What are fermented foods?
Fermentation is an age old preservation process used for meat, vegetables, milk etc to extend their shelf life in the absence of refrigerators. The process in which bacteria, fungi and yeast are introduced to any food or beverage naturally or through inoculation is termed as Fermentation. Consumption of fermented foods ensure presence of beneficial bacteria in our diet. Some of common fermented food items consumed by us on a daily basis are Chocolate, Cheese, Curd/ Yoghurt /Buttermilk, Wine, Beer, Vinegar, Pickles, Dal and Rice fermented batters, Soy sauce etc.
Importance of Fermented Food
- It enhances the body’s immune system and makes it less prone to diseases. They help in easy digestion and are also said to improve nutritional status in many diseases.
- Fermentation makes food more digestible as the good bacteria break down the food making them easier to digest.
- Process of fermentation also increases nutritional content in food.
- The probiotic bacteria present in fermented foods lead to a healthy gut, which contribute to healthy body and mind.
Disadvantages of Fermented Food
- Preserving foods results in high amounts of salts or vinegar, which makes fermented food ineffective and loses most of its nutrients and thus its nutritional value.
- Fermentation is slow and time consuming process.
- The byproducts of fermentation may turn poisonous if not fresh.
- Food which is fermented at home may have a risk of botulism contamination.
- Consumption of fermented foods can cause gas and acidity problems in many.
Fermented Ragi Dosa Recipe
Ragi / Nachni, is a millet grain and is used in making a number of healthy preparations as it’s a rich source of calcium and iron and is easily digestible and nutritious.
Soak 1 cup Rice, ½ cup Urad dal, ¼ cup Poha, 1 cup Ragi Flour, ¼ tsp methi seeds in water and let it rest overnight. Grind it all in a thick consistency batter and add 1 tsp of rock salt to it. Cover the batter and leave it to rest in a warm place for about 7-8 hours till it ferments. It will increase in volume.
Take a girdle and heat it, add little oil on it and then pour the fermented batter on it in circular motion. Cover it for 5 minutes and then flip on the other side till crisp. Serve it hot with coconut chutney.