Breakfast, Dosas, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Akki Roti (Spicy Rice Pancake)

Akki roti served with chutney

My favorite in Kannada cuisine. It is a rice-based breakfast item, very similar to dosa. I love it for its mix of soft and crisp textures and the use of flavorful jeera, dill (a kind of herb that belongs to the parsley family), and coriander leaves.

Akki roti means rice pancake in Kannada. It is made by mixing boiling water in rice flour along with salt and kneaded well to make a soft dough. Chopped onions, crushed cumin seeds, coriander leaves, dill leaves, and curry leaves can be added while kneading the dough. Due to the sticky nature and thick consistency of the rice dough, instead of directly spreading it on to the tawa, it needs to be spread out on a banana leaf. At roadside stalls, I have seen thick aluminum foil/plastic sheets being used. I would not recommend this. Try to use banana leaf. Akki roti is best served hot and can be eaten along with sambar and/or chutney. A dash of butter or ghee with akki roti is also preferred.

Preparation Time – 10 mins
Cooking Time – 5 mins per piece
Makes 8-10 rotis

Raw rice flour – 3 cups
Onion – 1 medium sized
Jeera – 1 tsp
Dill leaves – a handful (optional)
Coriander leaves – a handful
Curry leaves – leaves from 2 sprigs
Green chilies – 3
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup (optional)
Water – 1-1/2 cups
Salt to taste

Oil – 1 tsp per roti

To spread the roti:
Banana leaves or plastic sheets

DoughMethod 1:
Boil water in a pan. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat, add rice flour and salt into the pan a bowl. Mix the flour using a ladle until it becomes a smooth and firm round ball (similar to chapathi dough). Keep aside.
Chop onion finely. Crush jeera (this helps bring out the flavor). Clean and wash dill leaves, coriander leaves, and curry leaves and chop them finely. Slit the green chilies, remove the seeds, and chop finely. Add the chopped ingredients into the dough and mix well.

StepsWash banana leaf, wipe with a dry cloth, and smear oil on the dark green side. Take fistful of dough and make into a round ball. Place the round ball of dough on the banana leaf where the oil is smeared. Flatten the ball with your hands – in this case, wet your fingers with oil/water periodically to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Alternatively, you could place the dough between two well-oiled banana leaves and use a rolling pin to spread it. Before cooking, take off the banana leaf at the top. The spread out dough can have the thickness of a roti.

Akki rotiHeat an iron tawa and use an oil smeared cloth to smooth out the surface. Place the banana leaf on it, dough-side down. After a minute or so, when the leaf starts fading in color, carefully peel off the leaf. If you are using a plastic sheet, make sure the sheet doesn’t touch the tawa. Drizzle a tsp of oil and cook the roti on medium flame on both sides. Roll out the remaining dough and cook in a similar fashion. Serve with coconut chutney and/or Sambar.


One part of a banana leaf can be used to make 4-5 akki roti.

Akki Roti Method-2Method 2:
An alternative and easy way of making akki roti (more like a dosa) is to use normal water instead of boiling water and make the batter dilute as in a rava dosa/neer dosa batter. In this case, you need to use a ladle to pour and spread the dosa batter on the tawa. It would be ideal to close the dosa with a lid after the batter is spread out. Flip over after a minute and cook both sides. This method can be tried out when banana leaf is not available. The dosas made this way are thinner and retain softness for a longer time unlike akki roti, which is best eaten fresh.

Akki roti-2

The texture and taste of akki roti is unique when made in the traditional way, and I highly recommend trying it out.

Tips & Variations:

  • Before mixing water to the rice flour, add a 1 tsp of hot oil. Mix it in and then add water. This reduces the chewiness of the roasted roti.
  • You can also add roasted and coarsely ground peanuts to add some texture to the roti.
  • If you prefer some sourness, you can add some sour curd to the dough.
  • You can substitute rice with ragi and make ragi rotiRagi is rich in calcium, fiber, protein, iron and other minerals and hence a healthier choice than rice.
  • Instead of using rice flour, you can soak raw rice in water for 3-4 hours, grind it to a fine paste and make the roti. Turns out delicious and stays soft for long. The advantage of making akki roti from scratch is that you get to choose the type of rice and can use red rice or unpolished rice varieties for more nutrition.


