Nilgiri’s Masala Dosai

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Peoples, this is really cool: I have Nilgiri’s masala dosai recipe for you, with courtesy of Ajoy Joshi. Ajoy was kind enough to give me permission to publish his own recipe here. Although we tried dosais at other restaurants including some authentic ones both in Australia and in India, we still think that Nilgiri’s dosais are the BEST. We love them so much even Dad started making them at home after taking one of Ajoy’s cooking classes a few years ago.

But first things first, let me begin by telling you what dosais are: They are thin, crisp on the outside, moist on the inside crepes made out of rice and black lentil flour. Although, there are some plain varieties, these ones are rolled and stuffed with spiced potatoes with mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves and traditionally served with sambhar (lentil broth) and coconut chutney.

It’s a lot of work to make dosais but if you think it’s too much hassle to make your own, masala dosai is on both Nilgiri’s and Tellicherry’s menus. For those of you who would like a little bit of challenge, here’s the recipes:

Dosais

Ingredients:
3 parts medium to coarse rice flour
1 part split black lentil flour
Water for the batter
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil (for vegan version) or Ghee (clarified butter), to pan-fry the dosai

Method:
• Mix the rice and lentil flours with just enough cold water to form o thick fine paste.
• Add salt to taste and leave the batter in a warm place overnight to ferment.
• Mix the batter thoroughly the next morning.
• Heat the griddle till it is hot.
• Pour a ladle of the batter in the centre of the griddle and spread evenly in concentric circles till it reaches the edges of the griddle.
• Baste the dosai with ghee or oil and cook on medium heat till the dosai is golden brown.
• Place a filling of your choice in the centre of the dosai and roll or fold as desired.
• Serve hot with fresh coconut chutney and sambhar.

Potato Pallya (Masala for Dosai)

Ingredients:
20-25 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp split chickpea lentils
1 tbsp split black lentils
4-5 whole dry red chillies
¼ tsp asafoetida powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
2 medium-sized onions, sliced
Salt to taste
1 kg potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
½ bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method:
• Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan.
• Add the black mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
• Immediately add the two lentils and cook on a medium heat stirring constantly, till the lentils turn a light golden in colour.
• Add the whole dry chillies and the asafoetida powder and cook for a few moments.
• Add the turmeric powder and the fresh curry leaves and cook for a few moments.
• Add the sliced onions and salt and cook till the onions turn translucent.
• Add the roughly mashed potatoes and mix well.
• Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes and check the seasoning.
• Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and use as a filling in the ‘Masala Dosai’.

Sambhar

Ingredients:
300 gr yellow lentils or toor dal
1 tsp turmeric
500 gr tomatoes, quartered
3 medium-sized onions, diced
2 tbsp Nilgiri’s Sambhar Powder
½ tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Salt to taste
½ bunch Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method:
• Cook the lentils with the turmeric in approximately 2 litres of water till soft and mushy.
• Add the tomatoes and the onions and cook further till they are soft.
• Add Nilgiri’s Sambhar Powder, tamarind concentrate, fresh curry leaves and salt to taste and bring to a boil.
• Check the seasoning, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

Nilgiri’s Sunday Buffet

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Let me tell you, Nilgiri’s Sunday Buffet is another kind of feast. Every Sunday this all-you-can-eat buffet serves an incredible variety of dishes. Some of the foods are like breads and masala dosai are even cooked in front of you. Especially those flying rotis are a must see when they happen.

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Menu for Sunday Buffet changes every month, focusing on a different region, community or different style of cooking. It is an incredible opportunity to try interesting dishes. However, sometimes the theme is based on a traditional festival, like Diwali (the festival of lights).

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Prices for Sunday Buffet:
$37.50 per adult
$3.00 per year of child for children between 3 & 11 years of age (both inclusive)
Children under three years are free.

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Diwali desserts from Nilgiri’s.

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Nilgiri’s
Fully licenced and BYO (bottled wine only)
Address: 82 Christie Street St Leonards 2065 NSW
Website: www.nilgiris.com.au
Phone: (02) 9966 0636

Breaded Cauliflower with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Chilli Dressing

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Can deep fried food be light and fluffy? With the help of right ingredients, the answer is yes. The “right” ingredients here are lemon juice and Pellegrino or any mineral water. Somehow, they add this lightness to a breaded and deep fried cauliflower or any other vegetable without the unbearableness. I hope you know which book/movie I’m referring to…

This recipe is originally vegetarian and it has become one of Dad’s favourite dishes during his trip to Sydney. The trick here is adding lemon juice to boiling water to blanch the cauliflower. This way, you don’t stink up the kitchen with that sulphurous smell and you keep white colour of cauliflower white, too.

Here’s the recipe:

Breaded Cauliflower with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Chilli Dressing
Ingredients:

1 medium sized cauliflower, broken into florets
Juice of ½ lemon
Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Batter:
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup Pellegrino
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup plain flour
Bread crumbs (I use a Jewish brand which is the best I’ve tried so far: Solomon)
Salt and pepper

Garlic Yoghurt:
250 grams plain yoghurt (Greek style)
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
A little water in case yoghurt is too thick

Burnt Chilli Dressing:
15 grams butter
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Method:
• Wash the cauliflower and break it into florets.
• Boil enough water. Add juice of ½ lemon. Drop the cauliflowers into the water and blanch for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop them from further cooking. Drain again and set aside.
• Heat the oil to 180 degrees C.
• To make the batter: mix together the flour, beaten eggs, lemon juice and Pellegrino. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until it is smooth.
• To make garlic yoghurt: mix together crushed garlic and yoghurt and add water if necessary (it should be runny but not too watery). Set aside.
• Drop blanched florets into batter first. Allow any excess to drip off and then roll into bread crumbs.
• Deep fry all of the breaded cauliflower until golden brown and place on a large flat plate lined with kitchen paper. This’ll absorb excess oil.
• Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan and add the chilli flakes. Heat it until it is slightly smoky.
• Arrange deep-fried cauliflowers on a serving plate. Cover with garlic yoghurt and drizzle with burnt butter.
• Serve warm.

Tellicherry ‘Coastal Eats by Nilgiri’s’ Neutral Bay, Sydney

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Named after famous Tellicherry pepper, this tiny little boutique place is actually Nilgiri’s sister restaurant. When Ajoy told us he was planning on opening a new, boutique restaurant in Sydney we were absolutely overjoyed. As we all know, if Ajoy does it, he does it spectacularly. What we didn’t know at the time, though, that it was going to be just around the corner from us!

This time around it’s coastal Indian food. Our first impression: all fish and seafood, not for us. But, that’s not the case at all. Especially, when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food. Tellicherry actually has some interesting and authentic dishes on their menu. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are marked with a V or a VG. Original names are used along with their descriptions in English. We so love the place, we bought the same plates for our home!

We were, of course, invited to Tellicherry’s opening night and here’s what we had:

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Cocktail Sanaas (above) steamed rice dumplings, coconut & coriander dust, tomato rasam.

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Kaaju Parippu Vade (above) cashew, ground chickpea, cumin and coriander fritters.

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Gobhi Kempe Bezule (above) batter fried cauliflower, black mustard tempered yoghurt.

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Brinjal Aviyal (above) stuffed baby eggplant in seasoned yoghurt with mustard and curryleaf ‘baghaar’

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Ladyfinger Ambotik (above) okra in a sweet, sour and hot ‘chutney’

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Sago Pradhaman with dryfruit (above)

Tellicherry
Shop No 4, 260 Military Road, Neutral Bay 2089
Website: www.tellicherry.com.au
Phone: (02) 9953 7313
For bookings: bookings@tellicherry.com.au