inch piece
  • ulundham paruppu/skinned black gram – 2 tbsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • yennai/oil – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Peel shallots, grate coconut, chop gooseberries
  2. In a pan, take a tsp of oil and fry skinned black gram till golden. Then add red chillies, ginger and shallots, and fry till shallots become opaque. This would take a minute or two
  3. Switch off the stove. Let the fried stuff cool a bit
  4. In the blender jar, add grated coconut and chopped gooseberries
  5. Add the fried ingredients
  6. Add salt and water and blend to a smooth paste
  7. I prefer adding just enough water to all the gooseberry chutneys, to give a feel of thuvayal made in ‘Ammikkal’- stone grinder or the traditional roller stone.
  8. This thuvayal tastes best with seasoning.

thaalippu – seasoning

  • yennai/oil  – 2 tsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/skinned black gram – 1 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves- 5/6
  1. Heat oil in a small pan
  2. Add mustard seeds
  3. When they splutter add black gram
  4. When it becomes golden brown, add curry leaves
  5. Pour this into the thuvayal.

Serve with Idli, Dosai, Uthappam or any main course of your choice.


Maappillai Samba Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Varieties of Tamilnadu – 5


maappillai samba arisi/rice


and ILAVATTAKKAL- the stone of the Youth

photo courtesy: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/village-life-for-real/article7521099.ece

Love and Valour have been the main sources of Life and Literature of the Tamils for more than 2000 years (Sangam Tamil Literature dates back to 3rd century BCE to 3rd century ACE).

‘Ilavattakkal’ -roughly translated as ‘the stone of the youngster’ – is an almost forgotten symbolic stone of the Bridegrooms among the Tamils Community. It is a huge stone which was used as a means to judge the physical and mental strength of the ‘Groom in Talk’ for their daughter. To lift the heavy, slippery, beautifully round stone needed great valour, fearlessness, manliness and tonnes of courage. This was an unambiguous assessment of the stamina of the Man, who was seeking the hands of their Daughter. The process was carried out in front of the village elders. The strong man gets the girl.

There are several stages in lifting the ‘Ilavattakkal’.

1. First, the man sits in squatting position

2. and tries to hug the (huge) stone closer to the chest

3. Slightly gets up and moves the stone down till his knees

4. Standing erect, lifts the stone slowly back to the chest

5. Then moves the stone gradually upward to shoulders

6. Holds the stone at shoulder position

7. Beyond holding the stone, taking a circumambulation of the temple or the village pond is another act to prove extra valour.

Translated from information provided from www.eegarai.net/t131596-topic

Generally, after lifting the stone on the shoulder, throwing it down behind makes the young man an eligible Groom.

View this video and know it yourself  –

Courtesy Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kog3LiZTp0

Now, what is the match between Ilavattakkal and Mappillai Samba Rice, the next native rice variety we are talking about?

The Tamils who have been cultivators of thousands of varieties of rice for the two or three millenia, the trail of mankind has been traced –  have classified different rice varieties for different purposes. A few are listed below.

Mappillai Samba Rice was supposed to be a strengthening rice for ‘Mappillai’ or the groom ready for marriage.

Kavuni Rice was a variety meant to be consumed after marriage.

Poonkar Rice was meant to be consumed by women during Pregnancy.

Paal kudavaarai was given to women after child birth, for sufficient milk production. (paal means milk in tamil).

Vaaran Samba was given to babies after sixth month.

Kaattuyaanam was given to cure Knee ailments

Translated from the information published in – www.dinakaran.com/News_Detail.asp?Nid=222139

Hence, the name ‘Mappillai Samba’ is derived from the person the rice is given to -The Groom to be – for strength and health . Maappillai or Mapillai means Bride-Groom in Tamil.

Additionally, this rice boosts immunity and helps tackling Diabetes, among several other health benefits.

Mappillai Samba Kanji or Porridge made from this rice is a sort after tasty simple dish. I tried making Dosai and here is how I made them.

