Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Millet Recipes, Snacks, Sweets, Tiffin, Vegan

Sweet Multigrain Dosa

This multigrain sweet dosa is similar to my previous sweet dosa post. I found a packet of wheat bran at the health store and was thinking of ways of adding this fiber to my diet. Tried mixing it with the chappathi dough. That resulted in slightly stiff rotis because of the fiber content. Maybe if you add lesser quantities of bran, rotis might turn out to be softer. But when I can use the bran to make a sweet item, why not?

Making sweet dosa is very easy and I do not stick to fixed proportions. The quantity of jaggery can be the same as the amount of flour you take. Add little portions of wheat flour, wheat bran, rice flour, and ragi flour to melted jaggery and the batter is ready. I also added some jackfruit jam. This is an optional ingredient. You can throw in anything that you think will enhance the taste of this dosa.

Ingredients:
Wheat flour – 1 cup
Ragi flour – 1/2 cup
Rice flour – 1/2 cup
Wheat flour – 1/2 cup
Jaggery – 1-1/2 cup
Water – 3 cups
Elaichi powder – 1 tsp
Ghee/cooking oil – 1 tbsp

spread batter on tawaMelt jaggery in water and strain it. Add all the flour, elaichi powder, and mix well. Wheat bran tends to thicken your batter. If the batter is very watery, the dosa may stick to the pan and you may have difficulty removing the dosa from the pan. This batter is better suited to make pancake-style dosas.

Heat a tawa on medium flame. Spread small portions of the sweet dosa batter to make slightly thick and small dosas. Drizzle ghee/cooking oil around the dosa. Let it cook for a minute. Flip using a spatula and cook the other side for around a minute. Sweet fibrous multigrain dosa is ready. If you want a pancake style dosa, you could drizzle honey on the dosa while serving although this is really not required.

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Breakfast, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Dosas, Drinks, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin

Amba Bhavan

Amba Bhavan Coffee Club | click to enlarge

No, it’s not the name of a dish. “Amba Bhavan Coffee Club” is a simple, unpretentious eatery in Matunga, Mumbai, one that was started way back in 1934. Whenever I visit Matunga, (which is around 15 km away from where I live, but in Mumbai, 15 km is not a big deal) I make it a point to visit Amba. The taste of their sada dosa and sambar is a major pull, and you just can’t ignore this simple, no-frills place, which still has an old-world charm. Amba is managed and run by down-to-earth people who serve food that your palate will never forget!

Amba doesn’t have a very elaborate menu, just the usual sada dosa, rava dosa, mysore masala, ghee sada, idli, etc., etc. The special items that they serve are kela bajji (raw banana dipped in besan batter and fried), kadi vada (lentil vada soaked in a yoghurt-based curry), and rasam rasam vada

vada (mixed lentil vada soaked in spicy hot rasam). My personal favorites are ghee sada, rava sada, and rasam vada. What is unique about Amba’s dosa is the use of methi seeds in the batter, which no other restaurants use. The methi seeds add to the wonderful flavor of the dosa. This combined with the sambar that has JUST enough jaggery to neutralize the pungent taste of tamarind without spoiling the spiciness is nothing short of yum! The amount of jaggery in sambar is where, I feel, the normal Udupis in Mumbai fail. They just don’t get it right. I would much rather eat a sandwich from a Mumbai Udupi than order a dosa and be forced to eat it with the sweet sambar or worse eat the chutney that is full of pottu kadalai (roasted split peas dal). But the sambar at Amba is like no other, and if you are a frequent customer, the waiter would even give you some molaga podi (gun powder), sometimes even without you asking for it! The gun powder is another one of their masterpieces.

filter coffee

South Indian filter coffee is something every coffee lover goes gaga over. So it just wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t say anything about Amba’s filter coffee. Well, what about it, you might ask. Try it once and you will know! Its one of the best I have tasted. But more than anything, I love the way the coffee is served – in two stainless steel tumblers, one big and one small. Which one should you drink from is entirely up to you. Mix well till the sugar dissolves and then take that first sip, which is what I would call the ultimate coffee experience! Well, at least for me, it definitely is.

And Amba offers all these heavenly items at prices that are down-to-earth without compromising the taste. The crowd at Amba is a queer mix. You share tables with either the temple priest from Asthika Samaj dressed in his dhoti and anga vastram or you are sitting next to a bunch of chirpy teenagers out to have their fill after boring tutions. But at Amba you just do not feel odd sharing a table with strangers. Amba has wide open doors and huge windows too and is airy and leisurely.

I have always been intrigued by the names of some South Indian eateries that became iconic with time. Take Amba’s case itself. Seventy years back, who would have related the sound of Amba Bhavan with food? I wonder how they came up with these interesting names like Saravana Bhavan, Arya Nivas, Hariharaputra, and the like. Who would have imagined Mavalli Tiffin Room will be an everyday household name throughout India and indispensible in the NRI kitchen? What an unlikely name for an eatery, YEM-TEE-ARR (as a mallu would say it)!

Almost every place in South India has such a restaurant to boast about where people like my parents (who practically never eat out) are comfortable going to. Since the time I can remember, Hariharaputra is the ONLY hotel where we have eaten out. It is called the Brahmanaal Hotel (which means a hotel run by Brahmins). Palakkad has 3 such places. TNVR, Mani’s Cafe, and Hariharaputra. Their kitchen walls might look black, they might not have the cleanest of hand-washing areas, and they might not give you hand tissues, but the food served in these places have no substitute at all! I remember eating out once with my college friends in a restaurant where the waiters wore white dresses with red borders and a cap. I found it so odd compared to the friendly waiter at Harihariputra who wore a dhoti that was begging for some Ujala!

