Uttapam are South Indian Breakfast pancakes made with lentils, rice, onions, herbs & spices. These are a very common breakfast in south Indian homes and are mostly eaten with a chutney, sambar or podi. Traditionally uttapam were made with slightly sour batter that is left over after making dosa on the previous days. The vegetable toppings balance the sourness of the batter and tastes good.
To make uttapam, lentils, rice, poha or methi seeds are soaked first. Then ground to batter and fermented overnight. This batter is used to make uttapam.
These are topped with different veggies like onions, tomatoes, carrots, green chilies & coriander leaves.
Uttapam are crisp on the bottom with soft fluffy texture on top. The slightly roasted veggies compliment them with a nice aroma.
Many times I make different kinds of uttapam as a quick fix to our meal.
In this post I have also shared how to make different healthy uttapams using millets and multi grains. I have shared the traditional uttapam in the recipe card and step by step photos.
1. Add ½ cup cup urad dal, 2 tablespoons chana dal and ½ teaspoon methi seeds to a bowl. If using poha then add ¼ cup poha to a different bowl and set aside. Add 2 cups rice to another large bowl. Here you can use either raw rice or idli rice or a mix of both. I used the regular raw rice here. During summers, use chilled water to blend. So you may want to chill the water in the fridge when you soak these.
2. Rinse the dal and soak it for 4 to 5 hours. Rinse the rice and soak it for 4 to 5 hours. If using poha, rinse and soak it in ¼ cup water, just 15 mins before grinding.
3. Drain the dal and add it to a blender along with ½ teaspoon non-iodized salt. Pour ¾ cup water (chilled water during summer). If using poha, add the soaked poha (along with soaked water) to the blender.
4. Blend to a smooth and frothy batter. Ensure your batter doesn’t become hot or warm while blending. If the batter is too thick then you may add another 2 to 4 tablespoons more water and blend.
5. Transfer the batter to a large bowl. Drain the rice and add it to the grinder along with ½ cup water.
6. Make a smooth and thick batter.
7. Mix both – dal batter and rice batter.
8. Cover and set aside in a warm place to ferment overnight or until the batter rises. If you live in a cold region, then you may ferment the uttapam batter in a instant pot with the yogurt setting (low). Depending on the weather it takes anywhere from 8 to 16 hours.
9. I do not over ferment the batter otherwise the uttapams will turn sour.
Preparation for uttapam recipe
10. The consistency of the batter must be same as that of dosa. You can take some batter to a bowl and add water to bring it to the consistency. The batter must be thick yet of pourable consistency. Taste the batter and add a bit more salt if needed.
11. Keep the veggies ready for topping. You can use onions, deseeded firm and ripe tomatoes, grated carrots, chopped green chili and coriander leaves. Please note that using tomatoes may make the uttapam more sour. In the step by step pics I have not used tomatoes.
What you see in the first picture was made another time when the batter was not sour. Add very little salt to the topping and mix.
12. Add a few drops of oil and grease your tawa well. If using a cast iron pan, then heat it first and then add a few drops of oil. Spread the oil all over with a kitchen tissue.
How to make uttapam
13. When the pan is hot enough, pour a ladle full of batter in the center of the pan. At this stage the pan has to be hot otherwise the batter won’t rise and the uttapams will be flat.
14. Do not spread the batter too much, uthappam has to be made thick. If the batter doesn’t spread on its own, then you may lightly spread a bit.
15. Lower the flame.
16. