EatWriteRetreat Recipe Contest - Farro Dosa w/ Curried Chicken Salad

“Farro oh Farro
What are you,
A grain of sorts
Nutty, with a chew.
Great in salads
Forget boring ol’ rice,
Adds a zing to soups,
For a healthier bite.
But what about food
Indian, with some spice,
Can you be versatile
To grab the prize?
Soaked & ground
You mingle and meet
Lentils, chili & others
For a delicious treat.
With a kick of curry
Oh, what a steal,
You’re truly transformed
Into a pancake meal!
Passing the test
You’re a friend new,
Now just make me win
Pretty, will you?”

A short video to start your experience. Did you enjoy it? (I can't figure out why it shows up twice though!)

I usually don't write a story to go with my recipe posts as I believe that poetry and pics can achieve that which words never can. However, since this is an entry post for the Eat Write Retreat recipe contest, I thought I should talk about the inspiration behind the dish.

When I first tasted the Tuscan Fields farro, it reminded me a little of brown rice, yet had a nutty grain or lentil like texture to it. So I decided to re-create something that uses both rice & lentils. That was just the beginning. As I pondered over various dishes I have made, I resolved that I wanted the final result to possess 4 main attributes:
1) Be inspired from an Indian dish (staying close to my roots!)
2) Be creative - well, because that's what I do.
3) Have an element of fusion cuisine.
4) Be bite size, to honor & respect my (very new!) business focusing on Indian Tapas.

That's it. With those elements in mind I got started, and it wasn't long before I came up with this! (I actually tried only 1 other dish, which is posted HERE). Well, I lie. I also did try farro with indian curry, and it was absolutely divine! But being Indian, it was too simple to enter that in this contest. And i'm a bit of a perfectionist!

Anyway, back to my dish. Dosas are a popular South Indian snack/breakfast dish and are essentially pancakes made of a rice-lentil  batter blend, and eaten with a variety of chutneys or lentil curry. Traditionally you would need to not only soak the grains overnight, but also ferment the batter before you can partake some of the crisp goodness (what people do for food eh!).  I, on the other hand, made my mini dosas from Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato and green lentils - soaked but not fermented. To complete the dish (the fusion) I served it with a cold yogurt based salad of curried chicken & Farro Alle Verdure. So what you see here really is Farro-on-Farro!

Enough said. I will finally let the recipe & the (many) pictures do the rest of the talking.

For the Dosa (makes around 20 mini dosas)
½ cup Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato (original/plain flavor)
½ cup green lentils (moong dal)
1 green chili (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking
For the Salad
½ pound chicken mince
¼ red onion, sliced lengthwise
½ cup thick yogurt
¼ cup Tuscan Fields Farro Alle Verdure (with garden vegetable)
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Make the salad
Cook the farro in ½ cup of salted water till al dente (mine took only 12-15 minutes). Drain and keep aside.
Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and cook till they splutter. Now add the onions and cook till they turn translucent and begin to brown. Stir in the chicken, all the dry spices and ¼ cup water and cook covered on medium heat till the chicken is fully cooked. Uncover, cook to dry any excess liquid and remove from heat to cool. In a bowl mix the cooled chicken, yogurt, farro, spring onion and fresh coriander. Adjust seasoning if required and mix well. Keep aside.
Make the Dosas
Soak the farro and green lentils overnight. Drain the water (keep aside) and blend together with the chili (if using) to a fine paste. Add some of the drained water if the mixture is too thick (it should be slightly thinner than a pancake batter). Mix in salt & pepper and keep aside for 10 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
Heat a non-stick skillet. Mix the batter well to remove any settled sediments, and add a tablespoon of the batter to the pan (without any oil or it wont spread evenly). In a clockwise motion, spread the batter to form a thin pancake. Put a few drops of oil on top and on the sides, and cook till the underside is cooked & crisp (approx 1 minute for the mini ones). Once done, flip and cook the other side for a couple of minutes, till slightly brown. Do this with all the batter. 

Remove from heat and serve fresh with the chicken salad. Best way to eat - put a little chicken salad in the centre of the dosa, roll it up and finish in two bites!

It was a gloomy day for pictures, but I hope I did these little fellas some foodly justice!

So, will I see you at Eat Write Retreat? Time will tell. And till then, someone has to do the hard task of eating these mini roll-ups! Who's joining me?