Tag Archives: tamilnadu

Kariveppilai Yennai/Traditional Hair Oil with Curry Leaves

 

Kariveppilai is the Tamil name for Curry leaves. It roughly translates as neem leaf used in curries –  Kari+Veppilai – Veppilai is Neem Leaf. It looks almost like neem leaf, but doesn’t carry the bitterness of neem. The wonderful aroma of the curry leaf when fried, makes it a great agent for seasoning in many dishes. Having known the medicinal effects and health benefits this exceptional tree possesses, the Tamils have been including the curry leaf in varied usages.

  

    

They are considered to have anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and hepatoprotective (capability to protect the liver from damage) properties. The roots are used for treating body aches and the bark is used for snake bite relief.

The main nutrients found in curry leaves are carbohydrates, energy, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper, and minerals. [1] It also contains various vitamins like nicotinic acid and vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, antioxidants, plant sterols, amino acids, glycosides, and flavonoids. Also, nearly zero fat (0.1 g per 100 g) is found in them.

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-curry-leaves.html

    

Apart from these scientific facts, the main benefits that home makers for generations have been telling their off springs are-

kariveppilai/curry leaf is-

  •  good for eyes
  • good for digestion
  • important in maintaining darker hair colour
  • a natural coolant

  
When we used to leave aside the fried curry leaf from the chutney, from the sambar, from the kuzhambu/curries on our plates, amma would scold us to chew and finish it off. We would reluctantly do it or sometimes quarrel and throw it away. Then she would secretly add the leaves -powdered- in many dishes… we would unknowingly consume it.  Now, as a mother, I am scolding my daughter to wipe the plate clean chewing all extra curry leaves, and am also trying to inculcate the valued curry leaves in many dishes, without my child’s attention. No fault here with the curry leaf, but some genetic disorder of setting aside chewable things from blended dips.

    

Curry leaves are herbs that are known to have essential nutrients that help in conditions like weight loss, blood pressure, indigestion, anaemia, diabetes, acne, hair loss, et al. These aromatic leaves, also known as kadi patta, have nutrients like copper, calcium, phosphorus, fibre, carbohydrates, energy, magnesium and iron. They also possess many types of vitamins like vitamins A, B, C and E and amino acids beneficial for health. 

https://www.ndtv.com/food/curry-leaves-benefits-use-kadi-patta-for-your-health-beauty-and-hair-1861407

    

  
The specific usage of the curry leaf in preparing Hair Oil is the topic of this post. Curry Leaf Oil is a great coolant for the hot climate of the southern part of India, especially Tamilnadu. It also tackles early greying of hair and aids in hair growth – whether applied as oil or consumed in various dishes. 

I have used kariveppilai yennai when young and still see appa (father) use it. We also make fun of his moustache having turned grey sooner than his hair, thanks to the kariveppilai yennai/ curry leaf oil. The aroma of curry leaves slowly cooked in coconut oil for the purpose of black, thick hair, takes me to my childhood.

  

fresh and dried leaves

  
Original curry leaf oil is made in a more refined/step-by-step process-

Curry leaves are blended with very little water – in those days made into a paste with ammi – roller stone

  1. They are then flattened into thin round cookies – approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches diameter, on a muslin cloth or plastic sheet
  2. These are sun-dried for days until the ground curry leaf sheets come out of the cloth, completely dried
  3. These dried thins are slow cooked in coconut oil, until the colour and aroma of the curry leaf is completely extracted
  4. This is done when the oil stops to splutter or approximately 30 minutes of slow cooking
  5. Extra curry leaf thins/sheets are stored for next oil preparation
  6. The same is done with marudhani/henna while making henna oil.

  
Here, I have not followed the same procedure. I took the short cut method of sun drying kariveppilai directly and slow cooked in oil. There is no compromise in the quality of oil, in comparison to the previous traditional technique – the aroma and colour seems to be the same.  While using the curry leaf thins/sheets, they would settle down in the bottom of the bottle and leave a clear residue on top, but here- the dried curry leaves occupy more space in the bottle and yet, the oil on top is a clear residue. Later, when the oil is mixed too much with the leaves, one can filter and use.
  

