Uttapancakes: slightly-sweet lentil-rice-wheat pancakes

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Uttapam is a savory high-protein pancake from India, usually served with vegetables cooked into the top. I've never tried uttapam prepared in the traditional way, but only the boxes of instant mix, which are not too bad.

In the course of many experiments to make my own instant uttapam mix, I went slightly nutty and invented this crossover with American-style pancakes. My uttapancakes are cashew-topped, with a crispy outside and a soft center, and flavored with cinnamon and cardamom and a hint of maple syrup. Feel free to experiment with other flavors!

Two happy uttapancakes on a plate

This recipe is enough for four 3½-inch pancakes — a light meal for two people.

In a 12-inch frying pan, put enough

  • vegetable oil

to cover the bottom, and get the pan warming up on low heat. (All the oil will be absorbed as the uttapancakes cook.)

Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. (Think big: the batter will expand when the water hits the baking powder.)

  • ¼ cup lentil flour (sold in Indian groceries as urad or udad flour).
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup wheat flour (I use white bread flour, but all-purpose flour gives a similar result)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (yes, a whole tablespoon, really)

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly. Then add:

  • 1 tbsp 100% maple syrup
  • 5 fl oz water

Stir until the batter is smooth. Then spoon it into the pan, dividing it into four disks.

Top each uttapancake with:

  • a small handful of raw unsalted cashew pieces

Set the heat to medium-low. The uttapancakes need long slow cooking to avoid burning the outside. Try about 12 minutes on the first side, then flip with a spatula and give them another 8 minutes or so.

Serve warm, topped with:

  • powdered sugar