Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tomato Cholam Ragi Dosai (Tomato Millet Dosai)

In the food world we differentiate ourselves usually by the kinds of food we eat. Vegetarians, non-Vegetarians, flexitarians, Vegans and many many flavors of vegetarians ones who eat diary and the ones who don't, the ones who eat seafood and the ones who don't etc.

I/We are flexitarian, most Indians I know back home who fall into the category of non-vegetarian are generally flexitarian meaning they eat predominantly a vegetable based diet and also eat chicken, fish, lamb or goat occasionally. The meat in the diet is usually once a week or once in two weeks. Eggs are included in the diet regularly to supplement the protein intake.

My family includes both Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarians. My mother's side of the family does not eat meat of any form not even egg but include diary in the diet. My father's side on the other hand were/are non-vegetarians. My mother occasionally ate meat but now she has switched back to eating only plant based food. My aunt on the other hand has stuck to the ways of her parents and does not eat touch even eggs though she regularly cooks non-vegetarian fare.

As a movement Veganism has done a lot to increase the awareness of sticking to a vegetarian diet and the benefits of doing so. Vegetarian food encompasses all food groups that are essential as per the food pyramid. There is absolutely no need to depend on animal products. I know this for a fact but I don't see the need to switch to being vegan because I still enjoy chicken, fish and all that good stuff.

Even with all these plus points there is something that bothers me about the vegan food movement. It has increased our consumption of over processed food all in the name of sticking to a vegan diet. Read Mark Bittman's article here. If you have given up eating meat products why is there is a need to go looking for a fake meat products? The same applies for products made with soy which to the meat eater turned vegan gives the pleasure of tasting something similar in texture and taste. If you given up including diary products why is there a need to go looking for fake butter?

I particularly don't care what a vegan is eating or not eating but I abhor the rise in over processed so called vegan foods which is most cases are harmful to the environment and health than just eating the real thing. I am particularly alarmed at the variation of soy products that seem to pack the food aisles whose claim to fame is that they are all vegan products.

A lot of vegan food blogs also promote these over processed foods as substitutes for meat products. I know I am stepping into a mine field when I am talking about vegan and vegan substitutes. I needed to talk about this because vegan does not necessarily mean a healthier life style!

If you are practicing vegan and still reading and not fuming please give your perspective on these so called vegan processed foods.

Now onto this truly vegan recipe which uses whole grains. Did you know coconut oil is making a comeback as an alternative baking. Read this article in the NY Times,
From Villain to Health Food.

I usually make chola dosai using this recipe. I changed this around a little bit added ragi to the mix increased the amount of urad dal and like this recipe better. There is no need to ferment the batter just soak the grains over night.

Tomato Cholam Ragi Dosai
1. 1 Cup Cholam (Pearl Millet)
2. 1 Cup Ragi (Finger Millet)
3. 1 Cup whole urad dal
4. 2 tomatoes
5. 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp pepper corn + 1 small piece of asfoetida + 4 red chilies + handful of curry leaves
6. salt to taste

1. Soak the ragi, cholam and urad dal for 8-10 hours
2. Blend the urad dal first remove and then blend the soaked cholam and ragi to a smooth batter
3. Towards the end add the chopped tomatoes and the cumin, pepper corn, asfoetida, curry leaves and red chilies and let them also blend
4. Add salt. Add just enough water for a pourable consistency
5. Heat a dosai pan or griddle add a laddle of batter and spread like you would dosai, spread or spray oil on the edges. Cook till the edges turn brown, flip and cook on the other side

Serve with any chutney of choice.


  1. Food for thought indeed....I used to wonder about the fake meat as well, but I guess it is a way to counter the craving for the texture and consistence which people may be missing...I barely like the soya nuggets - nutrela- too much so I wonder if I would have liked the other stuff..BUT then I am a recent non vegetarian and not habituated, so may not make that much difference to me

  2. First "most Indians ... eat chicken, fish, lamb or goat occasionally" -- this is not necessarily true of all Indians. Most people from the region of Bengal eat fish every day, twice a day for 50% of them. Meat as you said is once a week or so.And strangely this is not true for only the middle class. While growing up, I have known house helps following a similar fishy rule at their home too.

    About the different movements, I really do not have any strong opinion except that in all my years in the US I continuously see the rise and fall of different kind of food habits(grain, no-grain, vegan, ovo, lacto,only meat and the works). Nothing seems to stick for long either. Whatever is the current in-thing takes the market like a rage.While some people might have a valid reason to follow a certain diet, others just do it because it is in vogue.The companies of course want to cash-in on anything the customers are into.

    I think when people/country have the money to meet their basic needs and food for sustenance is not really an issue, food and eating takes in a whole new avatar.

  3. Interesting and yum ...looks gud

  4. Indo.. I just got 2 boxes of Garden Burger..

    Ok point taken though.. I'll keep the burgers for backup and make dosa now. :)

  5. Wat a healthy dosai, am yet to get the millet grains from Indian groceries, its quite hard here..

  6. platter looks yum,..even i come in flexitarian group,..:-)

  7. Your post struck a chord when you said why do you look for fake alternatives when you've given up the real thing? When I was younger, I used to find it jarring that vegetarians could wrinkle their noses at meat but would go want to eat mushroom and soya nuggest because they are supposed to be just like meat. But I don't feel so strongly about it now - if I gave up meat, I'm sure I'd look for something to approximate it. What used to get to me was the judgmental tone.

  8. Sandeepa, I corrected the sentence to say most Indians I know.

  9. Oh, and I must say though that though I eat meat, I love morningstar farms and it's veggies burgers etc. ;-)
    Must see the ingred list. Just thought it was better 'coz it was veggie :-D

  10. wow, love the idea of mixing tomato with it.

  11. Sandeepa, I use frozen veggie patties all the time and also chicken meat balls and falafel balls as well.

    What I am unhappy about is the use of soy to create franken food. Especially those made to imitate meat.

  12. Sra, you put your finger on the right thing. Yes the morally superior attitude is what gets me. Then if sacrifice is made for a reason why look for an alternative to replace what was sacrificed?

  13. Looks very delicious...Your have nice and lovely blog...Please visit my blog when you have time...

  14. It completely irritates me when the food shows use tonnes of mushrooms or soy products when making a veggie dish. The heath food stores have ever expanding aisles of food dedicated to soy products and fake meats.

    Its probably a good transition product for ex-meat eaters aka nicotine gum/pills. But for those who have always enjoyed a meatless diet or intend to make it a life long commitment its just not good. I tried one of those fake products once but it just put me off because the texture was unlike anything I've eaten. I have to admit to using TVP, but its rare and more for the extra protein rather than flavor/texture.

    I don't eat meat, and don't really like mushrooms either (the texture & allergic to few), and eating at restaurants becomes awkward. I have to tell them no meat, no seafood, no eggs, no mushrooms. It just makes me look like a picky eater!

    Agree to Sandeepa's last point too, when basic food needs are taken for granted, food fads take on a whole other dimension.

  15. Priya I hear you. A meat eater like me can't stand the texture of boca burgers and the imitation meat and what not. The problem seems to be the confusion with eating right and nutrition.

    Why did looking for vitamins and minerals in everything we eat become fashionable? Taste and a balanced meal of real food should be more important methinks.

    We should be afraid of the quantity of soy products we are eating. They are in almost all processed foods be it cookies or cakes and there is no need for this awful looking and tasting soy omitation meat products as well.


Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate you taking the time.
Comments embedded with links, spam and in poor taste will not be published.