Kariveppilaii Yennai/ Hair Oil with Curry Leaves


  

Ingredients

  • good quality pure coconut oil – 1 litre
  • dried curry leaves – appr. 6 cups

  
Method of Preparation
  

Sun dried curry leaves

  1. Pluck curry leaves from tree/plant or buy enough from the vendor
  2. De-stem leaves and wash very well
  3. Spread on a clean cloth and pat dry

  


  

4. Place the cloth in a sunny area and dry well in the sun – might take  few days to completely dry without moisture



  
5. Once the leaves are dried, they are ready to be used in the oil.

  
Making the Oil

  1. In a wide pan, pour pure coconut oil – see label for aromatic ingredients, other oils which might have been mixed with coconut oil. We need only 100% coconut oil – preferably cold-pressed. Most branded coconut oils are refined, can’t help.. proceed.
  2. Measure 6 cups dried curry leaves and mix in the oil, before it turns hot. If dried leaves are added after oil is heated up, the leaves would be fried and  would give out a burnt smell. Hence, drop the leaves in, while the temperature of oil is normal.

  

  

3. Once the oil starts to heat up, simmer the stove and let the leaves cook in oil for about 30 minutes, till the colour of oil starts to darken.

  

a little later – darker oil

  
4. Switch off and let the oil cool.
  

5. Store oil with curry leaves in a bottle and use everyday.


  

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Dosai/Black Kavuni Rice Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu- 1

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Dosai


  

After black rice pudding or Karuppu kavuni Arisi payasam, my next wish was to try Karuppu Kavuni Dosai.

Dosais or Dosas are more flexible than making those perfect soft rice/millet idlies or fluffy cakes . Any grain base and lentil is enough to produce soft pancakes. While the western pancakes can be made with ground grain or flour alone, the South Indian Dosai has a protein lentil combined for the extra magical crisp or the soft spongy texture.

Hence, give us a grain and we can produce Dosai. Surprisingly very true. This was how the series – ‘Power Packed Pancakes’ with high fibre, nutrient rich millets came up. I am always awe-struck by the innovative culinary minds of our ancestors, who explored the combination of blackgram for the fermentation process of idlies and dosais – which aids in natural bacterial growth, than the additional usage of other external baking or steaming agents. That has given us- the generational followers, a clear way to explore a few more. Now, it’s time to try Tamilnadu style pancakes – the heavenly Dosais with various rices, which also seem to be common in southeast Asian countries.

So, join me again in the Dosai Journey in making a few more healthy pancakes, rich in anti-oxidants with the traditional rice varieties of Tamilnadu. To know more on the health benefits and payasam with black rice see – dosaikal- karuppu kavuni arisi payasam
  

Karuppu Kavuni Arisi Dosai/Black Rice Pancakes
  


  

Ingredients (makes approximately 15 dosais)

  • karuppu kavuni Arisi/black 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 black rice 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 Karuppu Kavuni Dosai crisp or soft and enjoy with any Thuvayal/chutney.

7. A dollop of nei/clarified butter is an extravagant addition to the beautiful Dosai.
 

Kathirikkai Salna/Brinjal Salna

Let’s continue the Mutton Biriyani recipe of the previous post, with a balance of Salna – veggie gravy/stew and complete it in the next post with Aadu Vadhakkal – spicy mutton stir fry.
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First SALNA..

‘Salna’ – a unique delicacy that is served along with Biriyani, is a simple gravy to tackle any spicy variety rice.  The tanginess of the Salna strikes a balance with the aromatic Biriyani. This is a  tamarind curry, thickened with peanut-fennel powder. Peanut stands as a natural variant to the usual coconut based gravies of the south. Tried for the first time and voila.. turned out to be good. No separate pans, time consuming closed cooking here. Yes, the best part is, this dish is quite simple, as everything goes into the cooker and is cooked in no time.
I concentrated so much on the making of Biriyani, that didn’t click better pictures of salna or mutton fry. Shall update with better pictures..at the earliest.

Kathirikkai Salna/Brinjal Salna

 

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Ingredients

  • brinjal – 6 no.s. – slit in the middle
  • ginger- garlic paste – 2 tsp each
  • onion – 2 no.s – coarsely ground in blender
  • tomato – 2 no.s finely chopped
  • tamarind – extract of a gooseberry sized piece
  • jaggery syrup – 1 tsp
  • water – 1 cup
  • oil – 3 tsp

powders

  • sambar powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • salt – to taste

dry roast and powder

  • peanuts – 2 tsp
  • fennel seeds – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and slit brinjal on top.
  2. In a cooker, fry brinjal in oil. Remove and keep aside.
  3. In the same oil, fry ginger garlic paste.
  4. Add coarsely ground onion and fry till golden in color.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry well.
  6. Add tamarind pulp and powders and mix well.
  7. Add 1 cup of water.
  8. Then add peanut – fennel seed powder and stir well.
  9. Add the jaggery syrup.
  10. Close cooker and cook in full flame for 2 whistles.
  11. Open the cooker once pressure is released by itself.
  12. Kathirikkai (Brinjal) Salna is ready to be served.