I need to be born again and have oodles of Saraswati Kataksham to be able to describe the taste of the mysurpa that Hariharaputra serves. There will be enough water in my mouth to steer a ship each time I think about their mysurpa. Same goes with the Rava Kesari (Rava Sheera) at Mani’s Cafe. Nothing short of marvellous, I say!

Coming back to Amba, just like the place, the rules of the place are also very simple. It opens at 7:00 in the morning and is open until 8:00 in the night and serves only tiffin (in other words, snacks). Amba does not have a separate menu for lunch or dinner. Though a lot of the Gujju crowd (who dig South Indian food) eats out regularly and frequents restaurants only after 8.00 PM, Amba sticks to its own set of rules and closes its doors by 8:00.

I was fortunate enough to speak to the humble and ever smiling owner of this place. He was kind enough to share some of the incidents and challenges from the time Amba was conceived until now. He also invited me to his house to meet his wife who could share lots of culinary tips.

If you live in Mumbai and are a fan of South Indian food, please visit Amba at least once to taste authentic South Indian food. If you live elsewhere, hunt down the Saravana Bhavan or the Hariharaputra of your place. If you are new to the place, just ask the elderly, and I am sure you will find a Bharat Hotel or an Amma Mess. Long live places that serve good food!

And look, Amba is on Facebook too!

Addendum: Amba is very close to King’s Circle and is in the same lane as Asthika Samaj Kochu Guruvayur temple. The address is: 373, Patel Mahal, Matunga, Mumbai, India, 400019.

I invite all my readers to share their thoughts and experiences about food or eateries that are special to their heart. I plan to have a reader’s corner very soon and all of you are welcome to share your thoughts here.

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Breakfast, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Millet Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Bajra Dosa

A healthy, nutritious, protein dosa made from sprouted bajra.

Ingredients:

sprouted bajra and urad dalFor batter:
Bajra whole grain (millet, kambu): 2 cups
Urad dal: 1 cup
Salt to taste

For dosa:
Gingely oil/groundnut oil : 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 24 hrs.

Cooking Time: 5min.

Method:
Wash and soak bajra overnight/8 hrs. Drain the water and leave it as is for half an hour to one hour. Take a clean cotton cloth and put the bajra in this cloth and cover. Sprinkle water on this cotton cloth and ensure that it is wet. After about 12-15 hrs, you can see nice sprouts. Soak urad dal in water for about 4 hrs. Grind sprouted bajra and urad dal together to make a fine paste. Add salt and water and dilute. The batter should be of the normal dosa batter consistency. You can ferment the batter if preferred.

Place the griddle on the stove. Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle. Spread the batter around carefully using the bottom of the ladle. Cook in medium flame for about 30-40 sec. When the edges get crisp, pour 1 tsp oil, and flip over the dosa. Lower the flame and cook for around 15 seconds. Remove dosa from the girdle. Protein dosa is ready. Serve with hot sambhar or chutney.

Trivia:
Bajra is packed with nutrients and minerals. Sprouted bajra dosa is rich in proteins and is good for the colon. This is a very good way for vegetarians to include protein in their diet.

You can make this dosa without sprouting the bajra also. The taste remains more or less same, only the nutrition quotient will be less compared to the sprouted dosa.

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Breakfast, Dosas, Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Methi Leaf Dosa

Soft, instant, healthy, and appetizing dosa.

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Ingredients:
To Soak
Raw rice – 2 cups

At the time of grinding the batter:
Shallots* (peeled) – 1/2 cup
Dry red chillies – 6-8
Salt

After grinding the batter:
Methi/fenugreek/uluva leaves– 2 cups
Gingely oil – 2 tablespoons

*Alternatives:
Red chilly – Red chilly powder
Shallots – Onion can be used but does not give the same taste.

Preparation Time (for batter): 10min
Cooking Time: 5min.

Method:
To Make Batter:
Wash and soak the raw rice for 4-5 hours.
Grind the rice along with the peeled shallots and red chillies. The batter should be smooth and neither too thin nor thick. Add enough water to the batter to get a spread-able consistency. Chop methi leaves and add it to the batter. Add salt. Mix well.

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Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle. Spread the batter around carefully using the bottom of the ladle. Maintain low fire while spreading the dosa.

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Close the dosa with a lid. The fire should be on medium.

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Remove the lid after about 40 seconds to a minute.

Pour 1/2 tsp oil around the dosa and flip it over. The dosa does not need to be closed with the lid now. Let it cook for about 30 seconds.
Serve hot directly onto the plate!

List of accompaniments:
This tasty dosa can be had on its own. The spicier tongue can have sambhar or chutney along with it.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
You can store this batter in the fridge for 2-3 days. Those who prefer sour dosai can let the batter ferment for 5-6 hours and then use it.
This is a very healthy diet and saves the hassle of making sambhar or grinding chutney. Tastes great even when cold. Shallots and methi leaves add to the unique flavor of this dosa and make it nutritious.
Spreading this dosa on the griddle can be a little tricky and needs some expertise.

Trivia:
This recipe is a family specialty. The traditional choice for methi leaves is drumstick leaves. Since they are not available where I live, I use methi leaves. This dosa needs a medium level expertise in dosa making. It can be slightly tricky for a beginner to spread this batter. Since only raw rice is used, the batter tends to stick to the griddle if the fire is too high. The key is to maintain low fire while spreading the batter.

Skill Level:

Medium

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