Breakfast

Ragi Idli & Ragi Dosa (Khelvaragu Idli/Dosa, Nachini idli dosa, Fingermillet Cakes)

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The new age generation of India has become quite aware and conscious of their diet. With increasing knowledge in fitness and nutrition, many cereals which had been forgotten in the past generation have now come into light. One such super grain is “Ragi” or kezvaragu or “nachini”or finger millet which has made a glorious come back in the food culture. Ragi flour is prepared by grinding the grains or grinding after the grains are sprouted and dried. Ragi grains are too small to be processed and polished and hence ragi is mostly consumed in its purest form.

The nutrition benefits are many. Ragi is a cereal that is gluten free and is best suited for people who are gluten and lactose intolerant. Ragi is also calcium rich, which is important for healthy bones and teeth and prevents osteoporosis. Ragi also has low Glycemic index (GI) in comparison to the other cereals that helps in keeping the blood sugar within a safe range. It is best to add ragi to our breakfast or lunch for a healthy day. Sprouted Ragi is also rich in iron and Vitamin C. The vitamin C present in sprouted ragi makes the iron present in it easily absorbable. Hence, ragi is also best suited for anemic patients. Ragi is also one of the best natural protein sources containing amino acids that help in maintaining metabolism, blood formation, fighting anxiety and depression. Ragi is also fiber rich which aids in proper digestion and normal bowel movement. Ragi is also a great boon for lactating mothers as it aids in increasing the milk supply besides improving the hemoglobin levels. It also enriches the milk with all the essential minerals which are important for both, the mother and child.

Ragi is a cereal that is more popular in South India, especially Karnataka. A very popular dish amongst the people of Karnataka is the Ragi mudde (Ragi balls) which is their staple meal for dinner. Ragi is also made as porridge (Ragi kanji) and is given as a weaning food for babies. This porridge is commonly found as healthy drink in Tamilnadu.

Any healthy food item can be a permanent part of our diet only when there is a twist of taste in it. One of such attempts is using ragi in making what we like the best, the dosa and the idly. Though, many recipes can be made with ragi, my favorite is the ragi idly or ragi dosa. It is easy to make and tastes heavenly when eaten with Kaara chutney.


Recipe for Ragi Idli / Dosai

Preparation time: 12 hours (including soaking and fermentation) 
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients
 *  Ragi grains - 2 cup (You can also use 1.5 cups of Ragi Flour or Raikon instead)
 *  Urad dal - 1/2 cup
 *  salt - 1 tsp

For making Dosa & Idli
 *  Oil - to grease the idli tray/ to make dosas

Method
Preparing Ragi Idli Batter
  *  Soak urad dal and ragi grains separately for minimum 3 hours or overnight.
  *  Grind the urad dal separately till it become fluffy.
  *  Next grind the ragi separately (if using ragi grains).
  *  Mix the urad dal batter and ragi batter together with required salt. (Note: If you are using ragi flour, grind the urad dal to a smooth batter and mix in the ragi flour to this. Add little water and mix to get a idli batter consistency.)
  *  Whichever method you follow, let the batter ferment overnight or until it doubles in volume. (Note: If you are in a cold country, leave the batter in the oven with the light on to aid the fermentation process.)
  *  After it ferments, you can make idlis or dosa immediately. You can also store the batter in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Making Ragi Dosa
  *  Heat the dosa pan. Make it hot enough to sizzle away drops of water.
  *  Pour 3 or 4 drops of oil and spread it on the pan. Pour some ragi batter and spread it using the spoon in a circular motion.
 *   Add few drops of oil around the edge of the dosa. Wait for the batter in the edges to become slightly brown.
  *  Now flip the dosa and cook the other side. Yummy ragi dosa is ready for serving. This dosa will not get crispy like the regular dosa. Just cook it for 2-3 minutes per side.


 Making Ragi Idli
  *  Grease the idli plates with few drops of oil. Fill the concave portion of the idli plate with the ragi batter.
  *  Steam them for another 10 minutes in the idli vessel or any other closed vessel (it should not be air tight). Once the idlis become fluffy switch off the stove and allow it to rest for 2 minutes.
  *  Remove them using a wet knife or spoon. Serve.

Variations
  *  Instant ragi dosa: Mix 1 cup ragi flour with 1 cup of rice flour in butter milk. Add finely chopped onions, chilies, finely chopped coriander leaves and grated carrots into the batter. The instant Ragi dosa is ready to be relished.
  *  Another idea to make instant healthy ragi dosa is that instead of grinding a separate batter, you can mix some ragi flour with the regular idli batter. Most of the South Indian homes have the regular idli batter all the time. Make a healthy variation at least once in a week.
  *  You can also make Ragi Kuzhipaniyarams with the same batter. I have shared it as a separate post.