Mappillai Samba Arisi Dosai/Pancakes



Ingredients (makes approximately 10-12 dosais)


• maappillai samba arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• kal uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp

Method of Preparation

Making batter-


1. Wash well maappillai samba arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.

Making Dosai-

1. Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove
2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin
3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake.


4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook one side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.

6. Maappillai Arisi Dosai comes out real crispy.

Kullankar Arisi Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu – 4

Let’s make dosais/pancakes with Kullankar Arisi – another of the native/indigenous rice varieties of Tamilnadu.

A few health benefits of Kullankar Arisi-

  • High in antioxidants and hence boosts immunity
  • Aids in Insulin Secretion and hence tackles diabetes
  • Helps in weight reduction

Kullankar Arisi Dosai/Pancakes


Ingredients (makes approximately 12-15 dosais)


• Kullankar Arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• Karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• Kal Uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp


Method of Preparation


Making batter-

1. Wash well Kullankar Arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.

Making Dosai-

1. Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove
2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin
3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake.


4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook one side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.


6. Make Kullankar Arisi Dosai crisp or soft as preferred.

Kudavaazhai Arisi Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu – 2

In the list of traditional or native rice varieties of Tamilnadu, my attempt in making dosais continues with Kudavaazhai/Kudavaalai Arisi.



In search of health benefits of this rice, I could find the following websites with some information,

a. Health benefits of traditional rice varieties in valaitamil.com


b. Parampariya nel vagaigalin maruthuva gunangal (medicinal properties of traditional rice varieties) by Prof. M. Menaka


c. Parampariya nel vagaigal – enathu payanam 2015 (traditional grain varieties – my travel 2015)


Another research file on native rice varieties shows that –


  • In terms of the Glycemic Index (GI) it is seen that all indigenous varieties have a GI that lower than the modern variety.
  • When the GI of the indigenous variety is compared to the modern variety White Ponni, on a scale when the GI of White Ponni is 100, it was found that the GI of Kullakar, Kovuni, Karungkuruvai and Kalanamak are in the range 50-55 while Mapillai Samba and Kudaivazhai are in the range of 66 – 70.

Click to access ciks_progress_report_kp_with_annexes.pdf


These websites provide insights regarding native rice, along with those activists who have been greatly encouraging the spread of such native rice varieties among common people. These enthusiasts have been influential in introducing the grains to farmers, which has been gaining support and confidence among various groups to give a new boom to indigenous rice varieties.

What we need to know about these native rice varieties is that, these are all unprocessed brown, red or black rice. When we say ‘unprocessed’, it suggests that the nutrient value of the rice is intact and not polished away with the polishing of rice. When the western world subscribes to a particular health ideology – the learned community of the various developing countries give respect to those ideas, not knowing their native food habits have referred to the same, several centuries earlier. If we were smart enough to withstand the introduction of refined ready-made foods like pizza, pasta, burgers, noodles, parathas or the South Indian parottas- which are all made with refined flour – either from restaurants or made at home– we would have been a healthier society with less degenerative and life style related diseases.

The above mentioned fact would easily translate as being stuck to native and traditional food practices, an easy way to healthy life and healthier generations.

The indigenous wheat flour was replaced with white flour – refined flour (maida)
Cane, Palm and Date Jaggery – the unrefined sugars were replaced with processed white sugar
The unpolished black, red and brown rice varieties were replaced with polished white rice – devoid of many essential nutrients.

The list would go on and on … White might be synonymous to flawless cleanliness – but certainly not for healthy living and healthy off springs to extend stronger branches to consecutive generations. This level of survival of our society is due to the strong roots provided by our ancestors. But, healthy survival of our off springs lies in the changes we would adopt towards fighting obesity and junk food habits. We haven’t yet realized that junk is filled in our kitchen cabinets in its purest form – WHITE.

Let’s move on in our journey of healthy native rice based pancakes/dosais – this time – Kudavazhai Arisi Dosai.



