Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spicy Indian Pancakes (Uttapam)

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day and one that also proves to be both interesting and frustrating for me. Its not because of the lack of options - trust me, there are way too many options for breakfast where I come from. I just don't fancy spending a lot of time in the kitchen in the mornings. The easy part though if you are making a south Indian breakfast is that since almost everything requires a  batter that can either be made a day before or can be bought from an Indian store. Most stores carry freshly made Dosa/Idli/Uttapam batter. You could also use the same batter to prepare all 3 dishes - the difference being the consistency of the batter.

Many of you would be more familiar with 'Dosa' which is a thin Indian crepe. 'Uttapam' is more like a big pancake and you can add an assortment of veggies to it that's cooked right in the batter. You use the same batter that is used to make Dosas, just don't thin it out too much. The batter needs to be runny but thick. 

For the Batter:

3 cups dosa/idli rice
1 cup urad dal (white split lentils)
salt to taste

Soak the rice and dal separately first thing in the morning. Grind the rice and dal into a smooth paste adding little water. Let the batter sit in a warm place to ferment. I would normally prepare the batter late in the evening and let it stand in a warm place over night. Once the batter is ready thin it out a little with water if it is too thick. You don't want it to be too thick or too thin. 


1 small onion
3-4 green chili
coriander leaves
small piece of ginger
1 small tomato
red chili powder for garnish
vegetable or olive oil 

Finely chop all the veggies and mix them well in a bowl. Heat up a flat griddle on medium heat and dot it with some oil - a few drops spread around will do. Spoon a bid ladle of the batter on to the pan and spread it out a little. Be careful not to spread them too thin. While it cooks on one side, add the chopped veggies on top and add few drops of oil on top. Let it cook for a minute. If you lift the pancake up a little you will see that the underside has turned to a light brown. Carefully turn the pancake over and cook the side with the veggies - about another minute.

Transfer on to a plate, sprinkle with red chili powder and serve warm with coconut and/or tomato chutney.

Coconut Chutney:

1 cup shredded fresh coconut
2-3 curry leaves
2 green chili
less than a handful of channa dal (lentils) - optional
salt to taste

Grind all of the above adding very little water. You can add more water and have a smooth consistency or add little water to get a chunky thick chutney.

Tomato Chutney:

3 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
1/2 red onion roughly chopped
2-3 red chillies
2 Tbs Urad dal (lentils)
3-4 whole black pepper
a pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 Tbs grated coconut - optional

Dry roast red chilies, lentils, black pepper, cumin seeds and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions for about 2 minutes. Add the the tomatoes and tamarind to this cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and once the tomato mix is cooled a bit add them to a blender along with the roasted ingredients and grind into a smooth paste adding water as needed.

Note: Use any leftover batter to make Dosa or try another batch of the pancakes with different veggies.

bon appetit !!!


  1. This looks pretty interesting and pretty involved to make. But it looks like it has some great flavors!

  2. Half the work is the batter, but if you pick it up fresh from an Indian store then its a breeze to put together.


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