Fermenting Grains and Beans

Lessons learned in my dosa-making adventures led to a recipe for beginners living in cold climates. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
When it’s midwinter and the fermentation bug hits you, where do you turn? The logical choice to expand beyond sourdough and cheese, and the perfect pairing with this month’s Indian-Inspired Sweet-and-Sour Potatoes and Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt, seemed to be dosas. But these thin, crisp rice-and-bean pancakes offered as many challenges as advantages in my Northern Rocky Mountain kitchen.

So what I offer this week are the lessons I learned as I began my dosa-making adventures, with big nods to fermentation expert Sandor Katz and writer and cook Chandra Padmanabhan. These lessons led to an Indian-inspired dosa recipe ideal for beginners living in cold climates, with plenty of ways to creep closer to the traditional texture and flavor as you become more confident in your dosa-making skills.
Learn to ferment grains and beans and make Red Lentil and Basmati Dosas

Spiced Shrimp

 By changing the tang, two similarly spiced dishes taste completely different yet complement each other beautifully. Get spiced shrimp recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Like last week’s spiced potatoes, shrimp play well with so many flavors—including Indian spices. You could simply turn that potato recipe into a shrimp dish, cooking the sauce first and adding the shrimp at the end. But if you want to serve shrimp and potatoes together, it’s more fun to vary the flavors.

I like to do that by changing the tang. Last week’s potato dish picks up tang from pickle brine, tomatoes, and as an optional bonus, tamarind. This week’s shrimp dish grabs it from yogurt. I get more flavor from homemade yogurt, but store-bought also works. With that flavor shift, you can rely on the same spice base. A little onion, garlic, and ginger just enhances the base.

In the end, two similarly spiced dishes taste completely different yet complement each other beautifully. The same concepts can be applied to many other spiced shrimp dishes, letting you use your pantry power to put sunshine on your table even when you’re snowed in.
Learn to make Indian-Inspired Shrimp in Yogurt and other variations

Spiced Potatoes

Potatoes readily absorb anything you add to them, making them perfect vehicles for all sorts of spices. Get potato recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
We grow and eat lots of potatoes, especially ones we’ve stored for winter: waxy reds and bright purples ideal for salads, starchier white varieties I use in gnocchi, and yellow potatoes that go into soups, curries, mashers—really, almost anything. Each variety tastes subtly different, but all readily absorb any flavor you add to them, making them perfect vehicles for all sorts of spices.

I often bring potatoes when teaching Twice as Tasty Indian Spices workshops, but we keep the workshop recipes simple so that the participants’ newly created spice blends can shine. At home, I sometimes reach for a homemade masala but just as often grab separate ground or whole spices. Because I’m generally rich in pickle brine, that often lands in my potato dishes for a sweet-and-sour effect. Keep reading after the recipe for more flavoring ideas.
Learn to make Indian-Inspired Sweet-and-Sour Potatoes and other variations

Pantry Power

Savor flavors from around the world right from your cupboards. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
February is always the test of my pantry’s power. How well did I plan for winter? Did I can enough jams, salsas, and sauces? Did I properly cure my potatoes, onions, and garlic so that they’re still edible? Did I freeze enough pesto, berries, and corn? Did I dry enough basil, oregano, and rosemary?

With some effort and some luck, all of the answers are yes and we’re eating well all month long and far into spring. When the stored and preserved harvest doesn’t taste quite as good as fresh off the vine, I make up the difference and then some from other shelves in my pantry: the ones with spices and condiments. With a bit of this and a dab of that, it’s possible to savor flavors from around the world right from your cupboards.
Read more about finding your pantry’s power