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Vella Seedai/Jaggery Rice Ball Crispies

 

IMG_6400

 

Vella seedai, as the name suggests is made of vellam or cane jaggery. The sweetness of the festive delicacy comes from the traditional jaggery and the right consistency of the dough results in a crunchy melting snack.

As mentioned in the Uppu Seedai recipe in the previous post, the dough stands the risk of melting while frying, the culprit being the temperature of jaggery, we need room temperature jaggery water. Hot jaggery water might lead to a break-up of seedai in hot oil. The sweet deep fried balls lose their shape and end up in a powdery chunk if the jaggery water is hot. So, one needs to be cautious on that.

Otherwise, this sweet is an easier affair in comparison to Uppu seedai, which can be revolutionary and exploding.

The step by step procedure of making of the basic rice flour has already been posted in https://dosaikal.com/2016/08/29/uppu-seedaisalted-rice-ball-crispies/

But, to reduce web-browsing time, I repeat the procedures below.
Vella Seedai/Jaggery Rice Ball Crispies

Before making seedai, we need home made, fine powdered rice flour, the core ingredient for both the salt and sweet version of seedai.
Rice Flour

 

  • Wash well and soak 3 cups pacharisi/raw rice in enough water for 2 hours. Drain the water and spread in a clean cloth, preferably cotton towel which would absorb the excess water and dry the rice inside the room.

 

IMG_6333

 

  • Never use paper, especially newspapers to dry rice or any kitchen purposes, as they contain highly dangerous ink which can cause illnesses.
  • The rice shouldn’t be dried too much. With a bit of moisture still in the rice, dry grind in a blender to a fine powder.
  • Sieve well and keep aside

 

IMG_6338

 

Dehusked Black Gram Flour
Also needed is black gram flour, which is dry roasted and powdered.

dry roasted…

 

IMG_6346

 

and powdered…

 

IMG_6351

 

  • Grind again the granules left over from the first sieve
  • Combine only very fine powder which is very important in the making of seedai.

Ingredients (makes 75-80 balls)

 

  • pacharisi maavu /rice flour – 2 cups
  • ulundhu maavu/dehusked black gram flour – 2 tbsp
  • varutha ellu/roasted sesame seeds – 2 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tbsp
  • uppu/salt – a pinch
  • vellam/cane jaggery – grated – 1/2 cup
  • thanneer/water – to dissolve jaggery
  • thuruviya thengai/grated coconut – 2 tbsp
  • yennai/oil – for frying

Method of Preparation
Part I

 

  1. Dry roast rice flour till aroma comes out, but be careful not to over roast as it will change the colour of flour.
  2. Take jaggery in enough water and heat slightly till it dissolves. We do not want a syrup here. So, be cautious.
  3. Strain and keep aside.

 

IMG_6372

 

Part II

IMG_6371

 

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients – rice flour, black gram flour, sesame seeds, salt and grated coconut with clarified butter.
  2. Make a stiff dough with just enough jaggery water.
  3. Always have extra flour (both rice and black gram) in hand. This might come handy when the dough becomes soft.

 

IMG_6373

 

Part III

 

  1. Heat oil for deep frying in a pan to start frying seedai. Keep in medium flame.
  2. Make small balls of equal size.
  3. Fry in medium hot oil till done – end product would be dark brownish in colour.
  4. Drain excess oil in kitchen tissue and store in an air-tight container.

 

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Uppu Seedai/Salted Rice Ball Crispies

 

IMG_6442

 

Seedai or Cheedai is a delicate delicacy. It has a crunchy texture while you bite, but melts in the mouth with the flavor of deep fried crispy rice murukku. But beware while you make at home – It has a beasty feature behind its beauty – it explodes like a mini bomb in oil if the moisture stays inside the cumin and sesame flavored rice ball. There are many stories of burns and bruises in the making of Seedai. So, truly Beware- with a capital ‘B’.

There are two types of Seedai – the salted version and the sweet. The sweet version is made with vellam or jaggery/unrefined cane sugar. This is relatively a lesser bomb-shell in nature or mostly non-violent. But seems to be an emotional creature – as it runs the risk of breaking down in oil or the dough becoming loose in nature due to the jaggery water added.

