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Q&A -- A Sampling of South Indian Breads

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BBhasin   

Dear Chef Vinod,

What a wonderful class and introduction to South Indian breads! I have not covered all the breads just the first one Puttu.

Few questions, just my curious mind,

1. It looks sooo different from a bread, would it truely be classified as a bread ? Do you think of it as a bead in South India or is it just a starch with your meal like boiled rice?

2.The pressure cooker and the cylinder are mordern things but I am sure this bread is very old, I love the way you do the hole in the coconut shell and steam it on top of the pressure cooker or the hollow bamboo. How was this done when pressre cookers didn't exist.


Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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fresco   

Monica--Terrific pictures and text. Would the uttapams be served on their own as a snack or as part of a meal?


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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Monica--Terrific pictures and text. Would the uttapams be served on their own as a snack or as part of a meal?

I thnk they are served both ways along with some mouthwatering chutenys!!!


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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kumquat   

Really mouthwatering class, Monica!

I'm half Tamil and half Keralite so I've had most of these before. When you said ada though I expected the Tamilian adai made with lots of different legumes(which btw comes close to heaven on earth served with jaggery, molaga podi(idli podi) and unsalted butter :biggrin: ) . However brief consultation with my dad has cleared up the point -- totally different beast.

I'm not sure if puttu can be called a bread either but then somehow I've never thought of dosais and adais as breads either! Oh well you've got to call them something I suppose.

I'm having some trouble getting all the photos to load but this could just be due to an incredibly flaky connection.

Do keep up the good work!

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jackal10   

Amazing!

I love the dosa's.

How can I get white Urad dal in the UK, other than ethnic shops? Does it go by any other name, or have an anglicised name?

Can anything else be substituted?

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tryska   

wow - very cool course!

i understand where BB is going with his comment - I'm surprised that kerala does so little "frying" of it's bread, and so much steaming.

very interesting tho - I had no idea their breads were so different.

and the dosa technique was very helpful!


Edited by tryska (log)

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Episure   

First of all kudos to Monica, Chef Vinod and his Mother.

1] Great Pictures which say it all.

2] Please don't load so many images on one page, they wont show. Split them up into 3-5 images per page.

3] Here is a tip for viewers that are facing the problem of "x user posted image": right click and select show picture to make the image load.

4] "Sprinkle water on the Idlis" before removing , I've seen this before but I've never understood how it helps. All it does is to make them soggy on the top, maybe some people would interpret that as "soft". I will take this opportunity to ask Chef Vinod or his Mom to clarify as it would put to rest one of the mysteries that lurk in my book of the unsolved.

5] I am glad to see that a traditional grater has been used as I have found out the hard way that it makes all the difference in many preparations, especially dals. This kind of grated/scraped coconut has a snowflake like structure that is something else and has a tactile caress on the tongue that regular grating wont do. In fact last week I wrote at the bottom of my post in the RAW topic "TFTP: Never trust anyone who doesn't use a traditional scraper".(TFTP = Thought for this post)

So I guess you all can ask me for anything! :laugh:

Monica, you have the most beautiful hands I have ever seen!


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Tam   

So enjoyed this overview of South Indian breads. The pictures were excellent: very comprehensive and really allowed the viewer to grasp the concepts. This was new territory for me as I have never been exposed to these breads before. With the addition of chutneys, veg, etc., they are like a little meal right in your hand (snack?). I appreciate the time and effort that went into producing wonderful results. My thanks to Monica, Pushpavathy and Chef Vinod. Monica, your hands are indeed lovely. :wub:

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Malawry   

I am addicted to the dosais at an Indian restaurant near my home and can't wait to try making them in my own kitchen. Thanks Monica et al for a wonderful class. :biggrin:

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Dear Chef Vinod,

What a wonderful class and introduction to South Indian breads! I have not covered all the breads just the first one Puttu.

Few questions, just my curious mind,

1. It looks sooo different from a bread, would it truely be classified as a bread ? Do you think of it as a bead in South India or is it just a starch with your meal like boiled rice?

2.The pressure cooker and the cylinder are mordern things but I am sure this bread is very old, I love the way you do the hole in the coconut shell and steam it on top of the pressure cooker or the hollow bamboo. How was this done when pressre cookers didn't exist.

