Barley-Brown Rice Dosa

The inner kannadiga cannot be squelched. I've baked biscotti and stirred stews, tossed salads and dallied with more spices that you could sneeze at, but theres no escaping my dosa craving.

Fluffy, crisp dosas are of course, the result of careful soaking and grinding and what not. Sadly, such organization eludes me this week and I decided to wing it. Stop laughing. I can hear you.

(sigh) Alright, alright, I will confess that I have had more than my usual share of disasters in the recent past. For instance, I have only recently realized that it is best not to tinker with rava idlis. I've tried making them with bulghur. And one time, I even added some barley flour. They were edible but mere shadows of their former, fluffy selves. I vowed (Mahabharat music plays in the background, kitschy special effects), never to tinker with rava idli or any of the "classics". Uddina dosa, Rava dosa, Neer dosa are all off limits.

Thats when I stumbled upon this version of Barley and Brown Rice dosa! A ha! It was a sign from the gods.

Heres what I did:
1. Combined barley and brown rice flour in equal proportions (2/3 cup each). Added 2 tablespoons oat flour.
2. Added a teaspoon of cumin seeds, 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander, a half teaspoon of red chili powder and salt to taste.
3. Added warm water to make a runny batter.
4. Thats pretty much it! I let the batter sit for about half an hour. And then made the dosas on a non-stick skillet.

Served with sorekai bele saaru (bottle gourd / doodhi in toor dal) and sorekai sippe gojju (chutney made with the peel of said sorekai / bottle gourd / doodhi). I know, I know. In for a penny...

All in all, the combination was delightful. The Barley-Brown Rice dosa was super-easy to make. The texture was just right, delicate and lacy. They didn't stay crisp very long but I guess one could tweak the recipe to increase the proportion of rice flour. The sorekai bele saaru and gojju / chutney worked out great (Thanks Asha!) The gojju was simple, reminded me of the gojju that my mother and grand mother make. I put my trust in Asha's recipe and set aside my distrust of tomatoes.I halved the recipe and it was delicious.

The verdict:
Perfect for a Friday evening. Low-maintenance and flavorful.

Get your dosa fix at Srivalli's Dosa Mela! What a wonderful, wondergul idea, Sri! Thank so much Suganya for suggesting this event!


Happiness in a box

One of the highlights of March is Blogging by mail, the brainchild of Stephanie over at Dispensing Happiness . I love Stephanie's blog... many moons ago, one of my friends dutifully researched food blogs and said excitedly, "Theres someone who hosts blog parties"!! Thats Stephanie! Full of creative energy. So I signed up for 'Blogging by Mail' and could barely contain my excitement.

I received this delightful package from Lisa over at Pittsburgh Needs Eated. Thrilled. To. Bits. A sampling of treats from the strip district in Pittsburgh Delightful candy, luxurious chocolate. Ginger biscuits, cocoa nibs! Poco dolce was outstanding - burnt caramel and sea salt - oy!! All carefully packaged and outfitted for travel.

Thank you, Lisa! I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed your thoughtful, generous gift!

In the meantime, as one package flew into Rochester, another left Rochester for Melbourne! I will confess that I exchanged a couple of very helpful e-mails with some very nice folks at Australian Quaratine . Many thanks! CakeLaw is well-travelled and a very good cook - and it was a lot of fun putting the package together for her. Most of all, thanks ever so much Stephanie for organizing Blogging by Mail!


Whole grain biscotti

I love gifts of all sorts, and food in particular. All the thought and emotion that goes into one of these little packages always lifts my spirits. Fortunately, as far as food gifts are concerned, I like being at the giving end as much as I enjoy being at the receiving end!

Knowing my penchant for whole grains, it will come as no surprise that I tried Heidi Swanson's whole grain biscotti. . She also featured a recipe for chocolate biscotti in 'Super Natural Cooking'. How could I resist!

I made both. What can I say, I simply couldn't choose. I've served them as part of a brunch menu and used them variously for gifting. Bon Voyage, Good luck before an exam! Welcome back (to work!! Ha ha) Happy Friday! And they've always gone over well.

