How To Add Extra Fiber To Dosa And Idli Batter


Narinder Singh
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Dosa (thin crepe-like pancake) and idli (small rice cake) originated in South India and are now popular all over India and also in other parts of the world. These make for a tasty and wholesome meal and contain several nutrients. But, unfortunately, a lot of oil is used in the cooking of dosa and sambar. The other accompaniment, coconut chutney, is also very high in fat.

A typical plain dosa would contain about 17 grams of carbs, just 1 gram of dietary fiber, and who knows how much fat. On top of that, if you have plain dosa with coconut chutney and eat more than one dosa at a time, you will end up consuming fat equal to the RDA of a few days in just one meal. The same is true about idli.

I have been wondering if there can be a way to make dosa and idli healthier.

The easiest way is to reduce the amount of oil used in cooking and eating less coconut chutney. However, both of these will impact the taste of the meal.

Another way is to add something to the dosa and idli batter to make them healthier. And here I have good news to share. It is not only possible to add more fiber and nutrition to your dosa/idli batter, but there is also the perfect way to do it.

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After researching and experimenting, I found three possible options: green moong for dosa and oats & chia seeds for both dosa and idli. Here is how it works.

Moong Dosa

You would know that green moong dosa, called pesarattu in Andhra / Telangana regions, is a recipe in itself. Pesarattu can be made with just moong dal, but you can add rice to make it crispy.

The thing is, pesarattu, although a healthier option, is not like regular dosa. Instead, it has a distinctive color and flavor.

Oats and Chia Seeds

This is the best option in my experience because oats and chia seeds do not alter the taste and texture of dosa or idli, provided they are added correctly.

In addition, oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which is believed to lower cholesterol by preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Chia seeds contain a huge amount of nutrients but only a small number of calories. So these tiny seeds are actually fit to be called a superfood.

How I Add Oats and Chia Seeds To Dosa And Idli Batter

Initially, I made the mistake of adding oats and chia seeds to the batter at the time of grinding. But that somehow interfered with the fermenting of the batter, and it did not come out perfect.

Now I add chia seeds and oats once the batter is all fermented and ready. I soak both of these healthy ingredients together in plain water for 1 hour and then mix them into the fermented batter. It does not affect the taste or texture of my dosa or idli, and still, both become healthier.

How Much of Oats and Chia Seeds To Add

Typically, dosa/idli batter contains rice and lentils in the ratio of 2:1. How much oats and chia seeds you can add to the mix is actually a matter of trial and error. You don’t want to add too much. I use two tablespoons of oats and one teaspoon of chia seeds in the batter that I make using two cups of rice and one cup of urad, and it works well.

No matter how much oats and/or chia seeds you decide to use, it is for certain that you will feel good about having made your dosa and idli heart-friendly for your family.

Please see my other South Indian Food Articles.

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