Dosas For Dummies!


We love the crispy Indian Dosa and we want to have a go at a proper, full-monty fermentation – no tinkering around the edges for us, we want the real thing. These are also vegan and gluten free!

Fermentation takes time – we start our fermentation the day before we want to eat dosas. I started this at lunch time day 1, to eat for dinner day 2. The preparation is easy.

Dosas are usually eaten for breakfast in India but Westerners like them for dinner


The Dosa Batter

1 cup (180g) basmati rice

¼ cup (45g) urad dal (black split lentils)

Rinse basmati rice in a sieve. Put in a bowl and cover with 2 cups (280ml) cold water. Rinse the lentils and put in a cup and cover with cold water to 1cm over the lentils. Leave both to soak for several hours. Drain the rice. Place in a blender with ½ cup (120ml) water and blend to a smooth paste (about 4 minutes). Drain and rinse the lentils and add to the blender. Blend together for a further two minutes. Pour contents of blender into a bowl. Add ½ cup (120ml) water to blender, swill around and add to bowl. Cover with a tea cloth and leave until the next day. (Any left over batter can be stored in the fridge for a few days.)

Topping For Dosa

400g sweet potato – cut into small cubes, boiled and drainedIMG_6338

2 tablespoons canola oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

1 large onion, chopped

1 green capsicum/pepper, de-seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic – crushedIMG_6337

1 thumb tip size piece ginger, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon dry chili flakes

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt


This can be made ahead and re-heated when required. In a large wok or frying pan, heat canola oil and when hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds pop, after a minute or two, add onion and capsicum. Fry for a few minutes until onion starts to soften. Add crushed garlic and ginger, chili and garam masala. Fry for a few minutes more. Add sweet potato and salt, mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat.


Prepare Dosas

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Add ¼ teaspoon salt to dosa batter and stir. Heat a non stick frying pan with one teaspoon canola oil. Use a ladle or ¼ cup measure, pour batter into centre of pan and spread with a swirling action. As the dosa starts to cook and edges brown, ease away from the pan with spatula. I flipped mine – the real deal dosa cooks very hot on one side and filling is loaded while the dosa cooks. Mine’s a wimps dosa but it cooked well, had a fresh, crisp texture and tasted great. These are best eaten fresh. If you can keep frying dosa batter and keep adding filling, people will love your meal. A little coconut chutney or extra veggie curry is wonderful with this. A little plain yoghurt worked for me.



The Fuss About Fermentation

Pickles stall at the Krabi Markets, from Carol’s recent visit to Thailand

Is it a load of rot?!?  

Well to some extent it is.

Food spoilage can be the first stage of fermentation, for example, bacteria causing milk to sour. However, there is nothing haphazard about the many fermentation processes used in our food.

We often don’t even notice how the foods we eat have been altered by fermentation.

Obvious fermented foods are pickles, beer and bread, but cocoa beans for chocolate, leaves for tea, olives too, wouldn’t be the food we know without fermentation.

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Fermentation can:

Preserve foods – in acid or alcohol as in pickles and beverages

Develop flavours – in coffee beans and tea

Improve the digestibility – in sough dough fermentation alters the carbohydrate and protein, in yoghurt lactose has been converted to lactic acid

Reduce cooking time – fermented rice batters used for idli and dosa cook very quickly

Often the fermentation is over when we consume the food. The bread is baked and the yeast with it, or yeast in wine has turned the sugars in grape juice to alcohol, or the tea leaves are heated and dried or the sauerkraut is too acidic for the bacteria to thrive. Some fizzing drinks like beer are still active, some yoghurt has a live culture and there is a new zest for ancient fermented drinks like Kombucha. A great commercial opportunity has been sparked by this fermentation craze.

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Beyond this is our own gut flora and the balance of getting foods in our diet that encourage a healthy bacteria population to flourish and avoiding the foods that in sensitive people cause bloating and discomfort.

At Moodilicious, we’re going to report on the fact and have a go at some fermentation recipes of our own.

Stick with us if you want to see some fermentation fun!!!


Coconut Pancakes with Blueberries and Creme Fraiche (gluten free)


It’s Shrove Tuesday, a great excuse for yummy pancakes and they are pretty healthy. Those winter Olympic athletes could be having them for breakfast with bananas to get a low fat, high carb plus protein start to the day.  Here’s our delicious recipe to try with coconut flour which is gluten free, perfect for those of us who are gluten intolerant or sensitive or who just like the coconut flavour for something different.


½ cup (20g) coconut flour

¾ cup (95g) gluten-free plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 egg

1 cup (240ml) milk

Small handful of blueberries

Dollop of crème fraiche


Sieve dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Whisk 1 egg with milk and add to flours. Mix well. Spoon dollops of batter into buttered hot frying pan. Spread a little, turn after a few  minutes. Serve warm with blueberries and crème fraiche.

Enjoy for breakfast or a delicious dessert or snack.


Moodilicious Christmas Cake ….simple to make, delicious to eat!


