Bella Metthe Dosa (Jaggery & Fenugreek Seed Pancakes)

As I've mentioned in my previous posts, Mangalore is a beautiful pot pourri of cultures. This beautiful coastal town is home to so many languages, cultures and religious beliefs so it goes without saying that much of it trickles into our cuisine on the whole. The fine details ofcourse vary between ethnicities. Everyone identifies with the 'dosa' as a wholesome food that originated in the South. But there are so so many varieties that it is mind boggling. Some of them are traditional recipes passed down from one generation to the other and enables others to distinguish one culture from the other. The Bella Metthe Dosa is typically a breakfast or tea time snack prepared by the Mangalorean Protestant (Christian) community. The recipe was given to me by my dear Mangalorean friend Jenifer who I met here in Bombay, a family friend who is like a sister to me. 

While a 'Dosa' typically means a pancake made out of rice or wheat, this one has extra flavours brought in by fresh coconut, jaggery and fenugreek. The right balance of flavours makes these dosas so irresistible especially when you have them once they have completely cooled off - you can lose track of how many you've had!

A perfect breakfast is one which helps jump start the metabolism and keeps you going through the day. These dosas are a great breakfast option as they are filled with the goodness of  coconut (rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals), jaggery (popularly known as medicinal sugar is a good source of magnesium, potassium and helps to maintain blood pressure), fenugreek (excellent herbal remedy for reducing cholesterol & blood sugar levels, treating skin inflammations and increasing milk production in lactating mothers), rice (which is an instant source of energy - a carbohydrate with many benefits), black gram dal (reduces formation of cough & acidity in the body and is beneficial to people with diabetes, nervous disorders, digestive system disorders and rheumatic afflictions)

'Bella' in Kannada means Jaggery and 'Metthe' is Methi seeds (Fenugreek)
So friends, what are you waiting for? There's nothing like a power packed breakfast - try this and let me know how you liked it!

Bella Metthe Dosa
(Printable Recipe)

Soaking time: 6- hours | Prep time: 10 mins| Fermenting time: 2 hours | Cook time: 15 mins | Yield: 12-14 medium size thin dosas

You Need:
1. Wash and soak the raw rice, urad dal and methi seeds for at least 6-7 hours. Drain and grind it along with the jaggery, grated coconut and cooked rice to a fine thick paste. The consistency of the batter should be slightly thinner than dosa batter.
2. Transfer the batter into a large and deep container that accommodates fermented batter. Add salt and sugar to taste - it should have a sweet & salty taste. Adjust sweetness of sugar or jaggery as required.
3. To prepare the yeast solution, take yeast in a small bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons of lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon sugar to help activate the yeast. Keep aside for 10 minutes till the yeast solution turns frothy. Add this to the prepared batter, stir well so everything is mixed properly. Cover the mouth of the vessel with a muslin cloth or a lid that is not airtight but has an outlet for air to pass. Keep the pan undisturbed, in a warm spot of your kitchen to aid fermentation. In good (warm) weather and when good quality yeast is used the batter takes anywhere between 1-1/2 - 3 hours to ferment. * see notes.
4. Heat a non stick tawa/griddle on a medium high and grease it with a little oil. Take a ladleful of batter and pour in the centre of the pan, let it spread on its own or just help spread it a bit using the back of your ladle. Cover and cook for about half a minute, add a few drops of oil before you flip it over. Cook on both sides till golden brown.
5. Serve hot with chutney or eat them plain when completely cool - they are irressitible even when cold!

1. You may leave the batter overnight for fermentation if you live in a slightly colder weather or have central AC at home. Make sure that you place a large plate underneath the pan just incase the batter spills over.
2. When the batter has fermented completely it will double or triple in quantity and turn frothy/fluffy. If you wish you can stir the batter a bit but it will kill the fermentation. However, many people stir it once and keep the batter again for fermentation. If you don't wish to fry  dosas at this stage you may even pour the batter into ramekins or a steel plate with sides and steam it for 15-20 minutes for a fluffy steamed cake. 
3. In the picture above I have prepared thick dosa by frying them on a flat tawa. If you are using a large dosa tawa which is slightly concave in the middle then use a ladle to spread the batter in which case you may get slightly thinner dosa.
4. If the tawa is too hot the dosa will burn outside and remain uncooked inside. If it is not hot enough the batter will stick and refuse to spread even with the help of a ladle. Maintain the heat on a medium high. 

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