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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Brown Lentils, Pearl Barley, and Pearl Millet Dosai

What's not to love about flatbreads, right? It is a perfect universal food - for soaking up delicious dips and curries and chutneys; for loading up with veggies and wrapping up for easy consumption; for relishing the simple earthy goodness.

Dosai, a south Indian flat bread, is traditionally made from rice and urad dal. I have taken liberties with it making variations such as Brown Rice Dosai, Soy Bean Dosai, Adai Dosai Waffles, while relishing the simple and sumptuous traditional Mysore Masala Dosai, Adai Dosai, and Onion Rava.

Of course, there's the Ragi Dosai, (ragi is finger millet), which by itself is lovely for its rich color and flavor. But, this time, I went with a combination of brown lentils, pearl barley and pearl millet to make the dosai batter.

Dosai batter is typically allowed to naturally ferment before it is ready for cooking in the griddle into flat breads, crispy or spongy. To help it along, I add a dollop of home-fed, home-grown starter.

Grape Starter: A few grapes from the garden tossed into a mix of flour and water has been doing the magic for us. Wild yeast abounds in late summer early fall and it seemed like a great way to keep a bit of it to last us through the winter. So, since late summer this year, we have fed the starter and kept it going, in between periods of leaving it dormant in the fridge.

Using this grape sour dough starter to ferment the dosai, idli, injera batters adds a pleasantly sour taste and surprisingly quick results for fermentation.

¼ cup pearl millet
½ cup pearl barley
¼ cup brown lentils
¼ cup moong dal
¼ cup urad dal
1½ cups short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon grape sour dough starter

Combine all the ingredients except for the starter; soak overnight; grind to a smooth fine batter; add in the starter, cover and leave in a warm place for a few hours, or overnight. Stir every few hours to see if it is fermented to your liking. I like it bubbly and sour.

Salt the batter before making crepe or pancake like dosai on the griddle. Add finely diced onions, grated carrots, chopped chilies, chopped cilantro, even chopped kale to boost the dosai.

Enjoy with chutneys, sambar, curries.

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