Hi BBhasin,

Thank you for your kind words. Well, in the strict sense of the word it may not be classified as Bread. However it is a staple had during breakfast or as a snack.

It is not necessary to have a pressure cooker, you can use any utensil with water to steam, so long as the coconut shell or the "Puttu Kutti" can sit on its mouth. (Traditionally a "Surahi" shaped container will do the job.)

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Monica--Terrific pictures and text. Would the uttapams be served on their own as a snack or as part of a meal?

Fresco,

Once you learn how to make it, try it with various chutneys or top it with anything of your choice. At Indique, we also have a non -vegetarian version with chicken.

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Amazing!

I love the dosa's.

How can I get white Urad dal in the UK, other than ethnic shops? Does it go by any other name, or have an anglicised name?

Can anything else be substituted?

Hi Jackal10,

You may like to check out this site : http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/ejones/ufdi/...alrec/ddef.html

I am sure it must be available in U.K. I really would not think of a substitution until you have exhausted all your chances of getting them.

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BBhasin   
Amazing!

I love the dosa's.

How can I get white Urad dal in the UK, other than ethnic shops? Does it go by any other name, or have an anglicised name?

Can anything else be substituted?

Hi Jackal10,

You may like to check out this site : http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/ejones/ufdi/...alrec/ddef.html

I am sure it must be available in U.K. I really would not think of a substitution until you have exhausted all your chances of getting them.

Vinod/Monica,

While I am all for soaking the rice and lentils, grinding them and fermenting the batter a bit to get the tangy zing, a packet of Instant Dosa mix gets the batter ready in five minutes after adding the requisite amount of water and the dosas turn out almost the same as the ones with the tedious method. So why not just get the mix?

bhasin


Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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First of all kudos to Monica, Chef Vinod and his Mother.

1] Great Pictures which say it all.

2] Please don't load so many images on one page, they wont show. Split them up into 3-5 images per page.

3] Here is a tip for viewers that are facing the problem of "x user posted image": right click and select show picture to make the image load.

4] "Sprinkle water on the Idlis" before removing , I've seen this before but I've never understood how it helps. All it does is to make them soggy on the top, maybe some people would interpret that as "soft". I will take this opportunity to ask Chef Vinod or his Mom to clarify as it would put to rest one of the mysteries that lurk in my book of the unsolved.

5] I am glad to see that a traditional grater has been used as I have found out the hard way that it makes all the difference in many preparations, especially dals. This kind of grated/scraped coconut has a snowflake like structure that is something else and has a tactile caress on the tongue that regular grating wont do. In fact last week I wrote at the bottom of my post in the RAW topic "TFTP: Never trust anyone who doesn't use a traditional scraper".(TFTP = Thought for this post)

So I guess you all can ask me for anything! :laugh:

Monica, you have the most beautiful hands I have ever seen!

Episure,

Thanks a lot for your kind words. To answer your question, regarding sprinkling of cold water on Idlis :

1) It lowers the temp so that the steam does not burn your hand while removing the idlis.

2) The Idlis do not get stuck and come out more easily.

3) If the Idlis are to sit for a while, it does not get a crust on top.

4) While cooking in large quantities, we usually wet a muslin cloth and line the Idli container and spoon the batter in it .

The sprinkling of water helps in preventing the idlis from getting stuck to the cloth and the idlis can be dished out faster.

P.S: Only a little water is sprinkled, so the question of it getting soggy does not arise.

Episure, I second your statement regarding the most beautiful hands! :smile:

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tejon   

Amazing lesson - thanks to all! The pictures made a world of difference. I have seen recipes for dosas in the past, but couldn't wrap my brain around how exactly to spread them so thin, and what they should look like as they cook. Now my questions are answered. The steamed breads look delicious, and I've wanted to try ildis for a long time so here's the chance.

I was also very happy to see the traditional way to grate coconut meat - I had been prying out the meat and grating on a box type grater, which always seemed to coarse to me. I've seen those graters in stores, but never knew what they were for. Time to buy one! There is nothing like freshly grated coconut.

Now I'm off to my local Indian grocery to buy some ural dal and start experimenting. I'll be back with more questions, I'm sure :-)


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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tryska   
Vinod/Monica,

While I am all for soaking the rice and lentils, grinding them and fermenting the batter a bit to get the tangy zing, a packet of Instant Dosa mix gets the batter ready in five minutes after adding the requisite amount of water and the dosas turn out almost the same as the ones with the tedious method. So why not just get the mix?

bhasin

you really like the mix as much as from scratch BB?


