Fermented Savory Pancakes

The main ingredient in this pancake is besan which is the Indian version of garbanzo flour, though not exactly the same. This uses no explicit leavener like most pancakes do, but exploits the fermented batter for the same purpose. Fortified with finely diced veggeis, it makes a wholesome breakfast. Enjoy!


A proofer (or simply the good fortune of living in the tropics/subtropics), a griddle.


  • Makes 5 pancakes (1/2 cup each)
  • Batter: 5 oz besan + 2.5 tbsp rice flour + 200 ml lukewarm (105 F) water
  • Filling:
    • Veggies: 1/2 cup finely diced oyster mushrooms + 1/2 cup chiffonaded greens (radish greens) + 2 sliced red shishito peppers
    • 2 tbsp EVOO + salt to taste


Batter: Boil the water and then cool to lukewarm. Mix in the flours and let ferment for a few hours (or overnight) in a proofer at 100 F.

Filling: In a non-stick pan dry-roast the veggies. When browned and softened, mix in the EVOO and salt to taste. Let cool and mix in with the fermented batter.

I used the griddle half of a panini maker. No need to grease the griddle. Heat the griddle to 350 F. Pour 1/2 cup of batter (for each pancake) on the griddle. Let cook for 5 mins on one side — you will see the bubbles rise to the top surface. Flip using two spatulas and let cook on the other side for 2 mins.

Serve warm with yogurt.


  1. The water is boiled first to get rid of any additives in tap water that may get in the way of fermentation. Or, you can use bottled water.
  2. Feel free to use any other mixture of vegetables of your liking.
  3. To make a dosa/crepe: you need to dilute the fermented batter with water to get a thinner consistency.
  4. A bit of knife skill really makes a difference: finely dice the vegetables. It magically makes everything taste good! 🙂

Halloween Cassava Pumpkin Waffles

Halloween is upon us, pandemic or not. It will be a quiet one this year. But a nail-biting election on its heels. Good luck to the contestants and may the planet win!

Back to small things. Pumpkin on the menu. Cassava flour was a serendipitous discovery in the pantry but it went so well with the pumpkin that I was compelled to blog. Enjoy!

Special tools:

Waffle maker; silicone brush


Makes 5 large waffles

  • Dry ingredients: 2 cups cassava flour + 1 tsp baking powder +1/2 tbsp cooking soda + 2 tbsp Maca powder (optional) + 1 tsp pumpkin spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, grated fresh ginger) + dash of salt
  • Wet ingredients: 2 cups pumpkin (a 15oz can) + 1 cup yogurt + 2 eggs + 2 tbsp oil


Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately with a wire whisk. When well mixed, pour the wet into the dry. The leavening ingredients make the batter light.

You will not be able to pour the batter. Instead, using a measuring cup, place 1 cup of the thick batter at a time in the waffle maker (follow manufacturer’s instructions). Brush a little oil at each use with the silicone brush.

Serve warm with maple syrup.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. Cassava flour is the same as yuca flour– just make sure the bag is not labeled starch. This flour is a good substitute to wheat flour, but without the baggage. And, doubles the calorie and a truck-load of nutrients. But, you can indulge in it just for its delicious appeal.
  2. Pumpkin can threaten the waffle to be softer- but cassava is a good crisping complement.
  3. Sweet potato can be used in place of pumpkin: steam 3-4 medium sized ones in the microwave in their jackets (wrapped in moist kitchen towel) for a few minutes. Cool, peel and mash.
  4. Sans cassava: Another fantastic version with the flour mix: 1/4 cup flour each of oat, black rye, almond and coconut.
  5. Sans pumpkin: Here are a few flour mixes that turn out equally marvelous even without the pumpkin.
    Makes 3-4 large waffles or about 8 pancakes on a griddle
    • Dry ingredients 1 1/3 cup flour (one of the mixes from below) + 1 tbsp baking powder + dash of salt
      • 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/3 cup coconut flour OR
      • 1/3 cup oat flour + 1/3 cup black rye flour + 1/3 cup brown rice flour + 1/3 cup coconut flour OR
      • 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/6 cup coffee flour; 1/6 cup coconut flour OR
      • 1/3 cup regular white flour + 1/3 cup brown teff flour + 1/3 cup buckwheat flour + 1/3 cup millet flour
    • Wet ingredients: 1 ½ cups buttermilk + 2eggs +2 tbsp oil
  6. Date syrup is another pleasant accompaniment to the waffles/pancakes.

Adai: Pancake To Dai For

The Indian subcontinent offers a cornucopia of grains and lentils pancakes: dosa, chakuli pitha, uttapam, pesarattu, adai, chitau… Here is a simple, unfermented one inspired by adai. Not your mother’s adai. If you can believe it, this is even better!

It takes a little planning (prepping overnight) but made even simpler with the use of a no-fuss waffle maker. The waffle provides larger browned surface area and even little pockets to trap the accompanying sauces. Enjoy!

Special tools:

Food processor; waffle maker; silicone brush


Makes 4 waffles (8 portions)

  • Soak separately overnight or until  bite-test  (few hours) in plenty of cold water: 1 1/4 cup grains + 1 cup lentils
  • Flavor base I: Saute in a little sesame oil : 1 tsp skinned white (urad) lentils + 3 stalks of curry leaves + ¼  cup desiccated coconut + 1 red dry chili
  • Flavor base II: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro + 1/2 cup diced onions + 1/4 tsp heeng + 1/4 tsp turmeric powder + 1/2 inch ginger, microplaned + salt to taste
  • 1/8 cup oil for the waffle maker


Drain the grains and lentils and process in a food processor with the Flavor Base I till smooth. Don’t worry if the batter continues to be a wee bit gritty– the soaking has hydrated it and it will steam during the cooking. Mix in the Flavor Base II ingredients. The batter will be thick.

Use about 1 cup of the thick batter at a time in the waffle maker (follow manufacturer’s instructions). Use a little oil with each use. It takes about 4 minutes for each.

Serve warm  with Indian chutney or sambar.   

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. The grain/cereal used here is oats (steel-cut). The lentils used here is of 4 kinds, equal in volume: toor, masoor (with skin); black urad (with skin), black eyed peas. The use of lentils with skin adds fibre and nutrients, with no compromise on taste.
  2. The traditional way to make it is crepe-style in a pan/skillet (see picture below): this takes a lot of patience, care and skill.
  3. To my delight, I discovered that the waffle maker works remarkably well, and, makes an even better presentation!
    The batter has no leavening agent and no fermentation– then how come the waffle making works? The staple ingredients –grains, lentils– are well hydrated (passed the  bite-test ). The trapped moisture steams with heat making the interior deliciously fluffy without being pasty. And, the outer layer is invitingly crisp.