Monday, November 01, 2010

Pesarattu (green gram pancake)

I’m probably going to hurt the sentiments of hardcore Andhra food lovers – lovers of Andhra food as well as Andhra food-lovers – when they read the next paragraph, so before I get brickbatted all over the place, I’d like to pre-qualify my statement by adding that it’s merely my insignificant opinion - not exactly likely to negatively affect the popularity of this item. Also, I would like to add that I adore Andhra food in general – the wonderful podis, the avakkai, the pappus, the gongura pickle, the generally elevated chilli-heat of most items... I could go on and on.

So (*deep breath*) here’s the thing... I’m not very fond of pesarattu. It’s not that I hate it or anything, but given a choice of Indian breakfast/snack food items, the pesarattu – and even more so the pesarattu-upma combination – is not what I would go for first. Or second. Possibly third, provided it comes without the upma. I don’t really care for upma – no matter which State it comes from - and it would probably be last on the list of choice.

To return to the question of the pesarattu, I think the main problem is that I consider the dosa (the regular kind - not rava, godhumai, maida or any other “instant” variation) as the queen of Indian pancakes, followed by adai in second place. Also, green gram dal has a pronounced flavour that’s not easily disguised - which, I suppose, is as much the plus point for people who like pesarattu as it is a negative for those who like it just that bit less.

Still, once in a while I don’t mind eating pesarattu. Of course, since the nearest Andhra hotel is about 5,000 miles away from where I live, I had to make the batter at home. I’ve never had pesarattu in an Andhra hotel or made by a genuine Andhra foodie, so I’m hoping that my recipe is an acceptable variation on the actual recipe. I did use green gram dal, though, so I guess I can’t have sacrificed much authenticity in my version.

Recipe for: Pesarattu

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Ingredients:

1 cup green gram dal
1/4 cup chana dal
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2"-1" piece ginger root, peeled
2-4 green chillies (or to taste)
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow-fry
Method:

1. Soak the green gram dal, rice and chana dal in cold water for 8-10 hours or overnight.

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2. Drain the water, then add the soaked dal and rice along with the ginger, garlic and green chillies in a grinder or mixie.

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3. Grind it all into a thickish batter that is fairly smooth. Add salt to taste and mix it in.

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4. Pour a ladleful of the batter in a heated non-stick or well oiled pancake pan, using a circular motion to spread it out evenly into a circle.  Add a little oil (preferably gingelly) and turn the heat down to medium and leave it for about a minute to cook on one side.

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5. Turn the pesarattu over carefully with a spatula and add a little more oil (if you like) to help it become crisp and golden on both sides.

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6. Transfer the cooked pesarattu to a plate and use up the remaining batter in a similar manner. Leftover batter can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge, covered tightly.

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Serve hot with any chutney or podi.

RECIPE: PESARATTU (GREEN GRAM PANCAKES)

Ingredients:

1 cup whole green gram dal
1/4 cup chana dal
1/2 cup uncooked rice (pretty much any kind)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2"-1" piece ginger root, peeled
2-4 green chillies (or to taste)
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow-fry

Method:

1. Soak the green gram dal, rice and chana dal in cold water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
2. Drain the water, then add the soaked dal and rice along with the ginger, garlic and green chillies in a grinder or mixie.
3. Grind it all into a thickish batter that is fairly smooth. Add salt to taste and mix it in.
4. Pour a ladleful of the batter in a heated non-stick or well oiled pancake pan, using a circular motion to spread it out evenly into a circle.  Add a little oil (preferably gingelly) and turn the heat down to medium and leave it for about a minute to cook on one side.
5. Turn the pesarattu over carefully with a spatula and add a little more oil (if you like) to help it become crisp and golden on both sides.
6. Transfer the cooked pesarattu to a plate and use up the remaining batter in a similar manner. (Leftover batter can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge, covered tightly.) Serve the pesarattu hot with any chutney or podi.

3 comments:

Jaya said...

Hey shyam, I'm from andhra, I love andhra food in general but hate pesarattu! Many of my friends and cousins do too. I just dont get the popularity of this dish and the pesarattu-upma combo.

Shyam said...

Thanks, Jaya! :) Good to know there are others who feel the same!

Rev said...

u've got a really nice list of recipes in your shelf. needs some serious time. :)