The World of Savoury Indian Pancakes
Bonny Shah

Bonny Shah
12 August 2020

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

There’s nothing like a power-packed start to the day! Especially during the monsoons, when waking up could be a sluggish affair! And what better way than a filling breakfast! Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day by many, and rightly so. Not only does it break your fasting period (8 hours of overnight sleep), but it is also meant to give a boost to your energy levels and ensuring your body is supplied with other essential nutrients to carry you through the day. It has a greater influence on our metabolism cycle than any other meal.

Thankfully, India is home to a wide spectrum of such healthy, nutritious breakfasts – with every region standing out, with its tasty, nutritious treats. One such breakfast favourite is the Indian-styled savoury pancake. Whether you dig into a plateful of homemade chillas or are hungry-waiting for the waiter to serve you a mammoth masala dosa at the restaurant, the idea of enjoying a steaming hot savoury pancake dipped into chutney is just drool-worthy. But these Indian-styled pancakes, as are most traditional Indian foods, are packed with essential nutrients to give you a power-packed start to the day.

Let us take a look at some pancakes hailing from different parts of India:

Eat Breakfast A multi-grain savoury pancake the western parts of India, especially Maharashtra, the thalipeeth is made tastier with the addition of several legumes and spices. The jowar (sorghum) in the multigrain flour is chockfull of fibre, while the besan in it is a good source of gluten-free protein. Jowar is also rich in vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. It’s likewise an excellent source of antioxidants and protein.

Easy pancake recipe:

• Prepare a well-mixed batter of jowar, besan and whole-wheat flour, along with your preference of spices and chopped onions and tomatoes.

• Pour a ladleful on a non-stick tava (griddle) with little oil.

• Cook it on medium flame on both sides, till the side turn golden-brownish.

• Lay those steaming flat cakes on a plate, with some sweet/spicy chutney.

Mysore Masala Dosa
As the name suggests, this filling Indian breakfast dish from Mysuru (Karnataka) uses fermented dosa batter and special aloo bhaji (spicy mix of potatoes, onions and red chilli chutney). This fibre-rich Indian-styled pancake also has a decent dose of protein and other nutrients, coming from the different dals used in the batter. Urad dal and chana dal are great sources of dietary fibre. They are good for digestion, maintaining blood sugar levels and contain many important nutrients.

Easy pancake recipe:

• Prepare the dosa batter (urad, toor, chana dal and rice), red chutney (chana dal, chillies and other spices) and aloo bhaji (chana dal, mashed potatoes, lemon juice and spices).

• Let the batter ferment; add the fermented batter by the ladle onto a griddle with little oil.

• After the pancake starts forming, add some red chutney, aloo bhaji and some butter on the pancake.

• Roast for half a minute and then fold the dosa; serve the hot dosa with some coconut chutney.

Radish Healthy and light, the appam is a breakfast dish from the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk, appams are usually accompanied by a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian curry, and have variations to it – (idiyappam, achappam, kuzhalappam).

Easy pancake recipe:

• Prepare a batter out of soaked parboiled rice, coconut milk and methi powder.

• Mix well and let the batter ferment overnight.

• Pour a ladleful of the appam batter on a non-stick griddle, on medium flame.

• Lay those steaming appams on a plate; serve with some chutney, sambar and/or curry.

Hailing from the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions, this pancake is a nutrient-filled breakfast option which gives you a dose of the dals right from the get-go. Moong, its chief ingredient, help you stay sated and are good for digestive and heart health.

Easy pancake recipe:

• Mix the dosa batter – comprising green moong, chana dal and rice flour – in a bowl.

• Pour a ladleful of the pesarattu batter on a non-stick griddle, on medium flame.

• Sprinkle some chopped onions, green chilli and other spices, alongwith some oil, before the batter goes crisp.

• Lay those hot pancakes on a plate; serve with coconut chutney.

Made from buckwheat flour, this vegan breakfast dish is popular amongst the locals of Arunachal Pradesh. It is also a healthy snack as Buckwheat is high in manganese, copper and magnesium. It is healthy for the heart by improving blood lipid levels and blood pressure. It also helps maintain blood sugar levels. Khura is served usually with butter tea, you could make it a nutritious affair by adding some chopped vegetables or pulses to the mix.

Easy pancake recipe:

• Prepare a thick batter with buckwheat flour, water and salt.

• Pour some batter on a non-stick griddle, on medium flame.

• Add some chopped carrots, onions and garlic to semi-crisp batter, if you’d like.

• Lay those crisp khura pancakes on a plate; serve with butter tea and/or honey.

Besan da puda
This Punjabi chilla dish is packed with essential nutrients, and is a treat to the tastebuds. This vegan breakfast option has besan (chickpea flour) as its chief ingredient – which is good source of protein and fibre, and has a low glycaemic index – which helps control blood sugar levels. Besan is full of vitamins and minerals. As it is high in fibre, it may help improve lipid levels. High protein levels may help decrease hunger and help people trying to lose weight.

Easy pancake recipe:

• Prepare a thick-ish batter with besan, water, chopped onions, carrots, spices and salt in a mixing bowl.

• Heat the non-stick griddle on medium flame, and meanwhile, let the batter settle.

• Pour a ladleful of the batter on to the griddle, with some oil.

• Cook the chilla on both sides till crisp; serve with green mint chutney or tomato chutney.

Take the healthier route; bring home those ingredients – flours, grains, pulses, seeds, spices and salt – and dive into some nutritious Indian pancake making! Homemade pancakes from different parts of the world, right there in your kitchen, is a breakfast dream you would eagerly want to wake up to. And for those breakfasts to be prepped in a jiffy, you could always bring home Tata Sampann Multidal or Moong Dal Chilla Mix to make a savoury Indian pancake easily.


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