There are many different kinds of fermented foods, there is sourdough bread popular in many cultures ( the sourdough culture is passed on from one generation to the other !!!). There is naturally fermented pickles popular ones like saurkraut and Khimchi, then there are a variety of fermented dumplings and crepes from southern and coastal part of India. All the foods are sour but they are made so naturally and not because of added vinegar or yeast.
And off course not to forget our everyday natural, plain yoghurt. All these foods have a strong taste and smell so it is an acquired taste but the health benefits far outweigh everything else. I must say though I love them all be it my homemade yoghurt, saurkraut, khimchi or the Indian crepes called Dosas.
The crepe or the dosa that I have made today is made of lentils but tradionally not fermented. I improvised it by fermenting the traditional “Chilla batter” made by grinding yellow mung bean lentils to make it healthier and a great alternative for people wanting to avoid grains or eat high protein foods. Fermenting the batter makes it probiotic rich and also the taste has more depth and character to it.
In the above mentioned foods which have been fermented naturally, the natural bact- eria feed on the sugar and starch creating lactic acid and also in the process creating B- vitamins, beneficial enzymes and different strains of beneficial bacteria.
This process also makes food more digestible and preserves nutrient. Studies have also shown not just better digestibility of fermented foods but also immune boosting properties of these foods.
in short fermented foods improve digestion, increase the nutrients, boost the immune system and to top it all up increase the shelf life.
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup yellow lentils ( mung bean split lentils)
1 hot green chill
1” piece of ginger
salt to taste
1. Thoroughly rinse the lentils few times till the water loses its milkiness.
2. Soak the lentils in water ( the quantity of water should be little more than the lentils so that lentils have enough water to soak in) for 6 – 8 hours.
3. Now grind the lentils with chill and ginger.
4. You should now have a thick, smooth and velvety textured batter.
5. Pour this batter in a big glass container or a mixing bowl and keep in a pre warmed ( not heated !!! ) oven overnight for 10 – 12 hours.
6. The bowl should be large enough so that there is rooom for the batter to rise which it will in warm tempererature ( with all the bacteria multiplying multiple times!!!)
7. Heat the oven at 375 degrees F for 3- 4 minutes and turn it off. Keep the batter in the heated oven and also turn on the pilot light at this time.
8. After keeping it overnight for 8- 10 hours you will see the batter would have risen to at least double its volume and be very airy and bubbly.
9. Heat a cast iron skillet or a non stick griddle. Meanwhile stir the batter well . It should be velvety smooth. You may have to add water if it is too thick but make sure it is not runny.
10. And put a spoon full of batter onto the heated griddle and spread the batter in a smooth and a swift manner in a circle as you would a pancake. Put a little ghee or a oil around the crepe.The heat should still be medium or medium low and not too hot.
11. At this point with a spatula lift one side of crepe to see if it has turned golden brown, if it has you can flip up it to cook it on the other side for another 30 seconds. ( you may cook it longer if you want it more crispy)
!2. The crepe is now ready. You can serve it with a green coriander chutney or a coconut chutney and a salad.
13. Enjoy!!! can be enjoyed for breakfast , lunch or dinner. This batter can be stored for 5- 6 days in the fridge.