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

Sprouted Ragi Dosa

A variety of grains are cultivated in India. The best way to taste and experience grain varieties is to travel through villages. Rice and wheat (which is what most people in the city consume) is a luxury for most villagers. Villagers survive on cheaper millets such as bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sorghum), nachni (finger millet/ragi), etc. Generally labeled as food for the poor, these humble yet powerhouse grains rich in minerals are the secret to the villagers’ health and longevity. These grains are diabetic-friendly and gluten-free too!

Ragi is staple food of many villages in south India and Maharashtra. Ragi is the first solid food that is given to most South Indian kids. Ragi is rich in calcium and an excellent source of fiber. Most families living in villages include ragi in some form or the other in their everyday meal. Authentic Karnataka ragi recipes include Ragi Mudde and Ragi Roti. Bakhri of Maharashtra is an equivalent of ragi roti of Karnataka. City markets have sophisticated items like ragi cookies, biscuits, khakra, and even ragi puttu powder! Popped ragi powder called ragi huri hittu is also something found in city markets and can be used to make sweets. Ragi malt drink is a popular in many Udupi restaurants. Ragi dosa is also popular although not very commonly seen in restaurants.

Ragi dosa

One way of making ragi dosa is to get readymade ragi flour from the market and make instant ragi dosas that do not require fermentation. But I wanted to make it using whole grains and try sprouting the grain. The process is time consuming but the taste and feeling of satisfaction makes it a truly worthy experience. Sprouting ragi takes roughly 32 hours (depending on the climate in your region). This dosa batter needs fermentation. So plan for your sprouted ragi dosa at least 2 days in advance.

For Batter:
Ragi – 1 cup
Raw rice – 2 cups (I used unpolished red raw rice)
Urad dal – 3/4 cup
Salt to taste

For Mixing In Batter:
Chopped onion – ½ cup
Green chilly – 2
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup

For Dosa:
Cooking Oil as needed

Sprouted RagiSprouting Ragi:
Wash and clean the ragi grains in water. Soak the grain overnight/8 hrs in a wide mouthed vessel. Colder climates may need more soaking time. After 8 hrs of soaking, remove excess water. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Leave it to rest for 10-12 hrs or up to 24 hrs. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate in your region. Since it’s cold at this time here, I could get only tiny sprouts.

IngredientsRoughly 6 hrs before you want to make the batter, soak 2 cups of raw rice and 3/4 cup of urad dal separately. After 6 hrs, drain excess water. When your ragi sprouts are also ready, it’s time to make the batter.

Making batter:
Grind the urad dal to a smooth paste. Then grind raw rice and sprouted ragi and mix with ground urad dal. Add salt. Mix well using your hand (this aids in fermentation). Leave undisturbed overnight (8-10 hrs). Fermentation causes batter to rise. Ensure that you choose a vessel that has some space to allow the batter to rise. After 8-10 hrs the batter would have risen and is ready to be used.

BatterChop onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and green chilies finely. Add to the sprouted ragi dosa batter. Crush cumin seeds and add it to the batter. If you like the plain variety, you could avoid this step. Mix well.

Making ragi dosaMaking Dosa:
Heat an iron griddle. When the griddle is adequately hot, turn fire to low, pour a drop of oil on the griddle, and spread it around using a cotton cloth. Take a ladle full of batter and using the flat bottom part of the ladle to spread the batter. Close the dosa on the griddle using a lid. Since raw rice is used in this batter, closing it with a lid aids in dosa getting cooked faster and makes it soft yet crispy. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the dosa for about half a minute. Remove the lid. When you see that the dosa edges have turned crisp and leaves the sides, drizzle half a teaspoon oil and flip over. Cook the other side for about half a minute. Remove from fire. Serve with sambhar, chutney, or podi. When served with sambhar, sprouted ragi dosa becomes a healthy and wholesome meal. Try experimenting and including this poor man’s grain in your diet. Benefits are many!

