Sunday, July 17, 2016

Baalekaayi Dose (Plantain dosa) - meet this delicious coastal Karnataka special!

"A child hugs everyone until an adult teaches it not to" ~ unknown
I sit down after a normal Sunday of chores & activities, looking at the hundreds of pictures I have taken and copied to folders, neatly arranged by the dish name, waiting for me to pick one and start writing.. I spend some time trying to pick the one dish that talks to me today, the one that I can talk about today with you all. I do choose what I want to blog about. But just as I start to catch the floating thoughts in my head, all that comes out as I try to hit the keys on my keyboard are jumbled words, nothing related to the recipe but everything related to the world around me, around us..

I sat staring at the screen for an hour, tried to take a break by doing something else, tried to organize thoughts by doing mundane tasks such as prepping for tomorrow's work day lunch, spending time on enhancing the pics, watermarking them etc but I knew in my heart that I wanted to say something different and far away from the recipe I chose to blog about today. I don't usually let things happening around me take control of my emotions but sometimes it is hard not to respond to what is happening around me. Every day this past week, I have woken up to read/hear about some incident, from Dhaka to Texas to Louisiana to France. People are hurting and it doesn't matter whether you white, black, male, female, adult or child. 4 college students lost their lives in this unreasonable violence, 4 young lives with hopes and aspirations, budding spirits just went away before it was time. Black & white family men lost their lives leaving young children and wives behind to tend to a life of memories and loneliness. I strongly believe that every life matters and deserves respect, irrespective of where you come from, what your religious beliefs are and the color of your skin. Let us teach the children to appreciate diversity, accept differences and embrace everyone as they are. My prayers for each of the families trying to face the grief due to the loss of a loved one. I am in general a very hopeful, positive person and believe that there is a lot of good in everybody, hope it finds the strength to prevail over violence.
I have a very simple recipe today, if you are a dose (dosa) lover, you will like this version. I saw this a few years back in the blogosphere, that was before I was a blogger. I have talked to my Mangalorean friends since then and learnt that it is a very common dose in the coastal homes since banana is grown in plenty in every backyard and most every part of the plant finds its way into the kitchen and into a recipe. A dose made with raw banana intrigued me and I tried it. The flavor is so fresh and the dose so tasty, we got hooked on it. Whats more, it is very easy to put together (soak, grind and pour) and doesn't require any fermentation at all. You can make this for breakfast, lunch or dinner as it can be as light or as filling as you want it to be. The traditional version has rice in it and just adds the chopped plantain. Over the years, I have made up my own version of this recipe by adding a little bit of urad dal (for the soft texture) and methi/fenugreek seeds as it is generally added to dose batter and brings a nice hue when dose is cooked. You can skip these and stick to the rice, plantain, salt version if you prefer. One of my friends adds 1/2 cup of shredded fresh coconut which also lends an undeniable sweet taste and soft texture to the dose.
Baalekaayi or raw banana/plantain is one of my favorite vegetables, and I always end up getting them from the grocery store if they look fresh. This versatile vegetable can go into the recipe all by itself or pair up and play nicely with others. You can find many of my favorite recipes using this vegetable on the blog here, here, here, here, and here :-). We have always had these plants in the backyard in Mysore and mostly grew the ripe fruit variety at home. I only have ornamental plants in pots here as the weather doesn't allow me to put them in the ground. They move in to the house as the cooler months come by but stay outdoors and sway happily during summer. Fruits or not, I love the plant just like that so they are here to stay with us..
What do you need? 
1 big plantain/green banana
1 cup quinoa*
3/4 cup millet (sawa or foxtail)*
1 tsp urad dal
1/4 Tsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
3-4 green chilies
2-3 Tsp oil to roast dose
* Look in the notes for replacing it with rice
How do you make Baalekaayi dose? 
  • Wash quinoa and millet in a couple washes of water. 
  • Soak them together for 4-5 hours
  • Wash, pat dry the plantain. 
  • Remove the ends and peel the plantain.
  • Chop into bite sized pieces. 
  • Drain the water, take it to a blender along with the green chilies. 
  • Grind into a coarse paste with 1/2 cup of water. 
  • Add the chopped plantain pieces and grind to a smooth paste. 
  • Add water if needed and bring the consistency to a pouring liquid (imagine a thick buttermilk)
  • Add salt, mix well and let it sit for about 10 minutes. 
  • Heat the dose griddle, add a drop or two of oil on the pan. Take a piece of paper towel and rub down the oil evenly on the surface of the griddle. 
  • Mix the batter, take a ladleful and pour it in the center of the griddle, using the back of the griddle and in a circular motion, spread the dose to a nice, round circle. 
  • Add a couple drops of oil around the surface of the dose and let it cook for a minute and half until the bottom side cooks well and turns golden in color. 
  • Using a spatula, slowly nudge the dose from the edges and remove it from the griddle. 
  • If you want to, you can cook it on both sides. Fold the dose in half and serve with your choice of chutney or pudi :-)
Notes: 
  • Traditionally this dose is made with rice as it is the grain of choice in Karnataka, I replaced it with a combination of quinoa & millet. If you want rice, use 2 cups of rice instead. Rest of the procedure is same. 
  • Green chilies add a tiny hint of spice, if you are making it for children or don't like chilies, reduce or skip them together.
  • I sometimes add some fresh cilantro or ginger while grinding to make it flavorful. 
  • Taste in this dose comes from the plantain, choose green skinned, firm plantains in the recipe. 
  • I use my cast iron pan for making dose, it is well seasoned by years of use and hardly needs extra oil to roast dose and gives a bright golden color to the dose. 
Tips for making good colored dose: 
  • Use heavy cast iron pan if possible. 
  • Heat the pan well, when you sprinkle a few drops of water, it should sizzle furiously. 
  • Rub the surface of the pan with a chopped piece of onion before you ladle out the batter. 
  • Reduce heat to medium while you pour the batter and once done, increase the heat. 
  • Some doses are cooked on one side only while others are roasted on both sides. 
  • Thickness (or thinness) of dose is a personal choice. Thinner ones are for people that enjoy crispy doses while thicker ones are for those who love the soft, velvety texture :-)
  • Adding 1/2 Tsp of sugar brings the golden color in dose, if you are ok with the extra sugar, go ahead. 
This is how BH likes to make this dose :-)
He was preparing it on a weekday morning and I usually wrap the breakfast to go, so he made my dose, slathered it with loads of chutney pudi, deep roasted it and rolled it for easy handling and eating once I reach work. Ah I am blessed!!
Pour the batter, add a liberal dose of chutney pudi on top. Let it cook

Once the bottom is golden brown, flip it over and let the other side get hot for a few secs

Take it onto a foil, roll it! I gobble it after I reach work and ready to eat bf