Friday, December 12, 2014

Surnali ( Buttermilk pancakes; eggless)

It is interesting that quite a few of our memories are associated with food. When I think of my childhood, I think of my mother's cooking . One of the things that she used to make for breakfast was dosa( pancake and crepes).My mother makes a whole variety of dosas. Interestingly, I am very fond of dosas; all kinds! I could never tire of dosas!! I just love them!!!

One of the dosas my mother would make is Surnali. Surnali is a traditional konkani dosa( pancake), where in the batter is made by the addition of buttermilk and then fermented. The resulting dosa is soft and fluffy like cotton!! It is absolutely the melt-in-the-mouth kinds! Oh, did i forget to mention that it is also sweet. So you don't need to add any additional syrup/molasses or honey. By default Surnali is sweet, the batter is sweetened by the addition of jaggery;  but we do have a non-sweet version called "cheppi Surnali". For cheppi Surnali, you just have to forego the addition of jaggery while grinding the batter. This is very easy to make, but care has to be taken to ensure that the ground batter is thick. The addition of jaggery tends to make the batter a little runny, so this needs to be factored in. Also, the dosa/pancake has a tendency to get burnt easily , again due to the presence of jaggery in the batter. Therefore, more attention is needed while preparing the pancake on the griddle.Traditionally,surnali batter is made with the addition of freshly grated coconut. My mother does not do that. Instead she uses a little urad dal( split matpe bean), which also helps it to become soft and fluffy.

Servings: 4 ( 10-12 pancakes).


White Rice: 1 1/2 cup
Urad dal (split Matpe bean):1 tbsp ( Can use 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut instead of urad dal).
Buttermilk/ yogurt: 1 cup( for grinding the batter, may need less)
Methi seeds: 1 tsp
Poha( beaten rice): 3/4 cup
Water: 1 cup, to soak the poha
Jaggery: 1 cup(skip if making cheppi Surnali)
Turmeric powder: a pinch.
Salt: as per taste.


Soak white rice, urad dal and methi seeds for at least 2-3 hours.
Soak the poha( beaten rice) in  one cup water for 10 mins, then squeeze, remove and keep aside.
Grind it  using the yogurt/buttermilk to a fine batter. Add the soaked poha , jaggery and grind again. Now add the turmeric powder and blend well. Make sure that the batter is on the thicker side and not runny.

Let it ferment for at least 5-6 hours if the weather is warm; may take 8 hours in cold weather.

Just before making the pancakes, add  salt as needed and mix well.

Heat the griddle/ skillet, grease it using oil/ghee/butter. Add a ladleful of batter. Do not spread the batter too much.

Reduce the flame to low, cover and cook until you hear a faint hissing sound. If there are no wet spots on the dosa, it is done. Remove from the griddle. This dosa IS NOT TO BE FLIPPED. It is cooked only on one side.

Serve hot with a dollop of butter. You do not need to add any additional syrup or honey.

If it is cheppi surnali (the non-sweet version), serve it with some chutney!

Yummy! I am salivating as I am writing this! I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday! Margy & Juju are the co-hosts this week!


Cooking made easy:

The key to making a nice soft and fluffy Surnali is the consistency of the batter and the amount of fermentation. The batter has to be on the thicker side and has to be well fermented. Well fermented means that it has to rise a little but not turn sour.

Also, this dosa has a tendency to caramalise and burn easily on the bottom while the dosa is still uncooked. Hence it is essential to lower the flame as soon as the batter is put on the griddle and cook it on low flame until the dosa is cooked.

Tip for healthy living:

Probiotics are essential for the healthy functioning of the gut. Yogurt and other fermented foods are rich in probiotics and therefore beneficial to the gut. Try to include at least one serving of probiotic rich food in your everyday diet.

Food for thought:

Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship. Omar N. Bradley

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