Serving Ragi Idli & Dosa
  *  Serve this with any type of your favorite spicy chutney or sambhar or other curry.
Ragi Idlis made with Ragi Flour served with Tomato Chutney

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Dosa (Dosai, Plain Dosa, Regular Dosai)

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Recipe For Dosa


Ingredients
     1). Rice - 3.5 cups
     2). Urad dal - 1 cup
     3). Fenugreek seeds - 2 tbsp
     4). Bengal gram dal - 2 tbsp (optional)
     5). Gingelly Oil - to fry dosas
     6). Salt - to taste

Method
1). Wash and soak the rice and urad dal with bengal gram dal and fenugreek seeds separately or together . Traditionally it used to soaked separately and ground separately. But with modern mixies and grinders you can grind everything together itself.
2).  Similarly overnight soaking is good. But for urgent situations, even 1 hour of soaking will do for modern mixies and grinders.

 3).  After soaking, drain and grind it to a smooth paste with salt and water enough to make a batter little thinner than idli batter. If the batter becomes thicker you can always add water later. 

 4).  Let this batter ferment overnight till it raises to double its size.

 5).  Heat a traditional indalium or cast iron dosa pan. You can also use non stick dosa pans.

 6). The pan should become hot enough so that when you sprinkle few drops of water on the pan, it should sizzle right away.

 7).  Just add 3-4 drops of gingelly oil and spread it all over the pan using an onion slice or a clean kitchen towel.

 8).  Pour a ladle full of batter. Spread it using the back of the spoon using circular motion to about 9 inch round dosa.

 9).  Add few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa.

 10).  Once it turns slightly brown and the edges start lifting, flip and brown the other side too.



Serving Suggestion
 1) . Serve hot with sambhar, chutney or any non veg gravy

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Tips
   *  You can use the idli batter itself for making dosas by adding little water to make it thinner.
   *  The above proportion will give nice crispy dosas. If you want softer dosas, reduce the rice quantity to 2.5 cups.
   *  You can make dosas in fun shapes for the kids. Check out for more kids dosa ideas here.

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Sabudana khichdi

A quick and delicious Sabudana khichdi or tapioca pearl salad cooked with potatoes, peanuts and basic spices creates the most comforting meal out there. A gluten-free & vegan Indian snack.



Presenting a simple yet delicious sabudana khichdi or spicy tapioca salad recipe that you and your family can enjoy any time of the day. A most popular Maharastrian breakfast recipe where soaked Sago pearls or tapioca is sauteed with bite size potatoes, peanuts and mild spices. This is my ultimate comfort food – healthy and lip-smacking too. You will keep asking for more!

Sabudana/tapioca pearls are light on the stomach, easy to digest and provides energy. During Indian fasting months, tapioca is commonly consumed in Indian cuisine. Whether be Navratri, Mahashivratri, Janmashtami or Ganesh Chaturthi this recipe is a popular vrat/fasting food.

     
Now, onto the recipe!


Preparing sabudana khichdi/tapioca pearl salad requires some pre-planning. You have to soak sabudana pearls few hours ahead before you advance to the recipe. But the common question asked is – how to make perfect sabudana pearls?

Do you end up getting mushy and sticky pearls all the time? No worries, below is a fail proof step by step recipe on how to soak sabudana for khichdi or make perfect tapioca pearls for your sabudana khichdi. (click the pic below) Related image

Best ratio to perfect sabudana pearls is – 1 cup water : 1 cup sabudana. Soak for 4-5 hours , drain and there you have it. Remember excess water will result in a gooey mess which cannot be reversed.


When soaked sago pearls are ready, set them aside. Proceed with the recipe. If not fasting, feel free to experiment and add onions, veggies to your liking and make it more healthier and colorful. You can’t go wrong with with this recipe – its amazingly versatile and adaptable.


For a nutty and crunchy flavor, I like to add peanuts – but again that’s optional. Adding peanuts and chopped carrots with bring more nutrition and color to this healthy salad/pilaf. But again, if you are fasting feel free to leave out the ingredients you don’t consume.

Every family has its fasting guideline, so please check with your elders what all you can consume during fast/vrat. One of my friends, avoid eating carrots and peas in vrat/fast but I am pretty flexible. My rule of thumb – when in doubt leave that ingredient out.



So, what are we waiting for, follow the step by step recipe below to a healthier, nuttier and delicious Sabudana khichdi or spicy tapioca salad recipe. Enjoy it at any time of the day – whether as a breakfast or an evening tea snack.

Hope you like this simple recipe and give it a try. If you happen to make it then either drop me a line below or share your yum pictures with me on Facebook. Would love to see your creation!


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Idli


(Basic Idli, Spongy Idlis, South Indian idli, Plain Idli, Fluffy Idli)



Idli is a staple breakfast in South India and SriLanka. It is a comfort food for most South Indians. It is one of the South Indian delicacies that is popular and enjoyed by people throughout India.

Idlis are made in two popular ways : using parboiled rice and using idli (rice) rava. The first method is traditionally followed by in Tamilnadu and Kerala while the second method is followed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Here I will be sharing the one with parboiled rice.

