Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1001 South Indian Breads

South Indian Breads
The term 'bread' is used here to mean a staple food, cooked from flour, and is eaten everyday.

In the west, the majority of breads are baked from wheat dough. In South India, baking never took off and so most breads are pan fried or steamed. Instead of wheat, the staple cereal is rice and so, it is no surprise we find a variety of rice breads. Most South Indian breads use a combination of rice and lentils, thus meeting both carbohydrate and protein needs.

A word of warning : Despite their apparent simplicity, all these recipes take quite a bit of practice and perseverance to cook up.

South Indian breads fall into six categories :

1. Bread made from fermented rice batter : Aappam
2. Bread made from lentil batter : Pesarattu , Adai
3. Breads made from a fermented batter of rice and urad dal : Idli, Dosa, Uttappam, Paniyaram
4. Breads made from steamed rice / ragi flour : Puttu
5. Breads made from semi cooked rice flour dough : Pathiri / Ada / Akki roti / Kozhukattai
6. Breads made from Wheat dough - Parota

Detailed instructions and great photos here.

Any thick bread needs a leavening agent. The leavening agent fills the batter with gas, puffing it up from the inside, giving the bread a soft, fluffy texture. Without leavening, all we get on cooking is a hard , inedible mess. Wild yeast is the most common leavening agent used in South Indian breads. Leavening is not necessary for thin breads like dosa / pesarattu / pathiri , nor for flaky breads like parota. But without leavening, thick breads like Idli / Uttappam would be tough and chewy.

The hemispherical crepe, Aapam (Aa as in audience and pam as in pump) is cooked from a fermented batter of rice flour and water /coconut milk . These are cooked in a hemispherical pan ( wok). The batter is poured into the wok and swirled so that it coats the sides of the wok. Aapam has thin, lacy sides and a spongy base.
Aapam Video

Pesarattu is a type of dosa popular in Andhra pradesh which uses a batter made from soaked and ground green gram ( Mung dal).

Model Recipes
Indira's Pesarattu
Akshayapatram's MLA Pesarattu

When soaked mixed lentils and grains are ground to a coarse batter and cooked into thick rounds on a hot skillet, we get Adai. A variety of grain and lentil combinations are used to cook numerous varieties of adai.

Model Recipes

Vaishali's Adai
Quick and easy Adai
Shriya's Kara Adai

Idli, Dosa, Uttappam & Paniyaram
Idli, Dosa, Uttappam and Paniyaram share the same rice and urad dal batter. This batter is steamed to give Idlis. The same batter is spread into thin rounds on a hot skillet and cooked into crisp dosas. When the same batter is cooked into pancake sized thick discs on a hot skillet, it is called uttappam / kal dosai / Set Dosai. When pan fried in small hemispherical moulds, the same batter becomes paniyaram.

Model Recipes

Seema's Idlis
Indira's Andhra style rice grit idlis

Sweet Babe's Dosa

Prema's Uttappam

Cham's Paniyaram
Jayasree's Paniyaram

When rice or ragi flour is mixed with water and steamed, we get puttu. Special cylindrical moulds are packed with the flour and steamed. These are popular in rural Tamilnadu and Kerala.

Model Recipes
Saradha's Ragi Puttu
Lan's Puttu with a neat technique for keeping it soft.
The not so common Wheat flour Puttu

Pathiri / Ada / Kozhukattai
A variety of rice flour breads are popular in Kerala and Karnataka. Since rice flour does not have gluten, it cannot be kneaded into a dough like wheat flour. So the flour is mixed with boiling water, which cooks it partially into starch. Cooked starch becomes sticky. This sticky dough is shaped into thick or thin rounds, cooked on a skillet or steamed and are called pathiri / ada / akki roti. When shaped into dumplings, and stuffed with sweet / savoury fillings and steamed, these are caled Kozhukattai.

Model Recipes
Annita's Malabar Pathiri
Mallugirl's fluffy rice pathiri

Priya's Stuffed Ada

Surya's rice and wheat stuffed Ada

Ruchii's Akki Roti
Aayi's masala Akki Roti
Aparna's Akki Roti

Prema's Kozhukattai
Ammupatti's Kozhukattai video

Though wheat breads like chapati and poori have now become common in South India, they are yet to attain the status of 'traditional' fare. The only wheat bread which is considered traditional is the parota, made from all purpose flour. This thick, multilayered, crumbly bread is completely unlike any other north Indian bread. It is usually cooked on a skillet, but in some places it is deep fried. Layered like a pastry, it is mainly eaten at dinner.

Model Recipes
Annita's Parota
Renuka's Parotta with step by step photos

Unlike the breads listed above, which cut across regions and have their variants in more than one state, there are other delightful local breads like the multi layered wholewheat parotta found in Kerala ( Thanks Mallugirl !) or the Jonna Roti ( made from Jowar / Sorghum / Cholam ) popular in parts of Andhra / Karnataka. If you know of any other breads, would you please mail me / comment ?

This post is reposted for Aparna's Small Breads & Srivalli’s Roti Mela


Anonymous said...

Thanks Ramki for mentioning that you are goin to add the link of the adai on my blog. Your blog seems to be good. However, the I dint find the links for south-indian breads yet - probably you are still working on it.

Ramki said...

Oops.. must be a delay in publishing. It is there now. Thanks !

Madhu said...

I have set dosa recipe on my blog you can add that to your list of dosas if you like it.

shriya said...

Thanks for adding my recipe in your blog.

Vaishali said...

Ramki, Your blog's a good resource. Thanks for including my adai recipe.

mallugirl said...

Thanks for including my pathiri recipe..umm,, u left out a very common wheat porotta..triangular porotta in kerala is pretty common.
u have a wonderful idea going on here. glad to be part of it.

Ramki said...

Ruchi : Have added your Set Dosai.
Mallugirl : I stand corrected. Have included the wholewheat porotta.

/Thanks all for your comments !

jayasree said...

Thanks for adding my recipe in your blog. Idea behind ur blog is really nice. Glad that I could be a part of it. Shall come back again to look around ur blog.

renuka said...

Just visited your blog a good concept and thanks for including my recipe in your blog.Will continue my visits

LG said...

This is a good compilation Ramki :)

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

i am waiting for your instant dosa recipes!

Vishku said...

How to do puttu without puttu maker I went thru Chhenachaati Blog but my steamer container have bidg holes can I spread a muslin cloth and steam... I havent eaten nor seen real puttu except those photos on net am interested to try this please help...

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