Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Uttapam, my very first ever!

Uttapams are one of a wide variety of savoury pancakes made from a fermented thick batter of rice and skinned black gram originating from the southernmost part of India, the state of Tamilnadu.

It is my very first ever trial at making uttapams and I think I wasn't bad at all. It is a very good option for a healthy meal 'cause of a higher protein content through the use of skinned black gram.

Now, what I like so much more about uttapam, just like idlis and dosas for example, is the fermentaion process which to my belief makes them so healthy and tastier too. The process of fermentation not only increases the flavours in the food manyfold, but also helps remove so many different phytotoxins through microbial action. And we all know the positive effects of these 'good' bacteria on our digestive tract. And, now after reading this at Wikipedia, I realised the importance of fermentation to preserve the foods in the earlier times when there weren't any refrigerators. And I believe, despite that the health aspects of these foods remain the same even today, if not even more with our lifestyles.
I always use every chance to try out different fermented products. One of the newest being Tempeh, which an Indonesian colleague and friend of mine used to bring to the Institute, while I was working there. It was delicious! Tempeh is also on my list of things to try once again on my own, as a few years ago my efforts to cook tempeh was a disaster! I believe that the tempeh wasn't fresh anymore.
Coming back to uttapam...
Now I admit that this picture does not show the best Uttapam I made and that I took the picture a day later, so it also looks a bit dry, but I still relished it to the full the next day as my usual "leftovers - lunch", as I call it, as I am usually alone at home to eat it.
The inspiration for this recipe came completely from my sister, who posted a simple and easy basic recipe of Uttapams on Healthy and Tasty! which gave me enough confidence to try out this recipe. And I was surprised how easy it really was, even though it requires a bit of planning when making them.
I was a bit afraid when I started pouring the first laddle of batter on my French cast iron pan I especially bought to use for such Indian pancakes and breads. By the second round I was already more confident. I had to add a litttle more water to the batter, as it seemed a bit too thick. But, I was very careful so as not to add too much to make the batter too thin. But all went right and we ate a lovely meal of Uttapams on that day with sambhar, a variety of podi and freshly made coconut-peanut chutney, which turned a bit brown this time as I could not remove the peels from the peanuts completely, even though I had roasted them for long. But, it did not disturb the good taste of the chutney, to my relief! As I love coconut chutney. And also the gun powder, which really wasn't as much a gun powder as I cannot add much chillies to it because of my son, but it tasted so good that both of us just kept licking it with our fingers, me and my son!

And not only that, I even made my very own Sambhar powder, YESSSS!!
I don't know if I sound like a braggart, but I was so happy that I finally actually did something which I had been thinking of since long now - to make my own sambhar powder, as every time I used this packed one from the market, hubby would complain as he did not like the taste of the sambhar and it was always too hot for my son to enjoy it and I could take the amount of chilli I wanted so as not to make it too hot. So, it was all worth the effort. Now I have enough for a couple of next rounds too. The recipe , after searching for a number of them, I found this wonderful recipe from this great mother-daughter blog many of you might know - Aayis Recipes. The only difference to the recipe is that I reduced the amount of chillies a lot, for my son.
Now, to those who don't know what is on the plate, clockwise from bottom: uttapam (fermented pancake), coconut-peanut chutney, gun powder - a not so hot version - therefore so yellowish brown in colour (I've added a bit too much of sunflower oil, bad estimation- but still very enjoyable!), and sambhar in th bowl. All of it made at home!
The recipes for the gun powder and chutney are from my older post, here.

So, here are the recipes:


Soaking time: 4-5 hours
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Fermentation: overnight (8 -12 hours)
Baking time: 2 - 5 minutes per uttapam


2/3 rd cup skinned black gram (Urd)
1/3 rd cup brown rice

3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/8th tsp Asafoetida, ground coarsely
1 tsp salt

1 cup vegetables of choice, required at the time of baking the uttapams:
1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell peppers or paprika, as per choice
some grated fresh cocnut (didn't have it this time)

  • Wash and soak the urd-rice mixture in a deep bowl for 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Wash with water in betweeen or the next day and drain before grinding
  • Add the remaning ingredients to the bowl and grind everything in a blender to a paste, adding a few tablespoons of water, if required
  • Let it ferment, covered, overnight
  • On the next day, add some water to make a thick batter which is good to spread on a tava or griddle, being slightly thicker than the batter of a pancake
  • Add the chopped vegetables and stir
  • heat a griddle and pour a laddle of the batter on the hot griddle and spread in slow circular movements, moving outwards to form a circular pancake
  • cook on this side until the upper side is no more fluid and the lower side is not burnt or too brown
  • For this, keep the griddle temperature at around medium or a little more, and turn the uttapam with the help of a spatula and cook until done and shows brown spots on other side as well
  • Serve warm with coconut chutney, some podis, sambhar (see below) or any other Indian curry



1 cup Arhar (Toor) daal, washed and soaked for 2 hours or longer in water
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup aubergine, diced
1 tsp Sambhar powder
1 -2 tsp tamarind paste (I left it out, as I didn't have any)

2 tbsp oil or ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 large pinch asafoetida
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, grated or finely julliened
1 large clove garlic, crushed or grated
1/2 cup large thinly sliced coconut flakes
1 pinch red chilli powder
a few curry leaves
1/2 tsp Sambhar Powder
1-2 large tomatos, finely chopped

1 tbsp lemonjuice (to replace tamarind paste)

  • soak daal for two hours or longer and change water in between
  • cook daal with the cut vegetables in 1 1/2 cups water in a pressure cooker or a deep pan with lid until done
  • prepare tadke by heating oil / ghee in a frypan, add mustard seeds and let splutter
  • adding the remaning ingredients in the given order, stirring each time on high heat without letting them burn, reduce heat if required.
  • after the tomatoes are done, add to the daal and stir, add the lemon juice and serve warm with sides like rice, dosa, idli or uttapam. Rotis also make a wonderful combination.
Typically tamarind is also used in a good sambhar recipe, but since I did not have any, I had to do with tomatoes and lemon juice. But, the whole combination with coconut-peanut chutney, gun powder and sambhar along with the yummy uttapams made a wholesome meal which we all enjoyed a lot. Rishab, like so often did not want to eat daal (sambhar), but munched on the
uttapams along with the gun powder. But, I made him eat some sambhar telling him that I didn't make it so hot just so that he could eat it. That made him agree to eat a few teaspoons of it atleast. Now this was a successful experiment for me. And everyone who hasn't tired making uttapams must try once!


~nm said...

Zimbly yummylicious!!

PG said...

:D Thanks nm!

emmani said...

Ohh my husbands gonna love you!

aparna said...

Ur uttappam and sambhar looks so yummy.

PG said...

thank you all! :)

Sophie said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog :). I'd say it's a safe idea to buy gluten-free flour. However, the flour I buy is just organic rice flour. I'm assuming it's gluten-free, but if you stop by a Whole Foods (not sure if they have one in your area) you'll be happy to find many gluten-free ingredients. Gluten-free baking is a lot of fun, and not too difficult to master, you should definitely try it out some time :).

Sunshinemom said...

Congrats on making a yummy uttamppam the very first time!!