Friday, August 21, 2015

Oggarane Dosa(Phanna Polo) - Pancakes with Seasoning

This is a kind of pancake, an instant dosa, a close cousin of rava dosa, which is a life saver when you have sudden guests at home, or when your kids are back from school tired and shout that they are hungry, but you can't find any packet of Maggi noodles, since banned in India!

My memory travels back in time and stops in year 1969, when I was in high school. My father was very fussy about breakfast, and always wanted dosas, idlis or pooris for breakfast. Sometimes mother forgot to soak rice and daal for making dosas and she had her own idea of making instant dosas! Those days, packed instant dosa mix hadn't come to market like MTR or Gits like we get today! So mother used to make this instant dosa, which was popularly known in Mangalore as 'Oggarane Dosa' in Kannada or 'Phanna Polo' in Konkani. Oggarane/Phanna mean seasoning(in this case with mustard seeds, curry leaves and some other ingredients) which is added to the dosa batter to make it tasty.

She made it with simple available ingredients. Using a thick iron skillet, she used to roast them. Often a dosa or two may get stuck on the skillet and a lump of charred remains went down the waste bin! Today, we are lucky that we have a range of nonstick pans available, which also cut on oil consumption. 

I too learned making those oggarane dosas, since mother used to go out of town thrice a year to visit my sister in Shivamogga, and I was the cook in her absence, making tea coffee and easy to prepare snacks for those who remained in station. When I settled down in Bangalore after getting the bank job, I have prepared this dosa at least 4 times, and during the last 27 years of married life, at least 6 times. Each time I have experimented with different ingredients. This time, the formula is so perfect, I myself am impressed with the results!

The changes I made and the scientific explanation:

1. The batter for this instant dosa is not fermented. So, if we don't add some agent which gives a bit of sourness, the taste may remain too sweet. So I decided to add yoghurt/buttermilk. 

2. Then the consistency of the dosa is usually pasty or rubbery. The batter sometimes gets stuck to the pan and forms lumps. To overcome this, I added chiroti rava.

3. Asafotoeda acts like a deodorant just like vanilla essence added to cake or caramel custard to overcome the smell of eggs.

4. Other ingredients are almost the same as mother used to add, but I also added coriander leaves for better taste, and also added chopped green chilli and ginger to the seasoning to take away the pungency. 

To con your kids, you can finely chop the green chillies and add that to the seasoning. I prefer them to be coarsely chopped and bite into them as I relish my dosas! 

Essentially, a simple coconut dry chutney is prepared with this. You can also eat it as it is, or with cut mango pickle. Don't expect craters to form on this dosa like other rice and lentil dosas. This will be crisp on one side and soft on the other. If you wish, you can roast the dosa on both sides, but I prefer it this way. Be confident and go ahead making these tasty dosas.

Refined Flour(Maida) - 1 and 1/2 cups
Chiroti Rava(Superfine Bombay Rava) - 1/2 cup
Plain Yogurt(Curd) - 2 Tbsp(or 1 and 1/2 cup buttermilk)
Water - 1 cup or little more(if using yogurt)
Salt - 1/2 Tsp(or to taste)
Sugar - 1 Tsp
Asafotoeda - A pinch
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig
Green Chillies - 1 or 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Grated Coconut - 2 Tbsp
Coriander Leaves - 1 sprig
Coconut Oil - QS

Mix yogurt with 1 cup water(or just buttermilk 1 and 1/2 cup).
Add salt, sugar, asafotoeda and grated coconut and mix well.
Chop curry leaves, green chillies and coriander leaves coarsely, and ginger finely.
Heat 1 tsp oil and prepare a seasoning with mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger.
Add this seasoning along with chopped coriander leaves  to the yogurt mixture.
Add the flour along with chiroti rava little by little and keep whisking so that the flour does not form lumps.
Better use your fingers to mix in the flour.
When all the flour and rava have been mixed in, adjust the consistency adding water, little by little.
The batter should be thinner than usual dosa batter but thicker than neeru dosa batter.
To be precise, it should be like egg mixture for making omelette. 
Heat a nonstick pan and drizzle few drops of coconut oil.
Pour a ladle of the dosa batter, tilt and swivel the pan to spread the batter like we do for making egg omelette.
Allow to roast on medium heat.
as the surface of the dosa turns opaque, drizzle a little oil over it and allow to get roasted.
Once the edges start to turn golden, lift the dosa using a wooden or fiber spoon and transfer to serving platter.
Before you spread the next dosa, beat the batter lightly.
Repeat the process until you get around 12-14 dosas.
Serve with coconut chutney.

Whole wheat flour can be substituted for refined flour.
You can add grated carrot or beet root to the batter.
You can also add chopped onion to the batter in which case, skip adding asafotoeda.
You can add cumin seeds or urad daal to the seasoning, skipping asafotoeda and ginger.

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