Beyond my writing efforts of making seedai a good-humoured affair, the taste of salt or sweet seedai is certainly worth the effort involved in making. And lucky me, no burns and bruises for the first time. The Seedais came out well, though not as good as Amma’s.

This time it’s time for Uppu Seedai – the salted version.
Uppu Seedai/Salted Rice Ball Crispies

 

IMG_6428
Before making seedai, we need home made, fine powdered rice flour, the core ingredient for both the salt and sweet version of seedai.

Rice Flour

  • Wash well and soak 3 cups pacharisi/raw rice in enough water for 2 hours. Drain the water and spread in a clean cloth, preferably cotton towel which would absorb the excess water and dry the rice inside the room.

 

IMG_6333

 

  • Never use paper, especially newspapers to dry rice or any kitchen purposes, as they contain highly dangerous ink which can cause illnesses.
  • The rice shouldn’t be dried too much. With a bit of moisture still in the rice, dry grind in a blender to a fine powder.
  • Sieve well and keep aside

 

IMG_6338

Dehusked Black Gram Flour

Also needed is black gram flour, which is dry roasted and powdered.

dry roasted…

IMG_6346

and powdered…

IMG_6351

 

  • Grind again the granules left over from the first sieve
  • Combine only very fine powder which is very important in the making of seedai.

Ingredients (makes approximately 80-100 – gone in a jiffy)

 

  • pacharisi maavu/rice flour (raw rice) – 2 cups
  • ulundhu maavu/dehusked black gram flour – 2 tbsp
  • nei/clarified butter or butter – 2 tbsp
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • ellu/sesame seeds – 2 tsp
  • thengai thuruval/grated fresh coconut – 2 tbsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • thanneer/water – as needed to make a tight dough
  • yennai/oil – to deep fry

Method of Preparation

Part I

 

  1. Dry roast rice flour till aroma comes out, but be careful not to over roast as it will change the colour of flour.
  2. Take a wide bowl and mix all dry ingredients – rice flour, black gram flour, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, grated coconut, salt with butter.
  3. Make a tight dough with just enough water.

IMG_6357
Part II

 

  1. Heat oil for deep frying in a pan and start making seedai. Keep in medium flame.
  2. Roll small balls not pressing too much, which might result in bursting in oil.
  3. Slightly press with a fork for the moisture to escape out; This truly helped me.

IMG_6360
Part III

 

  1. Fry in medium heat only, till slightly golden in colour or remove when the spluttering of oil is reduced.
  2. Remove the done seedai in kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil.
  3. Cool and store in an air tight container.

 

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Cheeni Kizhangu/Sarkkarai Valli Kizhangu-Karuppatti/Sweet Potatoes in Palm Sugar Syrup

 

sweet potato soaked in palm jaggery syrup

IMG_4526

 

I have very less memories of Sarkkarai Valli Kizhangu or Cheeni Kizhangu – Sweet Potato as a vegetable. But I have evergreen memories of sweet potatoes floating in a tub of Palm syrup in Thoothukudi, my maternal grandmother’s house.

The big chatti or hot vessel filled with sweet aromatic Palm jaggery syrup and the  floating sweet potatoes inside was one of my favorites. Of course, still is. Mildly spiced with dry ginger for balance and added digestion, this delicacy can be had hot, warm or cold.

Cubed or Circled Sweet Potato pieces cooked in Palm Jaggery Syrup is a sweet coated with Divinity. No, it isn’t served for the Gods but the Divinity comes from its soaked flavor. The naturally mildly sweet Sweet Potato dipped in the flavorful Palm Jaggery Syrup offers a unique aroma and taste different from the other well-known sweets of Tamilnadu.

This might be termed as a healthy sweet as there is no frying involved.

 

Why should we stick to Traditional Foods?

 

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Do you believe in  –

 

  • the whole wheat breads of market that offer 50 % refined flour and still take the name ‘whole wheat’?
  • the baked chips with loads of sodium that still claim to be 0% cholesterol?
  • the high sugar/banned low sugar or honey filled granular bars that claim to be health snacks to start the day?
  • the mostly refined ready to eat whole grain cereals that are sent through high heat to be moisture free for longer shelf life?
  • and additionally, do you believe in the never-ending list of hazardous goodies that cheat us in the name of health food?

 

If you don’t believe in the above, then I’d suggest you to try out the traditional recipes of each culture.

Believe me!

