Pancakes are an inextricable part of nearly every culture across world. If the Americans have their Buttermilk Pancakes, French have Crepes, Australia has Pikelets and Ethiopia has Injera, Austrians their Kaiserschmarrn and Malaysians their Apam Balik. And how can I forget the Dutch Pannenkoeken and Mexican Hotcakes. Trust me there are many more beyond the handful that I have mentioned here. They are mostly served with an accompaniment such as jam or maple syrup, cheese or chutney, sour cream or stew depending on whether the pancake is sweet or savory.
Back in India, mung beans are treated in a similar fashion down south and up north. While the southern state of Andra Pradesh has the Moong Dal Dosa called Pesarattu (crisp mung bean crepes), the north has the Moong Dal Chila which are slightly thicker and more like pancake. Both taste equally good and each has its own fan following. Both are a nutritious way to get a healthy dose of proteins and both can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
My family is always more excited about enjoying the moong dal in the form of these pancakes in comparison to the Palak Moong Dal. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that in a soup the dal gets somewhat mushed where as in the form of pancakes it has a crispy texture to it which tastes great with a chutney or even bottled tomato sauce! You may serve them with a salad of your choice and there you have a wonderful supper ready in minutes! The only thing that needs to be remembered, and done before hand, is soaking the dal at night. Post that, it is just blitz and cook. Easy!
Usually it is the skinless yellow mung lentils that are used to make moong dal chila. However, I opted for the hybrid between the pesarattu and chila since the skinned lentils happen to be healthier than skinless ones. In case you wish to have Pesarattu, make the batter of pouring consistency and pour a ladle full on a griddle. Spread it quickly to make thin crepes. You can fill them with a filling of your choice and serve with coconut chutney. For the moong dal chila, I kept the batter thicker than usual and threw in some fresh chopped coriander/cilantro which can be easily swapped with spinach.
I served them with a rainbow salad that pleases not just the eyes and palate but does a lot of good deal to your body. You will need the following for these delicious and healthy savory pancakes,
1 cup Mung Beans with skin (Sabut Moong Dal)
1½ tbsp Rice Flour
1½ tbsp chopped fresh Coriander
2 Green Chilies (finely chopped)
1 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp grated Garlic (optional)
¾ cup Water
1½ tsp Salt (or to taste)
¾ tsp Red Chili Powder (+/-)
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1½ tsp Flax Seed Powder (optional)
Oil to shallow fry the pancakes
Soak the moong dal in sufficient water for a few hours or preferably over night.
Using a grinder, coarsely grind the dal without water. Remove the dal batter in a mixing bowl and mix in the water along with the other ingredients (except the oil, of course)
Heat a non-stick pan and add a few teaspoons of oil and drop two table spoons of batter in the pan. Quickly spread it using the back of a spoon and let it cook for a minute or two or till the bottom of the pancake turns nicely brown. Flip it and cook the other side too. Remove the pancake on an absorbent sheet or kitchen towel. Use the batter in a similar way to make more pancakes. Serve crisp and hot with a salad or chutney of your choice (scroll down to the ‘Notes’)
For Rainbow Salad
There is no recipe as such for the salad. The pancakes are so good on their own that I didn’t feel the need for any fancy dressing. I simply sprinkled some salt and cracked black pepper over them and then added dash of a lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. It paired pretty well with the pancakes and enlivened the meal! I used carrots, purple and green cabbage, cucumbers, yellow and red bell peppers, green part of the spring onions and cherry tomatoes. I had a pomegranate lying in the refrigerator and added a few rubies of that too. Feel free to add herbs such as coriander and mint as well.
Note: For these pancakes I coarsely ground the lentils coz this not only makes them crispier but also adds a lovely texture to them.
Note: You can soak the dal for a few hours in some hot water (I use a hot case for that) in case you forget to soak it the night before.
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