Millets are making a revival into everyday cuisine due t their health benefits and lack of gluten. The other main reason is commercial millet has not yet been hybridized on the land and genetically modified. The stores now carry millets, foxtail, finger, sorghum, pearl, barnyard and others both as grains and flour. In addition, millet muesli, millet bread, and other millet products are now lining the shelves.
I was having a conversation with a millet grower and she was bemoaning how villagers, especially those involved in physical labour like farming, have dropped millet from their diets and have stopped growing the crops. The rationale is that the farmers get a much lower crop yield for millets, versus rice, and it is also more expensive to buy. The farmers are now on a lot of rice which is insufficient. Millets have a complex, slow-release carbohydrate, compared to rice. the farmers would eat millet, porridge or bread, and it would sustain them till late afternoon and provide essential nutrients to their diet. The polished withe rice shoots up the blood sugar quickly and is digested quickly too, so the farmers are having difficulty sustaining the labour they have to do. Thankfully, companies like Biobasics are changing this by both reviving heritage millets, and traditional rice varietals and helping the farmers sell these products and giving back to these communities.
This is a very traditional recipe in South India. Compared to the Ghee dosa, this is a hearty dosa packed with nutrients. The dosa has a lovely earthy flavour that is complimented by spices and curry leaves. This dosa is also available in ready packs in most grocery stores, but these commercial varieties are plain flour and water and lack the nuances the spices bring to the pancake.
This cookbook on South Indian dosa is a very specialized cookbook from one of my favourite chefs. Every recipe is authentic and this book is written with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the different cuisines in South India. This pancake recipe, like the other dosas and adai recipes from this cookbook, makes this cookbook essential for those who enjoy this type of dish.
For more recipes from the amazing cookbook, click here.
1 cup ragi flour
1/2 cup rice flour
6 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
10 curry leaves, minced
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon anise seed (saunf), toasted and pounded
Oil or ghee, as needed
Mix all the ingredients except for the oil. Allow the batter to sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours to allow the millet batter to ferment slightly. Store in the fridge.
Heat a frying or dosa pan till very hot. Add 1/4 cup, or lesser, of the batter and allow it to spread out naturally. Drizzle with oil and cook for 1 1/2 minutes till the bottom is well browned and sturdy. Flip and cook for an additional 45 seconds till the pancake is cooked through. Serve immediately with chutney and sambhar.