Look at that bubbly batter! I was thrilled when I opened the oven this morning to check whether my dough had risen and indeed it did! Marvellously. It was my first time soaking, grinding and fermenting amaranth and to be on the safe side I used equal parts of amaranth, rice and urad dal to make batter for idli and dosa.
The recipe is quite simple.
1 cup brown rice
1 cup urad, whole or split, with black peel intact
1 cup amaranth (राजगीरा)
1 tsp salt
Instructions: Soak rice, urad dal and amaranth for 8 hours or overnight. Blend into a smooth batter, add salt, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 8 hours or overnight. Batter should double in bulk and form bubbles. Use the batter to make pancakes or waffles.
Amaranth is a tiny little grain, perhaps more familiar to some of us as the seed of తోటకూర (thotakura), one of the common leafy greens that we eat in Andhra Pradesh. In Hindi amaranth is called राजगीरा (rājgīrā). As it turns out there are many varieties of amaranth and likewise many varieties of leafy greens that grow from them, three of which are popular for their seed. Technically speaking what we buy in the bulk provisions department is a seed, not a grain. But we can still call it a grain, as the Whole Grains Council explains:
Because their overall nutrient profile is similar to that of cereals, and more importantly, pseudocereals like amaranth have been utilized in traditional diets spanning thousands of years in much the same way as the “true cereals” have been. Click here to “meet” amaranth in its various forms.
And just what is that nutritional profile, you may ask? Known for being higher in protein than many grains, amaranth is also a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. As a seed it resembles a grain and so I thought of trying it for idli and dosa, the easiest dishes in which to try new grains. The idlis were a bit too soft, but I am not sure if the amaranth was to blame. (I will experiment a few more times before calling that one.
The dosas, however, were a hit and before they all disappeared I managed to take a picture of one of them – the first one in fact. Watch as the bubbles formed in the fermenting dough expand as they heat up on the pan and eventually leave behind holes in the cooked dosa:
For those who are used to paper-thin crispy dosas, I should clarify that I make dosas like pancakes, because I grew up calling dosas “Indian pancakes.” You can make thinner dosas with this same batter if you want, but it just means that you will be standing longer at the stove and will have to eat twice as many dosas to feel full — and may be getting twice the oil, if you use oil (which I don’t, after the first one).
And for the waffle: put the same batter into your waffle iron. I would have done it for you today but I ran out of batter before finishing this post. Shows how popular amaranth dosas are. I will make some more and update the page with a picture of an amaranth waffle for you. Till then, bon appétit!