The health benefits of this rice being, as per published articles –

  1. Rich in Anti-oxidants
  2. Fights diabetes
  3. Rich in fibre
  4. Fights intestine related ailments
  5. Aids in tackling constipation


Kudavazhai is considered to have been derived from two Tamil words –
Kudal – Intestine and Vazha – revival or to make live
In other words, the rice variety which aids in well-being of intestines and protects against related ailments was named Kudavazhai or Kudavaalai.

Dosais with Traditional/Native rice varieties

Kudavazhai Arisi Dosai/ Pancakes with Kudavazhai Arisi


Ingredients (makes approximately 15 dosais)



• Kudavazhai Arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• Karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• Kal Uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp

Method of Preparation


Making the batter-


1. Wash well Kudavazhai Arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.

Making Dosai-


1.Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove

2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin

3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake


4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook a side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.


6. Make Kudavazhai Arisi Dosai crisp or soft and enjoy with any Thuvayal/chutney. The Dosai comes out beautifully crisp that you can shape it yourself.

Kollu Dosai/Horsegram Dosai – Pancakes

Kollu Dosai/Horsegram Dosai

Horsegram has wonderful health benefits in reduction of cholesterol levels and aids as a relaxant during chilly cold weather and cold related ailments.

Different foods are prepared with Kollu, in different parts of India. In the south of India, Kollu Rasam (spicy soup), Kollu Paruppu (cooked lentil curry) are a few delicacies.

The most favourite and tastiest usage of Kollu might be the Horsegram Pancakes. They have an exclusive flavour and crispness unlike other millet based dosais. There is an important difference though. All other millets are replacements to rice and are hence used instead of rice. Here, Kollu or Horsegram is a lentil and is placed instead of black gram and is combined with Rice.


Horse gram can best be considered a reddish brown legume that is full of numerous health advantages. It can benefit with a number of health issues since it is a grain that contains a good as well as rich quantity of vitamins, proteins, as well as iron. Along with weight loss, it will help in lowering of excess fat through the body. Horse gram is full of B-complex vitamin and proteins. It will help in purifying menstruation as well as cures and helps prevent arthritis. The existence of adequate dietary fiber within the gram will help balance sugar glucose as well as blood pressure levels.Listed here are some health advantages related to horse gram. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-horse-gram/


The heat that Kollu produces in the body after consumption is something to be taken note of. Since it is a high heat-producing food, it is combined with rice which goes smooth on the system. Additionally, rice aids in easy digestion of Horsegram too. To tackle the heat of the lentil, thuvayal or chutneys made with shallots or tomatoes are a great choice.

Kollu Dosai is preferably a breakfast meal. All millet based/lintel based pancakes are suitably taken for breakfast to aid in easy digestion. One has to keep in mind that, all high fibre, power packed pancakes are low in calories compared to plain rice or wheat based foods, yet they take longer to break up in the digestive tract, which makes them more suitable as breakfast foods.


Kollu Dosai/Horsegram Dosai

comes out really crisp





  • idli Arisi/idlis rice – 2 cups
  • kollu Paruppu/Horsegram – 1 cup
  • vendhayam/fenugreek seeds. 1/2 tsp
  • kal Uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp

Method of Preparation

Making batter-

the light foamy paste is proof of light weighted idlies or dosais, exclusive to kollu


  1. Wash well idli rice and kollu/horse gram separately.
  2. Add fenugreek seeds to washed horse gram
  3. Soak both idli rice and horse gram overnight or minimum 6 hours in water in different utensils .
  4. Grind separately like the normal idli batter in a grinder or any blender. The stone grinder brings a beautiful foamy batter out of soaked horsegram.
  5. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
  6. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
  7. Dosai batter is ready for use.

Making Dosai-


  1. Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove
  2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin
  3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake
  4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
  5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook a side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.
  6. Enjoy Kollu Dosai with any Thuvayal/chutney.
  7. Have a glass of Mor or Buttermilk that cools the system and aids in digestion.