These soft, spongy and savory rice cakes are made by making a batter of rice and black lentils, fermenting the batter and steaming it in special idli moulds. It is also served in weddings or other special occasions with sambhar, medhu vadai, chutney or idli milagai podi. It also goes very well with non veg gravies like chicken curry, egg curry etc and veg kurmas. Due to its soft texture it is given to kids as early as 6 months. Since it is steamed, it is healthy and gets easily digested. So it is also commonly given to ailing patients and old people.

Idlis are traditionally made in a special idli stand. It has a tree of idli plates that can be steamed in a idli cooker or pressure cooker or any vessel. These days idli stands are available in different sizes and forms. There is electric idli cooker, microwave idli stand, non stick stove top idli stand, mini idli stand etc. You can choose and buy one according to your choice. For those of you who do not have idli stand, you can still make idlis using stainless steel tumblers.

Video Instructions For Making Soft Idlis

      

Recipe For Making Soft Idlis
Preparation time: 10-15 hours (including fermentation time)
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients
     
       1). Idli rice - 1 3/4 cup
       2). Black gram - 1/2 cup
       4). Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
       5). Salt - 1 tbsp

Method

1). Wash and soak rice in a bowl. Wash and soak the black gram and fenugreek seeds i another bowl. Soak both for at least 2-6 hours. I have shared the procedure of making idli batter in detail in a separate post. 

2). Drain the water and grind the black gram to a smooth paste using a wet grinder or Indian mixie. Remove the batter into a bowl.

3). Next grind the rice smoothly. Remove the batter into the same bowl.


4). Add the salt and mix both the batters thoroughly.

5). Now leave the batter to ferment for 7-12 hours till the batter rises to almost double the size.


6). To make the idlis, first take about 1 cup of water in the idli cooker or pressure cooker. Keep it on flame and bring to boil.

7). Grease the idli plates with few drops of oil and fill with idli batter. Fill the molds with the fermented idli batter till it is 3/4 th full.


8). Place it in the idli cooker. Steam and cook for about 10 minutes.

Detailed Steps For Making Soft Idlis
Soak rice and black gram separately in water for at least 1 hour. Soaking overnight can be done too. Add fenugreek seeds to black gram. Increase the quantity if you are making a larger batch. I have shared the procedure of making idli batter in detail in a separate post. Here I will just quickly run through the steps.



Drain the water and grind the black gram to a silky soft texture. You can use a grinder or mixer. Just take a little batter and feel between your fingers if it has become a smooth paste


Next grind the rice smoothly. It is OK to have a slightly grainy texture while grinding rice. Mix it with black gram batter along with salt.


Now leave the batter to rest and ferment for at least 7 hours till the batter rises to almost double the size. It may take anywhere between 7 -12 hours to ferment.


To make the idlis, grease the idli plates with few drops of oil and fill with idli batter. Traditionally instead of greasing a thin white cloth is spread on the idli plate. I just do it by greasing with little sesame oil. If you are using a non-stick idli stand you do not have to grease it. Do not fill the molds all the way through, just leave a little space for expansion. You also get mini idli plates which are a great option for kids. Use a small spoon to fill batter in that.


Steam them for about 10 minutes till they rise and become firm. You can check if the idlis are done by inserting a knife or toothpick. If it comes out clean, the idlis are done. If some batter sticks to the knife, cook it for couple of minutes more.



Switch off the stove and leave it undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Then use a wet spoon to gently remove the idlis from the idli plate. Store it in a hotbox till you are ready to eat.



Variation (Making Idli without Idli Maker)

1). Instead of idli mould, you can use ever silver tumblers to make tumbler idli or glass idli. I have explained in detail in a separate post. It tastes the same as idli cooked in mold, but with the shape of the tumbler.

2). These days you get microwave idli steamers also. It usually comes with 2 idli plates with 4 mold each. There is also microwave mini idli plate available in market. To make that take just 1/4 cup of water in the microwave bowl. Grease the idli plates and fill with batter. Cover with the lid and microwave on high powder for 2-4 minutes. My microwave is 900 watts and it took 4 minutes to cook 8 idlis and 2 minutes to cook 4 idlis. You need to experiment and find the cooking time with your oven. Just insert with a knife and see if the idlis are cooked. If the batter sticks to the knife, microwave for 1 or 2 minutes more.

Serving Suggestion

1). Idlis served with piping hot sambhar, coconut chutney and vada is an excellent combination.


2). Idli is one versatile dish that goes well with different curries like chicken curry, vada curry, tomato curry or any other vegetarian curries.  

3). This can also be served with any chutney varieties. My favorite is with carrot chutney. You can find many ideas to make different chutneys here.


4). One of the traditional homestyle combination is idli served with idli podi. The idli podi mixed with some ghee or sesame oil tastes awesome with spongy idlis.

5). Leftover Idlis can be used to make sambhar idli, curd idli, fried idli, masala idli, chilly idli or idli upma.

Idli with Carrot Chutney



Idli with Coconut Chutney, Sambar and Podi





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