These Sweet Potatoes –

  1. cooked in Palm Jaggery
  2. soaked well in the same syrup
  3. not deep-fried
  4. do not possess the minutest droplet of butter, ghee or oil
  5. no added milk or coconut milk
  6. no added cream or coconut cream

– can be claimed fat-free, gluten-free, free from milk and milk products, no allergic nuts involved in making, no soy products and so on.
Fortunately,  there is no claim of traditional sweets to be fat-free – no tagged promises. As there cannot be any food that could be completely fat-free/sugar-free/chemical free/ and to top the list – that is suitable for all. It is for the consumers to identify what suits their family, more importantly what suits their pocket and most importantly what suits their family’s health and well-being. But staying away from products that have higher shelf life and those beautifully arranged in the stores, could definitely be a healthier choice for the family, especially with growing children.

This simple logic has made me believe and rely completely on traditional foods. They don’t stay longer – reason one, we lick the bowls to our heart’s content and then, they have no added preservatives to stay long and tempt us longer. They can be high in calories, high in sugar, high in cholesterol as analyzed by dietitians. But, they are at a comfort kitchen zone where the intolerant levels can be altered.

Hence, while one cannot alter the sugar content of sweet potatoes, feel free to alter the amount of Palm jaggery used in the recipe.

 

Sweet Potatoes and the South East Asian Connection

 

 

I am amazed by the connection of south East Asian cuisine with the cuisine of Tamilnadu. On our visit to Indonesia, I could taste the same Cheeni kizhangu karuppatti in Indonesia, but with the twist of taste with coconut milk. Yummy Treat! The same Sweet Potato in different parts of the world can be used in different ways. But the abundance of Palm and Palm Sugar and Coconut and Coconut Milk has given way to a number of common recipes among the different countries of South-East Asia, Srilanka and Southern India that share sea space. This cuisine connect is also a remarkable proof of the successful maritime trade between Tamilnadu and other South East Asian Countries extending till China, the give and take of several recipes twisted to local tastes.

Here is the name of the delicacies with almost the same preparation. Please correct me for errors.

Indonesian – 

Biji Salak – Sweet Potato Dumplings cooked in Palm Sugar Syrup and flavoured with coconut milk and Pandan (screw pine) leaves and thickened with tapioca flour

Kolak Biji Salak – The above mentioned sweet with the addition of Bananas

Malaysian – 

Bubur Cha Cha – Sweet porridge made with 3 kinds of differently coloured sweet potatoes, yam, tapioca pearls (sago),  bananas and black eyed beans, thickened with tapioca flour and added flavor with coconut milk and Pandan leaves

Singaporean – 

BoBo Cha Cha – Bubur Cha Cha is also called BoBo Cha Cha and made with a mixture of different colored tapioca pearls. http://www.singaporelocalfavourites.com/2010/08/easy-bo-bo-cha-cha-recipe.html

 

Now, to the Tamil Recipe –

Cheeni Kizhangu Karuppatti/ Sweet Potatoes in Palm Jaggery Syrup

 

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Ingredients

  • cheeni kizhangu/sweet potatoes – 1/2 kg
  • karuppatti/palm jaggery – 1/4 kg
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • water – 250 ml and little more for potatoes to float

 

Method of Preparation
1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes

2. Cut them into circles preferably or cubes as per the size of potatoes

 

image

 

3. In a pan, place Palm jaggery and water and heat slightly till jaggery completely dissolves

4. Filter the liquid as Cane or Palm jaggery always consist impurities/mud

5. Take this liquid in a wide and hard bottomed pan and add dry ginger powder and cardamom powder

 

image
6. Add the cut sweet potatoes and add little more water if potatoes don’t have enough syrup to float

 

7. Slow cook sweet potatoes in the Palm syrup till done

image

 

8. Pressure cooking would result in mashed potatoes; Slow cooking the pieces in the syrup not only enhances the flavor but also helps in perfectly soft and spoon-able pieces

9. By the time the potatoes are cooked, the syrup would have thickened a bit

10. Yet there would be enough syrup for the sweet potatoes to float in

11. Enjoy this delicious sweet hot or cold.

 

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Note:

  1. If you have access to different colored sweet potatoes, just indulge – do not worry about the color.
  2. If there is no Palm jaggery available, try using powdered Palm sugar available in Thai markets, or use any unrefined cane sugar or jaggery.  No white sugar here please.
  3. If the potatoes are huge in size – slice in halves, if the circles turn out to be too big
  4. If preferred, this sweet can also be converted into a Payasam/Kheer, with the addition of coconut milk (like the Indonesian Biji Sala)

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
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,
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!