The Vegan Friendly Masala Dosa Making Class with The Naan-Americans Home Kitchen

Dosa is a popular Indian breakfast dish. Indigenous to the southern part of India, this crispy rice and lentil crepe has now gained popularity and is widespread across the world.

 The dosa and its manifestations can now be seen in many Indian restaurants across the globe as well as food trucks and street food festivals in popular cities like New York, London, Boston and more.

 The classic representation of a Masala dosa would be the large perfect round shaped crepe, crisp and golden in the bottom and a white soft mesh-like texture on the top. This now is generously smeared with the red garlic chutney and filled with the classic Onion-Potato filling and served with either sambar or coconut chutney or both on the side.

 Despite its popularity and it’s ubiquitous nature, the Dosa making is still an art. One needs to know the tips and tricks to get that perfectly thin, round, golden, soft, crispy dosa. As easy as it may seem, the spicy potato filling needs some tweaks and tricks, love and care,  to make it juicy and delicious and not dry and bland.

The cooking classes and culinary events with The Naan-Americans will help you with just that. Our goal is to show and teach our guests the small nuances, the tips and tricks, the hidden idea behind a recipe so that our guests can go back home and recreate the dish with confidence and ease.

 

 

Our latest Masala dosa making class was one such beautiful experience. Our guest Erica is a lover of Indian food. She frequently dines at Indian restaurants and has even tried to cook some Indian dishes at home. She mentions that she probably has the largest Indian spice collection in her kitchen. Her only concern would be that since she is Vegan she always needs to make sure the restaurants don’t serve her dishes that are cream based or even throw in a dollop of butter on top of her Rotis or Naan.

This was her first Masala dosa making class. She was excited because everything in here was Vegan. There was no room for error. The class met all her requirements. No dairy, No meat. Just perfect. She had a vegetarian host-instructor for the night who is from the Southern part of India and knows the in and out of Dosa making.

And what a beautiful evening it was. Our guest was super excited to attend this class while getting a chance to free herself a bit and get that Me-time, that we all sometimes crave for.

She was ready to get her hands on the Dosa making starting with the potato filling. The instructor had few things prepped ahead of time and had displayed the whole ingredients needed for their cooking party this night. Soon enough the spicy potato mixture was cooking in the Kadai, the aroma of the sweet onions filling the tiny kitchen. The guest was proud and happy to learn this new dish which was good just by itself.

Methi Thepla

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Methi or Fenugreek is often considered as a superfood in India. It is believed to have cooling properties. It is very therapeutic. Breastfeeding moms are often seen consuming fenugreek seeds in quite high amounts, as it is believed to increase milk supply. I have tried it too , and I must say it works!

Because of its cooling properties fenugreek powder is added in spicy pickles  to compensate all that heat from the chilli powder. I remember my grandmother using fenugreek to help her digestion. Just before bedtime she used to make herself a glass of cold buttermilk with little salt and  adding some freshly powdered fenugreek seeds.

I just so love methi too. It is so fragrant and therapeutic. Be it the seeds or the leaves, I love to use them quite often. The leaves are very tender and fragrant and hardly bitter . The seeds carry a nutty and  quite bitter taste but the bitterness subdues when we dry roast them . And that aroma!!! ….

I always wish that methi was available in American supermarkets. Unfortunately it is not and I always have to visit the Indian store to grab a bunch or two and always will have to make a choice of what to make out of Methi. Those are hard choices to make, as anything made out of Methi  leaves is absolutely delicious.

There is a whole array of dishes both South and North Indian that uses fresh Methi leaves in its cooking. Parathas, rotis, gravies,curries, fritters, dals you name it!

This time I chose to make Theplas out of Methi. Theplas are similar to rotis or parathas. They have all spices incorporated in them and typically needs no side dish to go with it. They can be enjoyed as a snack, brunch, lunch or dinner. Kids Love them too. Just pay attention to the spice levels when making for kids. It makes a great lunch box recipe too.

The process is quite simple and here is how to make theplas out of these ever green Methi:

What we need:

2 cups of whole wheat flour

2 tbsp gram/chickpea flour

1 cup of finely chopped fresh methi leaves

2 green chillies

1 tsp cumin/coriander powder( optional)

1tsp turmeric

salt

Method:

Combine all ingredients together.

With little sprinkles of water, knead into a soft dough.

Divide into equal sized balls

roll them into round rotis

On a hot griddle roast them by sprinkles of oil.

Serve warm or not so warm with yogurt.

 

 

About being authentic.

It is very natural to imitate. That instinct to be wanting to be “like” someone else. Someone who is better than us. We all do that. Try to be like someone else. Mostly because, when we are surrounded by people who are doing better than us, we often feel low and inadequate and the pressure builds to be good and achieve success “like” others.

This is so true especially in the world of blogging. I will tell you my story.

I started a blog because I wanted to have a blog. Not because others have their own blogs.

But over the period of time, when I started browsing hundreds of others’ blogs and noticing how great they were, be it their writing , be it their photographs or just their post titles, I felt awful. I felt  ” I am pathetic”. This feeling is strong, especially when your readership is so low and when the clicks on your blog is almost close to zero.

 

But then something happened. Something dawned on me. And it happened TODAY.

In today’s morning show, the popular blogger of Smitten Kitchen was featured on TV. She is the famous food blogger with her famous site, I realized. I was further intrigued when the TV segment featured her famous kitchen on TV. Her kitchen is famous, famous for being teeny tiny!!! Her kitchen looked like a warm, cozy place where you can find solace by making your favorite comfort foods and just enjoy them even if you are alone!

My curiosity rose and  in the afternoon I visited her site. This was the 10th time I was visiting her site. 9 times before the TV feature!

And what I read there caught my attention. She writes, “food has to be accessible”. And “she does not believe in fancy ingredients like an expensive bottle of pink Himalayan salt”.

I realized there was a song beneath these lines. A song of authenticity. A song of originality. A song of what she believes in. And that is what differentiates her and makes her unique. So unique to be featured on the TV show!

I took a deep breathe, refreshed my thoughts and came to a conclusion. Imitating, trying to BE Like someone else due to mere pressure to succeed, will not take me anywhere.

There is great strength in being original, being authentic, being yourself. Drawing inspiration from others is one thing, but completely trying to live other peoples lives while losing complete focus on yours is nothing short of ridiculous.

SO here I am. The new me. Trying to be myself again. In this humble blog of mine. Renewing and reflecting in what I believe in related to food and life. Mainly because when food and taste  is such a personal thing, it does not make any sense to imitate others.