Buttermilk: always to be had with Kollu Dosai

Take 1/4 glass of thick yoghurt, 3/4 glass of water, salt, fenugreek powder, asafoetida and blend well to a smooth liquid. This is the basic buttermilk. Buttermilk can be made flavourful with addition of coriander leaves, curry leaves, green chillies, mint leaves and so on. Feel free to add your own flavourful agents.

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


black gram and pearl millet



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





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.








  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.


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.


Power Packed Pancakes – Whole Grain Dosais!


power packed grains and lentils


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

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
dosaikal 26 027


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,
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.



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!


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
dosaikal 4 162

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!

dosaikal 8 088

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
dosaikal 4 113
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.



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!

Muzhu Ulunthu Dosai/Black Gram Dosai – Pancakes


muzhu ulundhu dosai/black gram pancake

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


Muzhu Ulundhu Dosai/Karuppu Ulundhu Dosai/Black Gram Pancakes


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

  1. Wash and soak rice, black gram and fenugreek seeds together for 4 hours
  2. Grind to a smooth paste with the same soaked water
  3. Add salt and mix well
  4. Let the batter ferment for a minimum 6 hours or overnight according to the heat in the kitchen – preferably overnight.
  5. Make soft or crispy dosais/pancakes. To make dosais, see https://dosaikal.com/basic-dosaidosa.


making dosai on dosaikal/pan



  1. Reduce the quantity to make lesser dosais but in the ratio 3:1 – rice:black gram.
  2. Fenugreek seeds are optional – but they aid in the versatility of dosais – crisp, soft or fluffy with added flavour.
  3. Always use gingelly oil if possible, for the best tasty Dosais.
  4. A well fermented batter would produce a pore-ful dosai!


well fermented and dosai with pores

Thengai Chutney – Coconut Chutney

Chutneys are the best accompaniments for most of the south indian food items. Idlis, Dosais, Uppumas, Paniyarams, Vadais and many more breakfast and dinner dishes are always had with various kinds of chutneys. Even rice varieties are had with special chutneys. The breakfast platter would definitely have the white coconut chutney. The general coconut chutney popular in all restaurants is prepared with grated coconut and pottukadalai/roasted channa dal/roasted split chick peas. We from the coastal districts of tamilnadu – Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli would not use this pottukadalai more in the chutneys. Might be due to the abundance of coconut, plain coconut chutney with tamarind and green chillies is the daily routine. Pottukadalai is also called porikadalai. The pottukadalai chutney used to be a rarity and so we used to call it hotel chutney – the chutney which is available in restaurants.

I learnt making this hotel chutney or the regular coconut chutney of  chennaiites from my mother-in-law. She also taught me many more healthy vegetable chutneys (to be posted in future).

pottukadalai – roasted chick peas

Coconut Chutney using Pottukadalai (roasted split chick peas) (serves 2)


  • freshly grated coconut – 1 cup (desiccated coconut gives a different taste)
  • pottukadalai – 1/2 cup
  • green chillies – 4 no.s
  • ginger – 1/2 inch piece
  • water
  • salt – as needed

Thaalippu – Thadka

  • oil for thadka
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • curry leaves

thengai chutney/coconut chutney

Method of Preparation

  1. In a blender, add freshly grated coconut, pottukadalai, green chillies, ginger, salt and adequate water
  2. Grind this well into a smooth paste
  3. Transfer into a serving bowl
  4. For tadka, heat oil in a small pan
  5. Add mustard seeds
  6. Let mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal
  7. When urad dal becomes light reddish, add curry leaves
  8. Pour this into the chutney
  9. Green chillies can be adjusted according to required spice of the family
  10. Serve with idlis, dosais or any dish of choice. (https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/16/idli-steamed-rice-cakes/) (https://dosaikal.com/2011/08/14/basic-dosaidosa/)

Note: When I prepared this chutney recently, I found the mustard seeds container empty.. so I substituted with seeragam/jeera/cumin seeds.