Dosa has always been a favourite of mine since I was a child. Dosa is practically a staple preparation for breakfast and dinner and of course an in between snack!!! Its a very versatile preparation and can be relished with so many sides. I remember when I was barely eight we bought the first official “Grinder” which was so huge and heavy and would almost grind enough batter to feed an army. It would be an elaborate event to grind the batter and clean the grinder after it. Then were the days of the tilting wet grinder. Almost immediately there was the lovely chic Ultra Wet Grinder which was a table top version. When we moved to the U.S I missed the easy preparation of Dosa Batter in the grinder with little sweat. Last time I got the 1.25 litre ultra grinder on a 110V version and bought it with me all the way through customs, immigration and a volley of dirty looks by the Customs folks in New York JFK.!!!!
Making Idlis and Dosas in the US is really an art as one would have to find their own way depending on the type of rice, urad dhal, apparatus used for grinding, current weather conditions in where we live etc. We have different methods of fermenting the batter in the winter, summer,and in the in-between sseasons of spring and fall!!!
Last weekend I had called my friend R, who loves any south indian preparation. She was relocating back to India and I thought Masala Dosa would be great as a dinner entree`. This is of course made of two parts….The delicious Masal filling and the Dosa Crepe.
2 Medium Sized Potatoes.
1 Onion Chopped in to thin long slices.
4 Green chillies sliced in to small pieces.
A handful of green peas.
1 Tbsp grated ginger .
1 spoon of bengal gram.
A pinch of turmeric.
Cilantro to garnish.
PREPARATION OF MASAL FILLING:
Keep the Dosa Batter ready. For instructions on the same refer to my post here.
Peel the potatoes and cook them with water and salt in the cooker for just one whistle.
Cool, and mash in to pieces and set aside.
In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and when hot add mustard and allow to splutter.
Add bengal gram, curry leaves, green chillies, grated ginger and then the sliced red onions.
Add a pinch of turmeric and now allow to saute for some time.
Now add the mashed potatoes, peas, salt and mix it in well.
After a few minutes, switch off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro.
PREPARATION OF MASAL DOSA:
Take the Dosa Tava , switch on medium heat and allow it to heat up well. Sprinkle a drop of water and when you hear the sizzle, you know for sure that the tava is heated enough.
Add a few drops of Gingely Oil and spread with a paper or tissue to make sure that the tava is well greased.
Take a ladle full of Dosa Batter and spread it with a Dosa Ladle on the tava. Lace the ends of the dosa with a few drops of oil.
Make sure that the dosa is spread out thin as we would not be turning it over.
Dollop a spoon of the prepared Masal and place it in the centre of the Dosa.
Coconut is an integral part of my cooking but I have particularly brought down the levels of coconut on account of health concerns. My gradmother on the other had is of the opinion that anything had in small quantities can never be too much. Its only when you consume too much of anything, does it become bad for the health. I remember Madurai amma lavishing fresh coconut in Avail and Sevai and Elissery etc. This instant version of Coconut Sevai is a personal favourite on account of its ease of preparation, nevertheless yielding tasty and wholesome results everytime.This version is slightly different as I have also incorporated Thayir Molagaa as a seasoning ingredient….for additional flavour and taste.
1/2 pack of Rice Noodles or Instant Sevai cooked as per instructions and sprinkled with a spoon of Coconut Oil.
1 Tsp Ginger Chopped fine.
3-4 Fried Thayir Molagaa or Mor Molagaa.
3/4 cup of Fresh Coconut.
2 Tsp of Broken Urad Dhal soaked in some water for ten minutes.
3 Green Chillies chopped fine.
5-7 cashew halves.
Salt to taste.
Prepare the Rice Sevai/Rice Sticks using the instructions provided in the packaging. While allowing it to boil, add 2 drops of coconut oil in the water for added flavour and aroma. Drain in a collander.
In a small cup soak the broken urad dhal in water and set aside for ten minutes., This adds volume and flavour in terms of seasoning to the dish.
Take a non stick kadai and place on the stove. Add 3 spoons of coconut oil (optionally Canola/Refined Oil) and when its beginning to get hot, add the “mormolaga” so it fries in the oil. (This ingredient is completely optional)
Now add chopped ginger, cashews, curry leaves, hing , mustard and when it splutters, add the soaked urad dhal after draining off all the water.
Saute for a couple of seconds and then add the grated coconut to the kadai.
Bring the flame to sim and now saute the coconut along with the spices, for 4-5 minutes.
The white fluffy coconut, after sauteing in the oil for a few minutes turns to a dull brown colour and also emits a wonderful aroma. Be very careful to keep the flame only on low as if the heat is more it would burn the delicate grated coconut .
At this point, add the rice noodles/sevai/rice sticks and mix well adding sufficient salt for the sevai.
Corriander has always been my all time favourite garnish. Now there are really two schools of thought on the subject of corriander garnish. My grandmother etc has always been on the opinion that a good dish prepared sumptously with ingredients in the right proportion, with devotion, can stand up for flavour and taste all by itself. It does not need a garnish of chopped corriander. I am of the opinion that even a simple dish can be elevated in taste and flavour by just a dash of a corriander sprig….Well…to each his own. TO think of a dish spiced completely with this aromatic leaf itself seemed to be a very welcoming thought…It was an inspiration from my earlier post Pudina Rice…I simlpy allowed my hands to pick up whatever It felt like and came up with this dish…
Today was a picnic at the Zoo, so it was a really tasty course with a side of Raitha and Chips. Do try it and hope you really like it.
