Tuesday, March 19, 2019

16 Bean Dosa - High Protein breakfast

Food - a simple concept most of the time, or at least it should be. But it seems like everytime I turn around, there are changes in scientific research that either vilify a particular food or glorify it to such an extreme that prices then are necessarily through the proverbial roof!
As a person trying my best to feed my family healthy meals, I have found that exercising moderation in all aspects is the golden key to solving this food puzzle. In an effort to reduce the over consumption of  polished white rice, I am always on the lookout for recipes that utilize other grains / lentils and beans. My niece had remarked once that she used a combination of beans in her dosa batter and had achieved good results. The light bulb went off the next time I was pondering over the weekend breakfast.
I had some 16 bean mix that I had purchased from the bulk bins of my local Natural Food market.
(As an aside, if you have access to any grocery store that has bulk bins - Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, Winco, do check out their bulk bins. They have an amazing variety of items that you can try and incorporate into a healthy eating routine.)
I soaked a cup and a half of the 16 bean mix overnight. The next morning, I drained the beans and ground them up in my blender with an inch of fresh ginger, a couple of green chillies and a handful of fresh cilantro. I added a sufficient quantity of water to ensure that the blender ran smoothly and to get a free flowing batter. I also added half acup of semolina and a teaspoon of salt.
You could also add half a cup of rice flour instead to ensure that the batter spreads evenly and has a crispy texture.
This batter does not need any fermentation time. I let it sit for about 15 minutes while I did some other chores. 

I served the dosas along with coconut chutney and the family indulged in a rice free, protein rich breakfast that didnt take too much effort to put on the table.

1.5 C of mixed beans and lentils (Either store bought or mix it yourself)
1 inch fresh ginger
2 -3 green chillies (depending on taste)
1/2 C finely chopped cilantro
1/2 C finely chopped onion (optional)
1/2 C semolina or rice flour
1 tsp salt or to taste

1. Soak the beans overnight. This will ensure that the beans are soft enough for grinding. If you do not have a high powered blender, then make sure you grind in batches and rest the blender in between to prevent an overload.
2. Drain the beans and discard the soaking water, Blend the beans in batches, if required along with the ginger, chillies and cilantro.
3. Remove the mixture into a pot / vessel. Add the semolina or rice flour and adjust to a pouring consistency by adding sufficient water. Add the salt.
4. Add the onions if using and mix well.
5. Heat a pan well and then make dosas by pouring a ladle of the batter and spreading it out on the pan with the back of the ladle in a circular motion.
6. Cover the dosa to ensure that it gets cooked well. Drizzle a little oil around the edges of the dosa.
7. Flip the dosa and cook it on the other side for a while.
8. Serve hot with accompaniment of your choice.

As with any other dosa / pancake, make the first one slightly thick. Subsequent dosas can be spread thinly. Make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before you start making the dosas.
I prefer to eat dosas while they are piping hot. These will still taste good when cold, but eat them while they are hot if possible!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wishes, Purposes and Fulfillment

As the day bowed down and gave way to the impending night, so did the exhausted old year yield to the energetic new one. I had already started getting messages and forwards from friends and family across the ocean through social media, celebratory and jubilant. All expressing a wish that my family and I would have a prosperous, fun filled,healthy and happy new year; that the new year would bring with it new beginnings, new hopes and new aspirations. After all, they had already bid adieu to the old year and relegated it to their memories.
I, on the other hand was still in the process of saying my goodbyes. It was still New Years Eve for us in the western hemisphere and the old year was like the guest who was leaving after the party, but was in the midst of a last minute conversation at the door. The old year had not yet been captured and framed to be boxed up with its predecessors. I was preparing for a quiet separation, one that would not involve boisterous games and excited conversations and kids running around waiting for the obligatory slice of cake.
When the new year dawned on me, it brought with it more messages and wishes, all of them more or less repetitions of the same variety. I had nothing against them, I myself had sent numerous such replies to my well-wishers. But once I had done that, I found myself in an introspective mood. What, in the end, did these wishes mean? What is the recipient to do?
"Wishing you a New Year filled with new hope, new aspirations and new happiness"
Wouldn't it be amazing if wishes such as these were self-fulfilling and would grant us all that they contained, without needing anything from us in return? They would be fantastic!
Alas, then that wishes have no such power hidden in their depths. All they convey are expectations and desires and wants, whether for ourselves or for others. Do we then receive them, acknowledge them and let them flow through the sieves of our daily routines?
What if we picked through the list and selected the wishes that spoke most compellingly?
New aspirations? Check.
New happiness? Yes, please.
Then, what if we added our own goals and wants and yearnings to the pile?
Dig through that discarded bag of resolutions and dust off the "better health", "better relationships", "better career" wishes and look at them through renewed eyes.
Its time to convert the well meaning wishes into something more purposeful, something achievable and something that we all have to do for ourselves.
I want better health this year, like I have wanted for the past several years. I am going to have to take steps to achieve that, though. I will need to make better choices regarding food and I am most definitely going to need to make a sustainable plan for working out on a regular basis and follow through. I also want better relationships. That means, I will need to work on that also. I need to make plans to spend time in a meaningful way with my husband and my kids and my friends. Its not something that will happen automatically.

So dear readers, here I am, at the beginning of another beautiful year, not just wishing you a happy new year, but urging you all to find the purpose in your wishes and then working through a plan to bring those wishes to fulfillment. We are all fellow travelers in this life. Our wishes, goals and purposes might be as different as chalk and cheese, but the happiness that we will derive from the fulfillment will most certainly be the same.
Let us then make this year not just about passage of time, but about an achievement of desires and wants. Let us not be beguiled into thinking that our friends and neighbors have a better life than us just on the basis of their social media presence. They are also, after all struggling through their own personal obstacles that we might know nothing about. Let us look through a lens of optimism and encouragement and perseverance and realize that when we focus, we progress and when we progress, we fulfill. When we fulfill, we have contentment.
Let us all strive towards a state of contentment so that when it is time to look at this year in our rear view mirrors, we can do so with a lighter heart, a smiling face.
                                                        Happy New Year