Susila Dharma USA (SD-USA) has responded to an appeal made by Susila Dharma International (SDIA) to donate $3000 to help cover travel expenses for some of the founders and leaders of Susila Dharma projects in less developed countries who cannot afford to attend the Subud World Congress in Puebla, Mexico.
These project founders and leaders have a unique contribution to make at the World Congress and Several of them can barely meet the costs of daily living, let alone pay travel expenses to Mexico. SD-USA is appealing to Subud members who are moved to help these inspired leaders share their humanitarian projects with us at Puebla.
You can contribute online at SusilaDharmaUSA.org/donate or write a check made out to SD-USA and earmarked, SD Project Leader Travel Fund and mail it to:
Rifka Several — SD-USA Administrative Assistant 50616 Highway 245 Badger, CA 93603
Only funds earmarked for this Travel Fund will be passed on to SDIA.Thank you for helping SD project leaders!
In Kerala, in southern India, they make a batter from rice and urad dal, a variety of pulse similar in size to a lentil, that is used for a variety of pancakes and also in a kind of steamed dumpling called idli. This batter is generally known as Dosa Batter or Idli Batter.
The most common grain used is rice. There is a special rice, known as dosa rice, that is quite expensive, but Jasmine rice, or any medium grain rice works quite well. Ragi (RA-ghee), or in English, black gram, often replaces the rice. Historically, ragi was considered to be a food of the poor, something to serve to workers but not to the upper class; however, there is a vibrant interest in nutrition in India and the health benefits of ragi are making it more popular among educated people nowadays. It is a bit like the difference between white bread and whole-grain rye bread in Europe. The oils in ragi go rancid quickly, so it should be stored in your refrigerator or freezer if you are not going to use it for within a month or so of purchase. All of the ingredients you will need can be found in the Indian groceries that have been springing up all over the Boston area in recent years.
The proportions are always 3 parts grain to 1 part urad dal. You can expand this to any amount.
3 cups rice or ragi
1 cup urad dal
Water for soaking
3/4 teaspoons Fenugreek seeds (called mehti — some recipes use as much as 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Vegetable oil or ghee to dribble over the dosai while they cook
Soak the grain and the urad dal overnight in separate containers, — 3 parts of grain in one jar and one part urad dal in the other. Add the fenugreek seeds to the container with the rice. After soaking, the ingredients must be ground. The result will be a batter that is about the consistency of regular pancake batter, but will feel a bit gritty. There are special grinders available for grinding dosa batter, but I have found that a blender works quite well. The rice and the dal should be ground separately and before they are combined because they require different amounts of grinding to get to the proper consistency.
Start with the rice. Put all the water and the rice in the blender or, if you are making a lot, do it in two batches. The blender should not be more than two thirds full. Before switching on the blender, pour off excess water. The water should be just a little higher than the level of the rice (you can add water later, if the batter is to thick). Put a cloth or paper towel over the top of the blender and hold the cover down with your hand while turning it on. This will prevent the contents from exploding out the top on the first burst of the blender! Once the blender is going this is not a problem.
When the rice is all ground, put it in a bowl or other container. Now repeat the grinding process with the urad dal. Combine the dal with the rice and stir them together.
Cover the batter and let it rest in a warm place to ferment for at least six hours to ferment. The fermentation is the result of natural yeasts found on the surface of both the grain (rice or ragi) and the dal. I find that in cool weather 6 hours is not enough and I have to leave the batter to ferment for as much as 12 or 14 hours. You will know the batter is ready when it shows bubbles and a bit of froth at the top. At this point you can use the batter or store it in the refrigerator for as much as three days. If you have old batter you can use it as a starter for a new batch by mixing the old and the new together. This will make the fermentation process go quicker.
When the batter is ready for use, stir in the salt. Don’t add the salt in the beginning because it retards the fermentation.
I have posted the recipes that use this batter separately…
Photo by Achana Tilala. Click on image to visit the web page.
Dosai (plural of dosa) themselves are large, crêpe-like pancakes, very crispy. The ones served on the streets and in restaurants in India are probably the biggest pancakes in the world. Continue reading →
Appam can be made with dosa batter or with a batter made with only rice (see video below). There are three chief differences between dosa and appam. First, an appam is cooked in a round bottomed pan called an appa chatti rather than a on a griddle. If you don’t have one, you can use a wok or any round-bottomed pan. But, no matter what pan you use, it should have a non-stick surface or be extremely well seasoned. This batter sticks to the pan like crazy. Second, an appam is not flipped, so the top remains white and soft. And, third, the batter for appam is a bit thinner than that used for dosa. Appam can be eaten plain with sambar and coconut chutney or with various spiced vegetable fillings. It is also eaten like a western pancake, with honey or sugar.
Add the coconut milk and soda to the dosa batter. This will thin the batter; however, if the batter still seems thick, thin it farther with a little water. The batter should have the consistency of heavy cream. Let this batter rest for 15 minutes before using it.
Heat the pan and put a film of oil on the surface with a paper towel or, as they do in India, cut an onion in half and use the cut surface to rub a very light skim of oil across the surface of the pan.
Ladle a puddle of batter into the center of the pan and tip the pan around until the batter has coated up the sides a little way.
Now let the pancake cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Because of the round bottom of the pan, the batter will puddle in the center. This causes the appam to be thick in the middle and thin at the edge.
The appam is ready when the bubbles in the middle don’t close back up and the pancake looks dry and cooked.
Loosen the edges with a knife or spatula and then take the appam out of the pan with your fingers.
Here is a pretty good demonstration of the technique, or anyhow, it’s a pretty funny video.
Subud Washington DC has not only broken ground, but their new Subud House is well on it’s way to completion. The secret to the speedy building process is prefabrication. The building was put together in a factory and then, once the foundations were in, the pieces were assembled in one day! Continue reading →
Suzanne Renna sent us a link to this video from the web site of Daily Good: News that Inspires. It is a wonderful speech by Pavithra Mehta about the way in which deeply felt generosity and giving can lead to sustainable prosperity and satisfaction… Continue reading →