Edited by tryska (log)

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Amazing!

I love the dosa's.

How can I get white Urad dal in the UK, other than ethnic shops? Does it go by any other name, or have an anglicised name?

Can anything else be substituted?

Hi Jackal10,

You may like to check out this site : http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/ejones/ufdi/...alrec/ddef.html

I am sure it must be available in U.K. I really would not think of a substitution until you have exhausted all your chances of getting them.

Vinod/Monica,

While I am all for soaking the rice and lentils, grinding them and fermenting the batter a bit to get the tangy zing, a packet of Instant Dosa mix gets the batter ready in five minutes after adding the requisite amount of water and the dosas turn out almost the same as the ones with the tedious method. So why not just get the mix?

bhasin

Its like buying ready made pasta or making it fresh at home --right?? Or sauce from a jar versus homemade. For convinience sake sure you can get a packet. But there are days to luxuriate in the cooking process to prepare such dishes the way they used to be!!


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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bong   

First of all, big thanks to Chef Vinod and his mom, and Monica. Kudos!

Re: making Dosas, I find that when I grind my own rice in my ordinary consumer grade home blender, it does not ferment as well. My guess is that the rice is not powdery enough. So I cheat a little bit and when I start the fermentation process, I add a little bit of rice flour which you can buy from indian grocery stores. This seems to jumpstart the fermentation process.

Also, those who are not experts at making dosa and are mere mortals like I am -- I find using a 12-inch non stick omelette pan works best for me instead of using a griddle. That way I can swirl the nonstick pan around to get the batter to be of consistent thickness. I find this easier to do than to use the method Chef Vinod's mom is using -- that method requires skills! BTW, you can use the same "swirling" technic when making french style crepes.

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Episure   

Chef Vinod,

I am more than a little obsessed with Dosas. The dosas in Karanataka( especially the "Darshini" types) are unlike anywhere else. You cross from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu and poof... they are not the same.

This is one of the oldest mysteries in my unsolved book.

Have you had any experience of this?


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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BBhasin   
Vinod/Monica,

While I am all for soaking the rice and lentils, grinding them and fermenting the batter a bit to get the tangy zing, a packet of Instant Dosa mix gets the batter ready in five minutes after adding the requisite amount of water and the dosas turn out almost the same as the ones with the tedious method. So why not just get the mix?

bhasin

you really like the mix as much as from scratch BB?

Yes.

The batter is ready in five minutes and the Dosa is done in another five.

Most South Indian homes make the Dosa batter in larger quantities and keep it refigerated ( it dries up a bit but you reconstitute by adding a little water) refrigeration keeps it from fermenting excessively too, its ready whenever you are. In India and in some Indian stores in the US now, you can get ready to use dosai batter in polybags which is kept refrigerated.

I spent some time in Kerela and Tamil Nadu. The first time I was invited to a locals house for dinner this Punjabi expected the crisp Dosas( just like Vinod made) but when we sat down for the meal what we were served for bread were soft 'rice & lentil crepes' the thickness of tortillas. When I quizzed the host on what this was, he told me that these were the real South Indian Dosas and the crisp 'paper' dosas popular in the north and elsewhere were not the real thing. Almost like the authentic Italian pizza being so different from the popular versions touted by the chains here.

Perhaps Chef Vinod or monica can enlighten us on this.

Now when I make my dosa stuffing I go the easy way there too

Make some instant mashed potatoes ( 5-7 minutes)

while the water is boiling make your tempering.

heat oil, preferably in a wok, when hot add

a pinch of fenugreek seeds and a little channa dal when they begin to brown add

mustard seeds, when they begin to start popping add

some shelled peanuts or cashews and sliced coconut if you have some handy

add curry leaves and when they start turning color add

salt and a little turmuric

cook a minute to ensure turmuric does not stay raw but do not burn it

add the mashed potatoes and mix well.

Wow, I got carried away tryska, all I wanted to say was, Yes.


Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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tryska   

*lol*

interesting nonetheless. I've never had any experience with ready-to-use dosa mix, we always made it from scratch. but on your recommendation I will give it a shot.

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