Indian Lentil and Rice Pancakes

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
These Indian pancakes are not like the ones we typically think of in North America or in most of the Western world for that matter. Here we think of cake-like little rounds served with some maple syrup and butter. Delicious for sure, but Indian pancakes are a different and savory experience altogether, as often made with whole rice grains or dals as with flour. I so adore Indian pancakes — great for breakfast, brunch or dinner, or even as a snack. Rather like thick crêpes, this recipe was inspired by 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. Another must for your bookshelf. How can you go wrong with 1,000 offerings that will please anyone who enjoys Indian cooking with suggestions for any meal of the day? As noted in previous posts, this book is not strictly vegetarian, but I bet you can imagine just how many of the recipes are vegetarian, and how many others are easily adaptable to suit a meat-free diet. I have no affiliation with the author, but I continue to promote a book that has proved such a staple for ideas and information. Spread the word and keep the marketplace free and informed.

savory Indian pancakes

The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is frying up each pancake, but the heavenly aroma of fried spiced batter will keep you going, and when it is time for dinner you will especially enjoy the fried-up fermented and ground-up little creations. Consider adding some green peas to the batter for an extra boost of flavor. Serve with salsa, chutney (pictured below), Indian pickles, yogurt, a sambar, or any side vegetable dish that suits your fancy. I do believe that Indian crêpes and pancakes are my new passion. Next stop is stuffed mung bean pancake rolls with paneer cheese. Stay tuned … and healthy!

Indian pancakes with salsa

Indian Lentil and Rice PancakesIndian Lentil and Rice Pancakes
Recipe by
Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 25, 2012

Soft, savory and spicy Indian pancakes made with slightly fermented and ground rice and dals — a heavenly breakfast, light lunch or snack served with chutney and yogurt

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  • 2/3 cup basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons whole mung beans
  • 3 tablespoons urad dal
  • 3 tablespoons toor dal
  • 3 tablespoons channa dal,
Other ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 2 - 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • a few pinches of asafetida
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil or ghee
  • Rinse the rice, mung beans and dals and soak overnight in enough water to cover.

  • Drain the rice, beans and dals, and transfer to a blender or food processor along with the onion, parsley or cilantro, chilies, salt, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and asafetida. Add the water gradually to the blender and process until you have a smooth, semi-thick batter that is of pouring consistency. Transfer the batter to a bowl and whisk with a fork for a few seconds to fluff up the mixture. Let the batter sit, covered, for 4 hours. Fluff again with a fork before frying.

  • Heat a teaspoon or so of the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into the hot pan and, with the back of the ladle, spread the batter out into a thin 5 to 6-inch circle.

  • Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake begins to set and the bottom starts to brown. Brush the pancake with a bit of oil along the edges, with a dab into the center, and cook for another minute. Flip and cook until the other side turns a golden color, about a minute. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a 200° oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.

Makes about 10 5" or 6" pancakes
Indian Lentil and Rice Pancakes

More Indian breads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Savoury Rice and Ural Dal Pancakes
Rice Flour Pancakes
Besan Roti
Savoury Rice and Split Pea Pancakes with Buttery Green Beans and Tomato-Cilantro Sauce

On the top of the reading stack: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Audio Accompaniment: Ridis


janet @ the taste space said...

I have been intrigued by uttapam recently even though I've never tried it. These Indian crepes look great! But I agree, I hate frying them individually, which is why I rarely make any. Rob loves besan chilla, though, and makes it nearly every weekend. :)

Rosh said...

That looks incredible! Great recipe for a healthy and nutritious breakfast :)

Johanna GGG said...

I have tried a dosa once (is this the same as a dosa?) and loved it but it was very sturdy compared to those I have had in Indian restaurants so I am interested to try other recipes

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Johanna. Yep, these are pretty much a dosa. I get a bit confused when it comes to the various names that are attached to various Indian crepes and pancakes. These are soft and light and perfect for rolling up with your desired filling. I will be posting more recipes for Indian crepes and pancakes soon because I can't stop making them - they are that good!

Carole said...

Hi there, this is a nice post. It would be great if you linked to it in my Food on Friday series. Food on Friday – Asian Food

MLM said...

Hi Lisa,
Do you have any recipes for Dosais (or pancakes in western terms) with yellow split pea flour? I would like to have one and any other items I could make with this flour.

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Maris;

Do you mean chickpea flour, also known as besan? I have used besan in many of my recipes. Here are just a few examples of crepes and pancakes I have made with chickpea flour:

Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Pudla) with Crushed Peas, Ginger, Chilies and Cilantro
Chickpea Flour (Besan) Crêpes with Spinach
Chickpea Flour Crêpes

I have lots of other recipes using chickpea flour too. You may want to do a search on my site with chickpea flour as the keyword. There is a search box near the top of the right hand sidebar.

Hope this helps.