Why Dosa & Idli are Considered Health Foods by Ayurveda
As more people transition towards vegetarian food options, vegan diet or healthy food choices, the restaurant industry is evolving to have a more inclusive menu. While many traditional cuisines are adapting towards the changed eating habits, south Indian food has always been quite versatile. The methods, processes and ingredients involved in it, yield so many benefits that Ayurveda regards it as one of the health foods to include in your diet. A typical South Indian restaurant near me offers an array of choices for vegan or vegetarian foodies - ‘Avial’, ‘Masala dosa’ and ‘Idli Sambhar’.
Committing to new lifestyles does not always mean you have to eat new foods and quit traditional cuisine. Any drastic change can have unwanted effects on the body and a balanced diet is always a necessity for nutrition. South Indian food is known to balance nutrition and appetite, as well as improve digestion. This is the reason behind its popularity across the globe.
Ayurveda explains how an individual’s connection between the elements of life, food and body help his revival and recuperation. Food plays an important role in maintaining physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Hence eating healthy is inevitable. And quite accessible these days since diners are spoilt for choice at South Indian restaurants in cities like Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Denmark and more.
Dosa as a Health food
Dosa is a South Indian dish made from the batter of rice and black gram lentil (urad). It uses fenugreek seeds (methi) for fermentation and is prepared by spreading the batter to a thin layer on a tawa or pan. The volume of batter almost doubles because of fermentation and this greatly improves the nutritional value with an increase in the protein content too. Dosa is seasoned with spices such as ginger and onion, thus improving the digestive quality.
Dosa is then served with a spiced potato filling (masala dosa) or other fillings like Chinese style spring vegetables (schezwan dosa) or paneer. With a side of sambhar (spicy lentil curry) and coconut chutney, this is a pretty balanced dish and full of flavours. It can be enjoyed with curry too.
Due to its rich nutritional qualities, it is recommended as a breakfast food to both, children and elders.
Idli as a Health Food
When I tried idli for the very first time at a South Indian restaurant near me, I was amazed at how such a humble looking dish can be so intense in taste. Idli is like mini white fluffy pancakes served with sambhar and coconut chutney. These round delicacies are also made with a batter primarily composed of rice and black gram lentil. This combination of rice and lentils provides a mix natural flora required for fermentation. The black gram is the main substance on which the fermentation enzymes act and improve the nutritional and protein value of idli.
The whole objective of this process is leavening – to make the batter rise. The major microbes involved are the lactic acid bacterium and lactobacillus mesenteroides. Additionally, probiotic organisms like lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus lactis are present in idli and dosa batter. They improve the digestive efficiency, gut health and production of vit. B12.
Idli being a steamed food is made with little to no oil. It is an excellent breakfast option for all age groups as it is easy on the stomach. Served usually as a classic variety, idli is also available in interesting options such as Kaima idli, Podi idli, Masala Idly, Schezwan Idli etc at many South Indian restaurants in Berlin.