Uthappam Cheese Flatbread

Sometimes a recipe is something that evolves as you make it. The other night, as I opened a container of ready made Uthappam batter from my local indian market, I started out with one idea and ended up with something quite different. Generally, I am not that wild about Uthappam, which is a batter made from ground rice and lentils that has been fermented, almost exactly like dosa batter. The difference is that Uthappam is generally made into a slightly thick pancake that contains various ingredients, rather than being made into a crisp dosa which is then (sometimes) filled with ingredients. It’s often a bit bland for my taste, and the texture is slightly gummy. But, for some reason, the last time I went to the Indian market, I couldn’t resist adding some Uthappam batter to my cart. I searched online for various recipes to enliven the Uthappam- and found one involving chopped cabbage, onions, and cilantro that somehow appealed to me. I was reminded of the Japanese food, Okonomiyaki, which is a pancake like thing with cabbage and other ingredients mixed into the batter. So, I added chopped cabbage, onions, and cilantro to the batter and made my first Uthappam. It wasn’t bad- but somehow, the flavor just didn’t thrill me. DH shrugged indifferently, and ate it, but somehow neither of us was particularly satisfied. There was still a lot of batter left after two Uthappam had been made, so I reconsidered. I decided to add some cumin seeds, nigella seeds, and on of my favorites, brown/black mustard seeds to the batter. That would make it taste more interesting- but what about the gummy, potato rosti like texture? I added water and decided to pretend it was a crepe rather than a pancake batter. I lightly oiled a cast iron pan and heated it in the oven on 400 degrees. When it was hot, I poured some batter into the pan, and swirled it so it evenly covered the bottom. uppadamflatbbread.jpgThere was still a little cabbage and onion left in the batter, so it was slightly lumpy, but really, quite reasonably thin. After baking it for about ten minutes, I took it out and sprinkled cotija cheese on top and put it back in to melt. I served it like pizza slices, with a side serving of tomato chutney, and watched it disappear. This Cheese flatbread version had considerably nicer texture, the seasonings added flavor, and the cheese made it a much more satisfying main dish. I don’t know if my version can reasonably be called Uthappam any more, but we enjoyed it, and were able to use up the remaining batter. If I were to make it again, I would probably leave out the cabbage for my “flatbread,” but it did add extra nutritional value to the dish.

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2 Responses to “Uthappam Cheese Flatbread”

  1. Hi..

    Can you mail me your email address i want to foward a pdf of recipes.. anyways.. i am giving one of the recipes here.. try this and let me know if you liked it..

    Gobi Manchurian

    1 medium. cauliflower clean and broken into big florettes.
    1 small bunch spring onoin finely chopped
    2 tsp. ginger finely chopped
    1 tsp. garlic finely chopped
    1/4 cup plain flour
    3 tbsp. cornflour
    1/4 tsp. red chilli powder
    2 red chillies, dry
    3 tbsp. oil
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 tbsp. milk
    Boil the florettes for 3-4 minutes in plenty of water, to which a tbsp. of milk has been added.
    Drain and pat dry on a clean cloth.
    Make thin batter out of flour and 2 tbsp.cornflour, adding 1/4 tsp. each of ginger and garlic and red chilli powder and salt
    to taste.
    Dip the florettes in the batter one by one and deep fry in hot oil. Keep aside.
    In the remaining oil, add remaining ginger, garlic and crushed red chilli and fry for a minute.
    Add the salt and spring onions.
    Stir fry for a minute. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.
    Add 1 tbsp. cornflour to 1/4 cup water and dissolve well.
    Gradually add to the gravy and stir continuously till it resumes boiling.
    Boil till the gravy becomes transparent. Add florettes and soya sauce.
    Boil for two more minutes and remove.
    Serve hot with noodles or rice.
    Dry manchurian can be made by omitting the gravy.
    Make florettes as above and instead of adding water as above, add fried florettes, spring onions and soya ce at this stage.
    Sprinkle 1 tsp. cornflour on the florettes and stirfry for 2 minutes.
    Serve piping hot with toothpicks or miniforks and chilligarlic sauce or tomato sauce.
    Same procedure for veg. manchurian (with gravy or dry), but instead of using only cauliflower, use finely chopped minced
    vegetables and
    bind with some cornflour or bread crumbs and make small lumps the size of a pingpong ball.
    Fry as above and proceed as above.
    Making time: 45 minutes
    Makes for: 6
    Shelf life: Best fresh

  2. [...] I was ecstatic when I realized that South India had many naturally gluten free offerings. First I tried the buttery, crisp dosa crepes filled with an assortment of fillings like masala potato filling. After my success with the dosa, I tried the other offerings like idli and uppatham. I was so crazy about dosa that I ended up rarely ordering the steamed idli rice cakes, as I found them a bit plain. However, on another message board I’m on I read about stuffed idli with a flavorful filling like tomato chutney steamed inside the disc. I was intrigued, so I gave idli another shot using some premade fermented idli batter from a local indian market in Mountain View, California. I was thrilled to find that these stuffed idli were delicious, especially served with spicy sambar soup and a homemade Cashew Nut Chutney, a mint chutney, or a coconut green chili chutney. It was easy to make the idli using my idli mold that I had bought at the City Market in Bangalore, India, but you could also use an egg poacher for larger idli. I put the mold with idli batter, Trader Joe’s tomato chutney, and more idli batter covering the filling, into a steamer basket in a large soup pot and steamed the idli for around 12 minutes. Then I carefully placed them on a wire rack to cool and enjoyed these tasty snacks with sambar and chutney. Even DH, who sometimes find Indian food too spicy for his taste, gobbled them up. They were terrific reheated briefly in the microwave as a little snack, too. After having such good success with premade idli batter, and a few experiments with powdered idli batter, I was eager to try making idli from scratch. After consulting an expert on all things fermented on the Yahoo Vegetarian GF board, I set out on my first experiment. [...]

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