The wonderful world of pancakes

I think it’s pretty safe to say that every child loves pancakes. There’s something about a little round edible, pan-fried blob that is comforting, appealing, and delightful to all. The amazing thing about pancakes is that they can come in all shapes and sizes, and it seems like most cultures have their own variations. In the U.S., there’s the standard cake-batter-type pancake ranging from fluffy buttermilk, blueberry and fruit filled, and corn griddled pancakes. In Jewish culture, the fried potato pancakes that are known as latkes are hard to not love (who doesn’t like fried things?!). China has its most famous scallion pancakes, but many other variations of pancakes exist as well, from “chive boxes” to the thin wheat crepes that traditionally roll Peking duck. In Vietnam, the closest thing I can think of would be banh xeo, better known as Vietnamese sizzling crepes, and in India… there are so many versions, some of which I’m just learning about, ranging from dosa to adar to cheela to pesarattu.

I’d made dosa a number of times on my own, but it never occurred to me to attempt a version of it without rice and urad dal, but that’s where Pesarattu comes in. Pesarattu is the Andhra Pradesh’s answer to pancakes in a ground lentil form. Some add a little rice or rice flour for texture, but many are just 100 percent green whole moong dal without any rice added. The only things that are added to it are ginger and perhaps a few spices, and that’s it. Pan-fried on a hot pan, they are extremely delicious, especially when eaten with a peanut and/or coconut based chutney. I’ve already made these twice now and am pretty obsessed with them. I’m trying to find every which way to use beans, as they are one of the healthiest and most delicious foods on earth, and our diets can only get better with them.

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