A big bunch of Corriander Leaves.
5 Green Chillies.
1/3 cup of Dessicated Coconut.
1 inch piece of Ginger.
A handful of Cashew Halves.
2 cups of Basmati Rice cooked in 3 1/2 cups of water.
1/2 cup of Peas.
1/2 cup of chopped potatoes.
1/2 cup of finely chopped carrots.
1 cup of cauliflower floretts.
Spread out the cooked Basmati Rice so it cools considerably before you mix in the vegetables.
Microwave all the vegetables except Peas, in the micro wave for 4 minutes.
In a mixer jar, place the cashews at the very base and then add chillies, ginger, 1 clove, corrainder and finally the coconut. We do this since corriander cannot stand up to pulsing in the mixer without water, we sandwich it between heavy ingredients.
Pulse without adding water and set aside.
In a wide mouthed kadai add 3 spoons of oil, 2 cloves, jeera, curry leaves and then add the half cooked veggies.
Add turmeric and salt for the veggies and allow to cook for some time.
Now add the ground paste and mix well and give it a couple more minutes to cook and the raw smell of the corriander to evaporate.
When the veggies and the paste have mixed in well add the rice little by little and mix it well taking care not to break the rice.
Add a dollop of ghee and serve HOT with onion and cucumber raitha.
This is a quick side dish for Venn Pongal /Vada/ Chappathi/Dosa /Puris and Idlis. It`s pretty much easy and simple to make but vrey delicious and appetising. I remember one time when my mami made this for Pongal. We simply lapped it up!!! Yeah…its that good!!!
4 Big Slicing Tomatoes or Tomatoes on the Vine. Double the quantity for Roma.
1 inch Ginger finely grated.
3 Green Chillies vertically slit.
1/2 spoon Red Chilli Powder.
Puree all the tomatoes in the mixer without adding much water and set aside.
In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when hot, pop in mustard, broken urad dhal and curry leaves.
When the mustard splutters, add grated ginger, slit green chillies, curry leaves and a pinch of hing.
Allow a couple of seconds to saute and then immediately add the pureed tomato.
If needed, you can add 1/8 cup of water to the mixer and after a quick shake, pour it in to the kadai.
Add turmeric, salt and red chilli powder and stir in well.
Simmer for about ten minutes and switch off heat.
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
As an option to increase the volume in case a large serving is needed, is to saute the onions after the seasoning and then add the tomato puree. This version is made with tomatoes but it can be made without on a day when no onions need to be consumed.
Madurai amma`s favourite all time chips was the Raw Banana Chips. When we were in school, she would suddenly pick a fresh bunch of green and firm Raw Bananas from her favourite street hawker in Ranganathan Street and immediately would decide on making chips with them. That was the criteria…the raw bananas HAD to be fresh, firm almost just plucked from the tree!!! She would come back home and instruct me to peel it and with the help of the Anjali Slicer, would directly slice them on to the hot oil and flavour them with spices and powders. She would then place them on a cool dry container and store it air tight for almost a week. With the advent of Hot Chips, I must admit that much of our chips making was cut down quite a bit. But there is nothing like home made chips!!! This week when I saw the raw bananas that my husband had picked from the Indian Store, I was suddenly reminded of my grand mother and her impulsive plan to make Raw Banana Chips and I was suddenly craving for them. This weekend I treated my family( and me of course!) to some fried goodness…..
2 Fresh Raw Bananas which feel firm to touch.
Oil to fry.
1 1/2 spoon of Red Chilli Powder.
1 spoon of Salt.
Peel all the raw bananas and using a Mandolin or your knife, slice them cross section in to thin circles.
The more thin the slices are the easier to fry to crispness.
Place them all on a plate to dry out a little and this also makes it easier to pop them in to the oil.
Combine the red chilli powder, the salt and the hing in a little dish and keep ready.
Keep sufficient oil on a kadai and place on a stove set to Medium High.
When the oil is sufficiently hot , pop the sliced Raw Banana pieces one by one.
Keep the number always at a manageable level and dont crowd the kadai with too many chips as they wont fry well.
Allow to fry well on both sides.
Keep a collander lined with tissue on the side and drain all the chips on to the collander.
When still hot from the oil. sprinkle the spice powder liberally on both sides of the chips.
As the fried slices do not have any salt on their own, its the spice seasoning that renders the taste .
Repeat procedure until all the slices are fried.
Store in an air tight container and serve as a side with Rasam or as an awesome evening snack.
This weekend was specially hectic as there were so many things to do. I had to also use up all the remaining veggies in my refrigerator as my husband swore he would not replenish them until they were all done. Hence menu was planned based on what was leftover, which incidentally was what he liked!!!
This week was particularly hot and my daughter was yearning for her favourite Sno-Cones.Of couse she would`nt mind having it even on a cold winter day…but that’s a totally different story altogether. Last weekend when I had been to the store I picked out some colourful Sno-Cone serving cups. It was in colourful plastic and it seemed to serve as a drinking /sipping cup for juices. I was waiting to use them and when S wanted a Sno Cone so I decided to have one for myself.
10 pieces of Ice .
Cotton Candy Flavouring.
Pop 10 -12 pieces in to the mixer and crush the ice and immediately drop it in to a glass or the Sno-Cone Cup.
Dash 4-5 spoons of Cotton Candy Syrup on to the crushed ice.