Thursday, February 23, 2012

MLA Pesarattu - Andhra's take on the masala dosa

There are as many stories about how this came to be known as MLA pesarattu as there are variations to this recipe. It is a classic Andhra delight but each recipe is probably as far away from the authentic one based on who you talk to :-). My favorite story is about the MLA getting a preferential treatment in the road side joints in their legislative area, the owner put the ever available upma into the pesarattu with some onions and green chilies thrown in for a good measure of heat to gain the favor of the MLA. What I am not sure is whether he revered the MLA and actually wanted to please him or added all that extra oil in an effort to slowly kill the guy :-) and do a favor to the janta, take your pick.

Pesarattu is a specialized adai made only with moong. I have tasted the pesarattu made with soaked whole green moong or pesalu as it is called but we at home like the quicker and lighter version of the pesarattu made with split moong dal/pesara pappu. Eaten with the upma, this makes for a heavy brunch or a weekend dinner. This batter does not need any fermentation and if you take the help of warm water, you can actually get this entire thing ready in under 2 hours.

The upma made as a combination here is very vanilla as the idea is to have the overpowering taste of the pesarattu over the upma. I usually do not add anything more than onion, green chilies, curry leaves to the upma. See my uppittu recipe if you are looking for an upma that can stand by itself :-). Also the consistency of the upma is a bit more softer than if you were to eat it alone so that it stays put inside the rolled pesarattu.
What do you need to make MLA pesarattu? 
For pesarattu batter: 
2 cups of moong dal/pesara pappu/hesaru bele
1 Tblsp of uncooked rice (I used sona masoori)
1.5 cups water
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 inch piece of ginger root
4-5 green chilies (adjust to taste)
handful of fresh cilantro
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
For Upma: 
1 cup upma rava/sooji
2.5 cups water
2 Tblsp chopped onion
1 green chili chopped
2-3 curry leaves chopped
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp mustard seeds
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 Tblsp cooking oil

For making pesarattu: 
2-3 Tsp cooking oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped onions (optional)
1 Tblsp finely chopped green chilies (optional)

How do you make MLA Pesarattu? 
Making of Upma: 
  • Roast the upma rava on medium heat until it turns light golden in color, you can do it on stove top or in the microwave.
  • Make a seasoning of mustard, cumin in oil, once the mustard splutters add green chilies, curry leaves and onions.
  • Fry till onions turn light pink in color.
  • Add the roasted rava and salt.
  • Slowly add water, continuously stirring the rava to avoid any lumps. 
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until rava is completely cooked and you see a big, soft blob in the pan. 
  • Keep aside until needed. 
Making of Pesarattu batter:
  • Soak the moong dal and rice in 3 times volume of water for about 1-2 hours. Use warm water for soaking to speed up the process.
  • When the dal has plumped up and soft to touch, bring it into a blender/grinder along with the other ingredients except for salt. 
  • Grind to a foamy smooth paste by adding water as needed. The batter is not very runny but should be easy to spread into a dosa. 
  • Add salt and mix well. 
Making the MLA pesarattu: 
  • Heat a flat pan on medium heat, I use my griddle for most of the dosa making at home. 
  • Take a ladleful of the batter and pour it in the center of the pan and quickly spread it out in circular motions. The pesarattu is generally a thicker dosa than the regular ones, so do not worry about making it paper thin. 
  • Spread a few chopped onions and green chilies when the batter is still uncooked.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of oil on top and press down the onions and chilies lightly with your dosa flipper. 
  • Once the dosa is cooked on the bottom, gently reverse it on the pan and cook for a minute.
  • Flip the dosa back. put a big scoop of the upma in the center and fold the pesarattu from both sides. 
  • Traditionally this is served with chutneys such as ginger chutney, tomato chutney or coconut chutney, I served it with ginger chutney. 
Here is a first from Sattvaa kitchen - an effort to capture the process on video. A huge hug to BH for standing by (and relinquishing his self proclaimed quality tester/taster role until the video was done) and also helping with the editing. Hope you enjoy it as much we did making the video..
  • You can use whole green moong instead of moong dal for a slightly heavier meal. 
  • You can add black pepper corns while grinding the batter for a different taste. 
  • You can mix in chopped onions, grated carrots into the batter for flavor.
  • You can skip the upma totally and just eat pesarattu with any chutney of your choice, but then you will be eating the poor man's pesarattu and not the MLA version :-) 
  • Ginger, green chilies are optional in the batter depending on your preference, I love the color cilantro imparts to the batter. 
  • The batter needs to be ground well so that it is almost foamy unlike the coarse batter of the ada dosas.
Note: I leave you to savor the MLA pesarattu while I am off for a week to enjoy a family wedding. I am very excited as this is the first time I am taking part in a traditional Andhra wedding, will bring loads of pictures and authentic recipes from the experts back home.  


Jay said...

wow..great post..thanks for sharing dear..
.this looks tasty & adorable..;)

Tasty Appetite


Both are my favorite,but too lazy to make upma and stuff , but wish to do ! Tempting!

NamsVeni Pothas said...

wow the pesarattu in vedio is really mouth watering. we
wish and hope from now onwards all the recipies will appear in videos. thanks Sattva for the nice dish. we are looking forward to taste nice marriage dishes.