Asking for MLA Pesarattu in a Chennai Hotel is like asking for the moon!!!! Pesarattu gives me a creative high and almost elevates my thinking! My trips to Tirupathi are incomplete without the pesarattu in Bhimas (near railway station) or Bhimas Residency on the highway. The best pesarattus are the ones made by my mother. She does a double pesarattu with the 'moodu mukkalu' (three pieces of onions, green chillies and ginger) sandwiched in between them. Veena maestro, late Sri. Emani Sankara Shasthri used to come home for dinner during his visits to Chennai (he was in AIR New Delhi those days) just to enjoy my mother's pesarattus! We would wind up by discussing veena and music after dinner, I was in my teens then! I even remember playing my guitar for him!
The other mouth-watering pesarattus I have tasted are in my in-laws' place in Guntur. Even the hotels in Guntur, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vizag, etc. offer the most delicious and spicy pesarattus! Whenever I am offered a concert in AP, I feel thrilled at the thought of pesarattu!
My experience with pesarattu in a well-known hotel in Chennai almost broke my heart. The weepy looking insipid attu (dosa) was abs. frustrating and I had never felt so let down in my life! I then told myself that it is better to live without something than to feel let down by the same!!!!!!!!!
After successfully giving up the thought and temptation of pesarattu, I got the most pleasant shock of my life yesterday in Sathyam Cinemas. Having booked tickets for "Avatar" (the movie was no great shakes), my husband and I walked into ID (idli-dosa) restuarant which is in the movie complex itself. I eyed the menu card that stated "pesarattu" doubtfully. I was worried about another disastrous experience as am unable to trust Chennai cooks where pesarattu is concerned. I refused to order and preferred watching my husband while he ate. I caught my breath in awe and wonder when the waiter placed not just pesarattu, but MLA pesarattu (pesarattu with upma stuffing along with the three pieces) on the table!!!!!! It smelled good too with its combination of ginger chutney (allappachchadi). I immediately ordered one more for myself. The taste was almost decent, a little too dry like Karnaranjani raaga (this is a raaga I am allergic to- almost gives me a skin rash!), there could have been more oil in the attu (dosa). Maybe they are cooking for weight-watchers! In any case it tasted LIKE a MLA pesarattu and that was all I wanted! The hitch is that unless we watch some dumb movie ( full of brainless prattle or violence, violence and more violence which I watch through my fingers!), we don't get to eat the MLA pesarattu( the restuarant is within the movie complex). With a li'l bit more oil in the pesarattu, the deal may not be so bad!!!!!
MLA Pesarattu recipe:-
Whole moong dhal-2 cups
Rice-1 or 1/2 cup (more of rice makes the pesarattu crispier)
Green chillies-5 or6
Salt to tase
1 chopped onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
Small piece of ginger, finely chopped
Chopped coriander (optional)
1 cup upma
1 tsp roasted cashew nuts
Method of preparation:- Soak moong dhal for 9 to 10 hours. Wash and drain them. In mixie or grinder add moong dhal, rice,cumin seeds, green chillies, ginger and salt.Add little water and grind the contents till it becomes a smooth paste.
For topping heat a frying pan adding 1 tsp oil to it. After the pan is heated add chopped onions, ginger and cumin seeds and finally finely chopped coriander leaves.Fry onions till they become golden brown.
Prepare upma separately and keep it aside.
Place a pan on the stove on a medium flame. Grease the pan with little oil and pour a ladle full of batter on to the pan and spread the batter into a thin, round layer, smooth a little oil around the edges. Put 2 tsps of upma in the middle of the attu (dosa). Add fried onion pieces and fried cashew nuts over the upma. Cover the pesarattu for 3 to 4 minutes and allow it to cook over a medium flame. Then fold the attu (dosa).
Place it on a serving plate along with ginger chutney and any other side dish you may desire.
Yummy MLA pesarattu is ready !!!!!!!!!!!