Friday, September 28, 2012

Dosas with Kefir Mint Dressing and Local Honey-Greens

My intentions were good last Friday (the last day of summer) to begin the 3 day soaking journey for Dosas; a crispy savory pancake from South India. Yet, the Maryland Autumn tricked me, once again, into thinking that the cooler weather was on the way. After all I was looking forward to pulling on a sweater and wearing leggings with boots! Yet, the day when I went to fire up the stove to cook these delicious Dosas the humidity was back on the rise and the heat topped at 88 degrees. Oh well! Dosas don't wait.
A Dosa is a fermented pancake batter made from soaking brown rice, lentils and salt for up to 72 hours. They taste mildly tangy and rich; mostly from the ghee that you fry them in. They are traditionally served with chutneys, currys and daals, but I also like them with kefir dressing or with a curry in place of rice or quinoa, a fried egg or just plain straight from the frying pan. Dosas store well and can be used throughout the week for a quick lunch or dinner. Soaking and fermenting your grains and beans before cooking them helps to break down the phytic acid.

Soaking to remove the phytic acid is beneficial for these reasons:

*Untreated; phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestines and   block absorption of these minerals.

*Soaking allows enzymes and bacteria to break down and reduce phytic acid and releases vitamins that are  bound to the grain, making them readily available to your body.

*Soaking also partially breaks down gluten for easier digestion.

*Soak all grains and legumes at least 12 hours before cooking. It's easy, 1:1 grains/legumes and water with a tablespoon of lemon juice, whey, kefir or sourdough starter. Drain and prepare accordingly.

Dosas with Kefir Mint Dressing and Local Honey-Greens
Serves four 

In separate bowls or mason jars soak 1 cup of lentils (I used french green lentils which I would recommend, but it can be made with any type) and 2 cups brown rice. Rinse both first. Cover both with warm filtered water and a tablespoon of lemon juice, whey, kefir or sourdough starter (2 tablespoons for the rice).Cover with a plate or towel secured with a rubber band and set aside in the warmest place in your kitchen.

24 hours later drain each, blend separately in a vita mix or blender with just enough filtered water until smooth*. Combine and add enough filtered water to obtain the consistency of heavy cream (with granular texture) add 1 teaspoon of really good salt (I am a huge fan of Real Salt), stir well, cover and let ferment for another 24-48 hours, giving it the occasional stir and words of encouragement. 24 hours=mild tang
48=major tang. (I like major tang and I think they cook better.)

*You can add other spices to the batter at this time as well; good picks are fenugreek (3/4 teaspoon seeds), curry powder (3/4 teaspoon), or try some golden raisins with cinnamon for breakfast Dosas (two tablespoons chopped and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon added when combined with the blended rice and lentils).

When the second ferment is over prepare the following:

A 1/3 cup ghee melted, oil brush, set aside near the pan
A small frying pan or crepe pan (stick or non-stick)
Small ladle or a 1/3 measuring cup

Set your oven to the warm setting and place a large plate with a towel inside your oven. Brush your frying pan with ghee and turn on the heat to medium-high. For a Vegan Dosa use grapeseed oil and not olive oil; grapeseed has a higher heat point than olive oil.

When your pan is hot ladle in your batter and swirl around to spread. Cook for 5 minutes. This is SUPER important because they will not flip properly if under cooked  How I test this is by gently shaking the pan after five minutes, if they are ready they will release; flip them over and cook for five more minutes. When done transfer to the oven and repeat. Usually I have two pans going at the same time so i'm not frying Dosas for an eternity. They may not be the quickest to make, but they are filling and will last for many meals, for very little cash.

When you are done prepare your greens like Kale, Rapini, Mustard, Cabbage or a mixture of all and with whatever else is in season or coming from the garden. I portion a cup and a half of chopped greens per person.
Heat olive oil or ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat for olive and medium high for ghee. When hot add and saute your greens until just wilted and bright. Turn off your heat and season to taste with salt. Add a sprinkle to taste of chili flakes and a generous drizzle of local honey. Mix together and set aside.

Prepare your Kefir or Yogurt dressing. Pour one cup into a glass jar with a lid, add a 1/4 teaspoon or more to taste of Real Salt, fresh chopped mint (optional) and shake. You can prepare this in advance and let it sit out on the counter. The longer it sits the better it gets!

Serve the Dosas topped with the Kefir Mint Dressing and Local Honey-Greens on the side.

I have a good feeling that this Autumn and Winter will be the seasons of Indian foods...stayed tuned and enjoy!