I will confess that I liked the almond chocolate chip version heaps more than the chocolate version. There was nothing wrong with the chocolate version and god knows I LOVE chocolate, but nevertheless, the almond chocolate chip biscotti is truly outstanding. She has the texture just right. The original recipe is here and I wouldn't change a thing. Made with wheat germ and oat flour, these chocolate studded biscotti are full of virtue and low-glycemic goodness!

Come share the love at Sugar High Friday#41: Sweet Gifts, hosted by Danielle of Habeas Brulee.

Frittata with Poblano Peppers

I heart frittatas! To my extreme delight, this skillet (see below) became part of the household this Christmas. I've been using it once a week for the last few weeks! Aside from telling you how much I love the thing, its also a sign of how hairy my schedule has gotten. No more fussing over croquettes and patiently stirring kheer, its time to hurry up and make the frittata!

Most of the time, I fall back on some combination of mushroom, spinach and onion, but this latest wave of frittatas has featured poblano peppers. Charred over an open flame, they have that lovely smokey - spicy thing happening.

Heres what I did:
1. Sliced up a quarter of an onion and a handful of spinach. Charred a poblano pepper and chopped it into strips. Sauteed them all together in a spot of olive oil.
2. Whisked 3 eggs, some milk and a tablespoon of gouda together.
3. Poured the egg mixture into the skillet and cooked till set. Chucked it into the oven for the last 10 minutes.
4. Served with a chili-garlic sauce based on this cilantro-chili sauce. and homemade bread.

The verdict:
Its an interesting twist on the run-of-the mill frittata. The peppers and the chili-garlic sauce REALLY liven things up.

This one goes to Mansi at Fun and Food for WBB: Balanced Breakfasts!


Berley-esque Miso Stew

I enjoyed reading Peter Berley's "The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen" very much indeed. I was favorably impressed by the Spinach Mushroom Quiche featured at and was curious to learn more.

"The Modern Vegetarian" featured radically innovative recipes. Aggressively healthy. Brave. Roasted vegetable pate with miso, for instance. Thats when I sat up and started to pay attention.

Peter Berley is clearly a talented chef (My students tell me I say 'clearly' too often. Apparently, its not always clear to them. Sigh. But I digress) Regardless, Peter Berley is a talented chef. Very solid on techniques and ingredients. Combines the two (techniques and ingredients) to startling results. Quite fearless.

"The Flexitarian Table", his new book, is just as delightful but has a gentler theme. Its a book that seeks to bring people with diverse food preferences to the same table. Delightful premise, no?! It seems like every family these days has the meat-and-potatoes boyfriend, the vegan teenager, the conservative uncle, the vegetarian daughter-in-law and so on...

Happily, the recipes are just as good. Organized into menus, by seasons, the book brings out Berley's macrobiotic background to good advantage. I tried the Autumn Miso Stew with a few changes to suit my tastes and such.

Heres what I did
1. Chopped up some carrots, onion, squash etc. (About 2-3 cups of vegetables) Whatever one wants to put into a stew.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Chuck in the chopped onion (about quarter cup). Let the onions turn golden brown (no need to caramelize).
3. Add a tablespoon each of chopped ginger and garlic. A sprig of thyme (rosemary). I used a quarter teaspoon dried thyme. Saute for a couple minutes.
4. Add the vegetables and gave them a good stir. Cover with 2 cups of water and let cook.
5. In about 15-20 minutes, the vegetables will have cooked. Take the stew off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons barly (mugi) miso. Taste and add salt if required. No more boiling after adding miso or the cultures will die.
6. Serve warm with bread.

Additional options:
1. I've been known to toss in some greens and/or lentils. The original recipe included tofu.

The verdict: The vegetables bring a shy sweetness to the stew. Ginger, garlic and thyme (which I thought was an unusual combination) add spice while the miso brings in a kind of nuttiness to the stew. What I liked most about this recipe is that Berley has the ingredients just right. He has just enough flavors in there to make for an intriguing combination but not so many as to make the recipe daunting or too busy. Needless to add, its healthy and what-not! And since its so decidedly yellow, the stew goes to kochtopf for International Womens' Day!