Kutti Dosa – Little South Indian Rice & Lentil Pancakes

small indian dosa pancake

The last time we made lacto-plums on an impulse I threw some of the plum vinegar into a batter I was making for dosa. I usually keep my dosa pure, but in for a penny, in for a pound: in went some black cumin after which a pinch of hing felt obligatory. Then I waited until morning for the result.

The batter had a definite yeasty smell and was extra full of air. This batter wanted to make soft, fluffy kutti (small) dosa. The type you drop onto a skillet and let spread naturally while a thousand bubbles burst to adorn the top

You can make Kutti Dosa the traditional way: just omit the lacto plum vinegar. Even the spices are optional

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South Indian Dosa – Basic Recipe

south indian dosa with coconut chutney and sambhar

A flat pancake resembling a crepe, dosa are traditional to the South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines but are popular all over India and beyond

Dosa are a staple in South Indian restaurants in the West. Plain or filled they come with coconut chutneys and often sambhar, a hot and sour South Indian vegetable dish which I’ll describe shortly. When in London we treat ourselves to dosa most weekends at our favourite Indian eaterie Sagar

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Lacto Fermented Fruit- Yummy Umami & Pro-Biotic Goodness

salt fermented lacto-plums

What’s The Big Deal?

With so much positive research and publicity on the happy gut- happy brain connection it’s no wonder fermenting food has taken off big time.

Healthy gut bacteria are essential not only for our gut but also for a strong immune system and a happy nervous system. In fact, as well as love, health and just possibly money it’s essential for happiness in general. And it’s just the quantity of bacteria that’s imnportant but the range of different bacteria. The greater the variety of gut flora, the healthier we are.

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Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish

Bengali fermented mustard and green mango kasandi

Traditionally served with greens, kasundi ( कसूंदी ) is a perfect accompaniment to dry vegetable snacks such as pakora and samosa. Added to pasta it’s a marriage made in heaven.

Though available commercially, kasundi is easy to make at home. No vinegar or other acids, no additives, no cooking even. Just natural fermentation of raw materials for a condiment bursting with pro-biotic goodness and umami deliciousness. Continue reading “Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish”

Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling

fermented Sour Michoacan Tamales With Tomatillo Salsa And Pumpkin Seed

Vegan Sour Tamales – Corn At Its Best!

The usual thing with tamal dough is to chill it, something which greatly helps it pass the float-test, a sure sign that the end result will be light and fluffy. Sour tamales, on the contrary, are allowed to rest in warm place to ferment.

Nixtamalization, or lime-treatment of corn has great nutritional benefits. The alkaline lime (calcium hydroxide) breaks down the indigestible outer husk releasing essential amino acids and vitamins. Enter fermentation to fully open the door to nutrients not otherwise available. This is maize at its very best. Continue reading “Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling”

Quick Injera AKA Lahoh

ethiopian injera with vegan side dishes

Here we use yeast for breads you can make in minutes rather than days.

If you can,  buy a sourdough starter. Or make your own. It’ll only take you three days! Put a cupful of flour in a bowl with a cup and half of tepid water and half a teaspoon of instant dry yeast. Mix well and leave, covered but not sealed, for three days. Initially there’ll be lots of frothy activity – eventually the mixture settles and a brownish liquid form on top. Ready.


The throusand hole crepe is in fact popular throughout North Africa. Continue reading “Quick Injera AKA Lahoh”

Instant Injera

Ethiopian Injera on a skillet

I’ve deliberately left out the dish’s nationality as I don’t know how an Ethiopian cook would react to the suggestion of making a non-sour-dough version of their ancestral dish. Indian cooks give this treatment to some of their traditionally fermented dishes like Dosa or Dhokla without a blink. Granted, we’re not in India, but it is quick. And tasty. Continue reading “Instant Injera”

Teff Injera: naturally fermented sourdough bread

fermented ethiopian injera bread with 3 condiments

It’s hard to describe the flavour of Injera. It is sour, but that wouldn’t begin to describe the unique complexity of this, one of the world’s great breads.

Made from Teff, a non-gluten, high-protein grain native to Ethiopia  and Eritrea traditional Injera ferments for 3-5 days and nights, to become a probiotic wonder bursting with goodness as well as flavour. Sounds long winded? Just remember you’ve delegated the task of creating sourdough to lactic-acid bacteria while you get on with other things.

And if you can’t get hold of Teff I’ve eaten great “njera” made from buckwheat and millet, both also gluten-free.  You can  even use wheat! A step too far? Not at all. Officially you’d be eating another bread popular to the region, lahoh. But what’s in a name?

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Injera: Ethiopia’s Thousand-Hole Pancake With Vegan Accompaniments

making injera

Britain is still gripped in a suffocating heatwave. Here is Spain tempratures are higher  but in Trujillo you wouldn’t think so – the air is dry so you barely sweat – you do, but it evaporates to keep you cool, the slightest breaze, though hot,  feels refreshing, and night-time temperatures are 25C degrees lower than by day! Locals are calling this a cool summer, though 40C is forcast for next week when summer proper is due to arrive. Can’t wait…

I love fermenting grains in the hot weather and two of my many number-one favourites are Ethiopian teff Injera and Ghanaian maize Kenkey.  The Injera battter prepared, I now need to wait 3-4 days (5 in the winter) for it to ferment.  Once accomplished  I’ll let you in on the secret. And as usual I’ll suggest alternative grains and how to cheat for instant results. Continue reading “Injera: Ethiopia’s Thousand-Hole Pancake With Vegan Accompaniments”