Breakfast, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Pickles, South Indian, Tiffin

Milaga Podi (Dry Chutney Powder)

There are two items that you will definitely find in every South Indian household – curd and milaga podi (dry chutney powder or gun powder as non-Southies call it). Podi is potent gun powder that can make any food item tasty! It is a must-have in every household as it has a good shelf life and can accompany most food items such as dosa, idli, and even rice. Lazy to grate coconut and grind a chutney? All you need to do is take few spoons of podi, mix some oil in it and serve along with the dosa or idli. You wont even miss the juicy coconut chutney! Podi is also a safe bet when you are packing food for long bus/train journeys.

dosa and idli served with podi and chutney

Every household has their own secret recipe for podi and it tastes different in every house. When in school, I used to taste podi from my friends’ lunch boxes and each of them would taste different. Podi would differ in texture, taste, and visual appeal. Grainy, powdery, spicy, orange, greenish black, they come in all varieties. Recently, I tried MTR chutney powder (they market podi by that name) and I quite liked the taste of it. Unlike authentic Tamil Nadu style podi, this one is tangy. I believe tamarind is an ingredient in that recipe. Though I liked the MTR taste, being the conservative types when it comes to food, I prefer the authentic spicy taste without any tanginess.
This recipe is a mix of 2-3 different types of podis that I have had.

Black gram/urad dal/uzhunnu parippu (white or black) – 1 cup
Bengal gram/chana dal/kadala parippu (optional) – 1/4 cup
Raw rice (optional) – 1/4 cup
Dried red chilly – 10
Black pepper (optional) – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 6-7 stalks
Asafoetida – size of a marble/2 tsp
Sesame seeds/Til/ellu (white or black) – 2 tbsp
Salt – as required

ingredients for gun powder

In a heavy bottomed pan (preferably iron), dry roast the grains one after the other until the grains turn red. First roast black gram. Then roast chana dal, followed by rice. Okay, I cheated! I roasted chana dal, kept it aside and then roasted the raw rice and black gram together. That works. When the black gram and rice are half done, add red chilies, black pepper, asafoetida, and curry leaves. If you are using asafoetida powder, you can add it towards the end of the roasting exercise. Turn off the fire and then add the sesame seeds and salt. Keep aside and let it cool down a bit.

While the roasted grains are still warm, dry grind them in a mixer. You can choose to make it powdery or grainy as per your preference. Store in a dry air tight jar. Will stay good for 3-4 months.

Gun powder

Choice of oil to be mixed with podi is a personal preference. Podi is served along with sesame seed oil (til oil/ellenna/nallenna) in most parts of Tamil Nadu. No points for guessing the oil that Keralites prefer!

Idlis and dosas soaked in spicy podi are a rage in restaurants these days. Whether you have a chutney and sambhar to go along with it or not, a well-made podi can up the taste quotient of even a poorly made idli/dosa.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets, Tiffin

Enna Pothi/Sweet Pouches

A fitting follower to Ela Ada, my previous post. The ingredients are the same as ela ada. Just that the proportions are different and they are mixed differently. These are little steamed pouches of a mixture of rice, jaggery, jackfruit jam, and coconut. Steamed and oil-free, one can truly indulge in them without guilt!


In my household this dish is called Enna Pothi, which literally means Oil Pouches, though I cant figure out why it might be called so since no oil is used in this dish. Enna could also mean Numbered. Any of you can crack the name puzzle, please write to me.

It is intriguing to think how our ancestors came up with different recipes using the same ingredients and how different and unique they taste! Ela ada are very sweet while these sweet pouches are only mildly sweet. Different households have different styles of making it. Some use banana leaves to make the pouch, some use cinammon leaves. Since I could not find a suitable leaf, I chose to steam them in the idli mold. It is a regional variant you see!


Raw rice (Rice flour) – 1 cup
Jaggery – 50 gm
Jackfruit jam – 5 tbsp
Grated coconut/Coconut cut into 1 cm pieces – 2 tbsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Elaichi powder – 1/4 tsp
Water – As needed

The amount of jaggery and jackfruit jam are more of personal choices. You can add as much as you like and it would turn out just fine.

Method: Grind the raw rice into a smooth paste. Add the jackfruit jam and jaggery pieces and blend it in the mixer to make a smooth and evenly mixed paste. You could make jaggery syrup and then add it to the rice flour and jackfruit jam and blend it well using a spoon. But using the mixer to blend these three ingredients ensures a smooth consistency and gives good results. Keep the batter aside.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the grated/cut coconut to the ghee and roast till the coconut turns golden brown. Turn off fire and add the roasted coconut to the batter. Add elaichi powder. Mix well.

