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Uttapam – Indian Style Pancake

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Uttapam is a tangy griddle cake made of lightly fermented rice and lentils from Southern India. This recipe tops the uttapam with spiced sautéed broccoli and onions, coconut chutney and a fried egg.

Uttapam with broccoli, black mustard seeds, coconut chutney and fried egg

Serves 4-6

Uttapam Batter:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup “converted” rice (like Uncle Ben’s)
  • ½ cup urad dal (a type of bean or lentil)
  • 1 tbsp chana dal (a type of chickpea)
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a bowl, combine the rice, dal and fenugreek. 
  2. Cover with 3-4 inches water and soak overnight on the counter, uncovered. 
  3. The following day, drain them then puree in a blender with 1 ½ cups water until very smooth. 
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl
  5. Cover with cheesecloth. Let it sit out at room temperature overnight. 
  6. Stir in the oil, salt and sugar.

For the Broccoli:

  • 1 lb broccoli, florets, cut in half, blanched in boiling salted water and then shocked in ice water and drained or spun dry in a salad spinner.
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, chopped
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  1. In a large sauté pan heat the oil. 
  2. Add the black mustard seeds and wait until they just begin to pop. 
  3. Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown. 
  4. Add the ginger, jalapeno, curry leaves and turmeric. 
  5. Cook about three minutes and add the broccoli. 
  6. Toss and cook until the broccoli is hot and caramelized in spots.
  7. Season with salt to taste.

Coconut chutney: (you could buy it, or…)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened grated coconut
  • 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted chana dal
  • ½ inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp black mustard seed
  • 5 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  1. Put the coconut, jalapenos, chana dal, ginger, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. 
  2. In a sauté pan, heat the oil and then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook until the mustard seeds begin to pop. 
  3. Pour the oil and seasonings in to the coconut mixture and stir to combine.  Can be made a few days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

To finish the dish:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add ¼ – ½  cup batter to the pan and start making a pancake. 
  3. Once the top starts to have some burst bubbles on it, flip it over and cook it 30-45 seconds
  4. Move the pancake to a plate or cookie sheet in a warm oven while you make the rest.
  5. Make one sunny side up egg (or egg or your choice) to top the uttapam with. 

To plate put one uttapam on each plate. Top with the broccoli mixture. Add 2-3 tbsp of coconut chutney and an egg to each plate.


Andrew Zimmerman, the award winning Chicago Chef of Sepia & Proxi restaurants, knows a lot about cooking food.