Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Uttapam: Savory Indian Pancakes

I think a nice home-cooked meal to look forward to on a Monday evening makes Monday a sweeter day. And when uttapam is on the cards, I am one happy lady. That was dinner last night after a long day back at work.

My dear friend and fellow food-loving linguist, Vineeta, who spends a lot of time in South Delhi researching urban Indian English, introduced me to uttapam a few years ago, when she first heard of Rich's dreaded allergy list. It's an Indian savory pancake, eaten even for breakfast (and maybe primarily so, I'm not sure) made out of chickpea/gram flour and rice flour, at a ratio 1:3. I tend to put a tad more chickpea flower in there to up the protein a bit. Basically, you mix in some spices with the flour, like cumin seeds or ground, cayenne, paprika, coriander, add water, and cook like a pancake. It's fun to play around with the spices you use. We top it with minced chilis, onions, and cilantro and serve it with mango chutney and plain yogurt. It is one of the most satisfying and easy dinners to make, and especially good for vegetarians and wheat-free folks.


1/2 chickpea flour 
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
1 tsp. ground cumin (or 3/4 tsp cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 diced green chili or red thai bird chili, minced
1 small red onion, minced
a handful of cilantro

1. Mix spices and all the dry spices in a medium bowl.

2. Make a well in the middle and slowly incorporate the water, bit by bit. You want a fairly thin consistency so it's easy to spread

3. Meanwhile, dice the chilis and onion.  Turn the stove to medium and add a drop of oil or ghee to the pan. When hot, ladle the uttapam mix into the pan, making a pancake (any size works). Top the uncooked side of the pancake with the chilis and onion. (I've also added the chilis and onion to the batter and actually prefer it, but this is the traditional way)

4.  When the edges of the pancake start curling up or changing in consistency, carefully lift the pancake into a plate, cooked side down

5. Add a drop of ghee/butter to the pan and flip the pancake so the uncooked side is down, for about a minute or so

6. Remove and keep warm in the oven while you make the next batch.

7. When read to serve, top with cilantro leaves and serve with a dollop of yogurt and a spoon of chutney, although if you are like me, you'll add lots of chutney! We tend to accompany it with a quick curry-spiced sauteed veggie, like the zucchini in the 1st photo.

1 comment:

Christina said...

YUM! I will definitely have to try this sometime..