Note that if you are using an idli mold, the batter needs to be of idli batter consistency. But if you are using a leaf, you will need a thicker consistency for the batter.

If you are using banana leaf, tear out square or rectangle portions of banana leaf. Pour one ladle full of batter into a piece of banana leaf and close it neatly from all sides and tie with a thread. Cinnamon leaves are small and it is a challenge to stuff the batter in them. Hence if you are using cinnamon leaves, the batter consistency should be thick so that it does not ooze out. You need to be able to stuff the batter in between the leaf and pin the ends of the leaf together.

If you choose to use an idli mold, lightly grease the idli molds with ghee. Pour one ladle full batter into each idli mold. Steam in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes. Turn off fire, take out the idli mold from the pressure cooker, and let it cool.

After they cool down a little bit, the sweet pouches start separating from the edge. Use a spoon to lift the pouches off the mold and place on a serving plate.

Soft and spongy sweet pouches (in this case, idlis) are ready!

Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Sweets

Thiruvathira Kali (Rice Halwa)

KaliThiruvathira Kali, a festival special, the sweet rice halwa, also a kind of dance that women in Kerala perform during the Thiruvathira festival and during Onam. I still remember the kali that my ashalaathu mami (neighbor) used to make. Mami is a sweet person and a terrific cook! My amma learned the recipe from her. Since amma and I love sweets, specially the ones made with jaggery, this recipe has been a favorite for both of us and we do not wait for Thiruvathira to satisfy craving.


Raw rice (dry roasted and coarsely powdered) – 3/4 cup
Green mung dal (dry roasted and coarsely powdered) – 1/4 cup (optional)
Jaggery – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup

Thiruvathira KaliMethod:
Wash, dry, and then dry roast the raw rice and green mung dal separately until golden brown. Cool and grind coarsely using a mixer. Dissolve the jaggery in water. Strain to remove any impurities. The proportion of rice, jaggery, and water are 1:1:3. So if you are taking 1 cup of rice powder (+the optional roasted green mung dal powder), dissolve 1 cup of jaggery in 3 cups of water. An easy way of cooking kali is to mix the rice powder (+the optional roasted green mung dal powder) in the jaggery water, add cardamom powder and then pressure cook to a whistle. Turn off and then wait for the steam pressure to reduce. Open the cooker and you will see that the mixture is well cooked and thick with no trace of water. Add the ghee and grated coconut to the rice powder cooked in jaggery. Mix well.

You can cook this in a kadai also. Place the melted jaggery water on the stove and when it boils, add the powdered rice and mung dal and keep stirring. When the mixture thickens, add the ghee, cardamom powder, and grated coconut and mix well.

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

Tapioca Dosa (Kappa Dosa)

A close cousin of Neer Dosa of Karnataka, kappa dosa is instant, energy giving dosa packed with carbs. Dosa with a difference!



For batter:
Raw Rice – 2 cups
Grated coconut – one cup
Tapioca: 250 gm

Salt to taste

For dosa:
Gingely oil/groundnut oil : 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 3 hrs

Cooking Time: 2 min per dosa

Wash and soak raw rice for 2-3 hrs. I used unpolished raw red rice. Wash, peel, and cut the tapioca into small pieces. Grind the rice, grated coconut, and tapioca pieces together to make a fine paste. Add salt and water and dilute. The batter should be a little more dilute than the normal dosa batter consistency.

Place the griddle on the stove. When the griddle is hot enough, lower the flame, and pour the batter in center of griddle. Gently swirl the griddle  to spread the batter around to make a thin dosa. Increase the flame and close the dosa with a lid and cook in medium flame for around 30 seconds. Remove the lid, pour oil, and flip over the dosa. Cook for around 15 seconds. Remove dosa from the girdle. Now tapioca dosa is ready to serve. Serve with hot sambar or chutney.

Kappa Dosa


It is a little difficult (though not impossible) to spread this dosa using a ladle. As raw rice dosa batter tends to stick to the bottom of the ladle, you need some practice to spread this dosa perfectly.
This is an instant dosa and the batter does not require fermentation. You can refrigerate the batter and use it for 2 to 3 days.

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