Entries from July 26th, 2013

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

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26.7.13

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

I am still sticking to my rule of eating greens everyday.  I am convinced that it’s the best way for me as a vegetarian to get all the nutrition I need right now. While some days I make an elaborate curry with lots of greens or a ‘Palya’, a South Indian style stir-fry, on other days I try to include greens in the form of sauces, chutneys and spiced powders.

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

Initially I found myself struggling for time and motivation. As you all know, cleaning and prepping greens (especially the regional wild varieties) take a lot of time.  The ones I buy form my Organic store or from the local street vendors come with a truckload of mud and dust. I would spend hours in the evening to just get my greens ready to cook the next day. I wondered if I would be able to manage this throughout my pregnancy. I realized why people resort to popping pills instead of striving to get all their nutritional needs through food. But then I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I stated thinking of new ways to consume my greens. Some of my favorite ways have been in the forms of dips, chutneys and preserves! A bottle full of  ‘Gongura Chutney’ (Red Sorrel Leaves Chutney) or ‘Karibevu Chutney Pudi’ (Curry Leaves Chutney Powder) can give you your daily dose of greens on those days when you are too busy to cook. All those recipes, which use greens or herbs and have a long shelf life, are your best friends! If you spend a couple of hours making this every week, you can have at least one serving of it every day.

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, do not under estimate your local greens and herbs! They are often more nutritious than the commercially grown green vegetables. One such humble plant of our backyard, which is a nutritional powerhouse, is ‘Moringa’, ‘Drumstick’ or ‘Nugge’.

I have been cooking and eating moringa leaves for many years now. I absolutely love the flavor of these greens. I didn’t cook them often enough mainly because of how time consuming they are to clean and cook. But once I learnt more about them I realized that they are completely worth the time spent! After reading this post I am sure even your will change your mind!

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

Moringa oleifera is a potent superfood with a uniquely balanced combination of vitamins, minerals, complete protein, and powerful antioxidants. According to some studies that have been conducted on the nutritional content of moringa oleifera, it is the most nutritious plant ever studied on the planet.

Moringa is most well known for having more vitamins and minerals per by weight than many other nutritious foods that are well known to provide an abundance of specific nutrients.

These include:

  • More calcium than is found in milk
  • More Vitamin A than is found in carrots
  • More Vitamin C than is found in oranges
  • More potassium than is found in bananas
  • More iron than is found in spinach

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

In addition to vitamins and minerals, moringa oleifera is one of only a few important plant species on earth that provides a well-rounded blend of every essential amino acid required for to synthesize protein. The human body requires several specific amino acids, called essential amino acids, to form other amino acids, called non-essential amino acids, which together create protein, the substance that powers our bodies and enables us to stay healthy and strong.

Plant foods do not generally provide every essential amino acid, and so a plant-based diet must incorporate several different plants, each with different essential amino acids, in order to create a complete protein source. There are, however, a few notable exceptions, which are plants that do provide every essential amino acid and gives the body everything it needs to synthesize protein. Moringa oleifera is one such exception; it is perhaps the most notable exception, because moringa oleifera provides a healthy amount of every essential amino acid and is an amazing 20% protein by weight.

(Source)

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

While moringa pods or dumsticks are more popular, the amazing health benefits of moringa leaves were always recognized by local cultures and regional cuisines.  In Bangalore region moringa Leaves are fed to lactating mothers as it’s known to increase your milk supply. Most people in villages eat moringa leaves at least once a week. Tender greens are added to cooked lentils and spiced soups at the end to consume it without overly cooking it. They are added to dosas or breakfast crepes. They are stir-fried with other vegetables and beans to make a delicious side dish.

Moringa leaves taste delicious in all of the above mentioned recipes but one of my favorite ways to eat it is in the form of this mouth watering ‘Kara Rotti’ or ‘Spicy Pancakes’. This recipe is not one of the most common ways moringa leaves are used but this is how my mom always prepared them. They are Vegan, Gluten Free and needless to say very healthy.

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

Unlike most ‘rotti’ or ‘pancakes’, these are not served for breakfast or as a snack. Instead they are made hot and spicy and served as an accompaniment along with your meal. Of course you can make it milder and serve as breakfast too.

Thick rice and chili batter with greens is spread into small circles on top of fresh banana leaves and then pan fried with coconut oil. These spicy rotti or pancakes are soft with crispy edges. We always loved to eat these along with hot rosametta rice and ghee.

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

Notes

You can use any greens instead of Moringa leaves to make this spicy pancake.

Reduce the number of chilies to skip them completely to serve them by themselves as a meal along with some dip or sauce.

Instead of soaking and grinding rice you can use rice flour to make these pancakes in minutes. There will be a difference in taste but it’s still delicious.

Asafetida or hing has a very strong flavor, leave it out if you are not used to it.

Using banana leaves to make these rottis/pancakes, results in a very unique flavor. If you don’t have access to fresh banana leaves, you can use silver foil instead. You can also add water to make the batter a little more watery and pour them on the pan just like making pancakes.

Coconut oil is the preferred oil in this recipe but any other oil will work fine.

Instead of making them into rottis/pancakes, you can also just drop spoonful of them into hot oil and deep-fry them like fritters.

 

Nugge Soppu Kara Rotti – Spicy Moringa Leaves Pancakes (Gluten Free + Vegan)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 8-10 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp asafetida
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of fresh moringa Leaves
  • Coconut oil to panfry
  • 5-6 pieces of green banana leaves.

Soak the rice in water for 1 to 2 hours.

To clean and prep the moringa leaves, separate each one of the leaves from the stalk. This can be a time consuming task but it makes all the difference in the final dish. Once all the leaves are separated, wash it well and drain completely.

Drain all the water from the rice and grind it into a smooth paste along with dry red chilies, salt and asafetida with as little water as possible. Consistency of the batter should be much thicker than the pancake batter.

Mix the greens with the rice batter. Add a little bit of water if you find it too thick. Remember it should be spreadable on a piece of leaf and not be runny.

Heat the griddle and grease it with some coconut oil. Spread the batter on the banana leaf into a small ½ cm thick pancake. Place it on the hot griddle, leaf side up. As the rotti is being cooked, banana leaf will start to wilt and separate from the rotti. Peal the leaf and pour ½ tsp of coconut oil over it. Turn it over and cook for a few more minutes. If the rotti starts to look dry, pour some more oil to keep it moist and soft. Rotti is ready when it’s slightly crispy with brown patches on top.

Serve hot.

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