400g sultanas
4 tablespoons brandy (or orange juice)IMG_20171211_153737873
200g self raising flour
1/2 a nutmeg finely grated
150g soft dark sugar
150g butter
200g walnuts, chopped apart from a few for decoration
200g glacier cherries
3 large eggs, beaten

Put the sultanas to soak in the brandy for a few hours.
Heat oven to 180 C
Line the base of a 20cm round, lose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper and butter.
Put the flour, nutmeg and sugar in a large mixing bowl, chop butter in to lumps and mix together using finger tips to produce a bread crumb consistency.
Add the soaked sultanas with any remaining liquid, walnuts (apart from a few for the top) cherries and beaten egg.
Carefully mix and combine.
Put the mixture in the cake tin, smooth to give a slight hollow in the middle. Arrange whole walnuts on the top. Wet finger tips with a little water and lightly dampen the cake surface to avoid it becoming too dry.
Place in the middle of the oven for half and hour.
Lower the temperature to 150 C, cook for a further hour.
Check after thirty minutes and if the top looks too brown, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper.
Use a fine skewer inserted deep into the cake to see if the mixture is cooked through. The skewer should be clean if the cake is cooked, allow a further 15 minutes and check again.
Leave in the tin to cool.
Remove when cold. Double-wrap in greaseproof paper and store in a cool, dry place.





Pumpkin Scones


These delicious scones are remarkably light and fluffy.

Like all scones, they are best eaten the day they are made, but freeze well and liven up with a little warming when thawed.


Makes 8 large scones or more little ones

250g pumpkin

40g butter

75g/ 1/3 cup castor sugar

300g/2 cups self-raising flour

1/3 nutmeg finely grated or ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg, gently whisked

Milk for brushing

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds for sprinkling.


Heat oven to 180 C, line baking tray with greaseproof or baking paper.

Boil the pumpkin for 15 minutes, drain well and place on a double layer of absorbent kitchen paper to cool and remove excess fluid.

Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.

Add egg, beat well.

In a small bowl, mash pumpkin with a fork.

Combine pumpkin with mixture, fold in flour.

Turn dough onto floured surface and gently mould with rolling pin to give a layer 2cm thick.fullsizeoutput_23fc

Cut disks using pastry cutter or small wine glass, arrange on lined baking tray.

Re-mould and cut left over pieces.

Brush surface with a little milk and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Bake in centre of oven for 15 minutes


Cool on rack. Serve buttered with jam.



The Tastiest Pumpkins

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Tastiness isn’t always our first concern with pumpkins.

Ornamental appearance such as quirky shapes, nobbliness or shear size are often the feature most apparent in a pumpkin.

As we approach Halloween, ease of carving scary faces is vital. Howden pumpkins are the best for carving and were developed by John Howden in his backyard garden in Massachusetts in the 1960s. They have become the classic jack-o’-lantern pumpkin. These are the pumpkins that you most often see offered for sale in stores. The fruit is deep orange and ribbed and can weigh up to 30 pounds.



Bland flavour, fibrous flesh and tough outer skins are off-putting and the requirement for sweetness has dominated mass pumpkin production. However cooks and vegetable growers have long enjoyed the huge range of flavoursome pumpkin varieties.


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There are so many varieties as seen by the images above including the brilliant orange Uchiki kuri, the green Buttercup and the sweet and nutty Butternut pumpkin. All delicious and versatile in soups, scones or roasted.


Nutrition Knowledge:

Being 92% water, pumpkins will never get labelled as super foods, but they do have a few useful qualities. That bright orange flesh is a clue to the carotenoids present, a 100g portion of pumpkin provides almost twice our daily requirement for vitamin A. They have a little vitamin C and folate, but not much protein, so we need to add other ingredients with extra nourishment to our pumpkin recipes.


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However – the seeds are a different story. A rounded tablespoon of whole roasted pumpkin seeds has about 5g protein, 5g dietary fibre and a little iron. A generous sprinkling of the seeds over our pumpkin salad or scones will make a big impact on the nutritional quality.

Sunflower Seeds – sunny bright flowers morphed into nutritious treats!


I’m in Northern Spain and September is harvest time for sunflowers. These nutritious treats are ubiquitous, munched at half time at the soccer, on loaves, in muesli. Tree nuts can be costly but tiny sunflower seeds are equally nutritious and very cheap.

IMG_20170911_124516560 copyFrom Sunflower to Food – what happens?

The salted sunflower snack that we crack open to eat the seed is usually prepared by soaking or boiling the seeds in salted water then roasting them. Although the seeds are high in calories, these are slow to eat and so long as the salt level isn’t high, we get a nutritious snack.

Whole seeds are mashed and processed to extract the oil – more on sunflower oil later.



Lots of calories but what about nutrients?IMG_0976

A 30g serve of sunflower seeds contains around:


6g protein

16g fat – 6g mono-unsaturates, mostly oleic 7g poly-unsaturates, mostly linoleic

3g fibre

Around half our daily requirement for vitamin E – 10.6mg

A little calcium and iron, B vitamins and Vitamin A

Plus squalene and sterols both of which are associated with a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease.

The raw seed is low in sodium


How About Cooking with sunflower oil?

On the face of it, sunflower oil looks good, excellent mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids, and a high smoking point (225). Oils like olive oil and butter have much lower smoking points which made them seem unsuitable for frying – but now we know better. Sunflower oil is great raw, but as with corn oil, at high temperatures they produce aldehydes which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Canola oil is a better choice for frying.

For more on this: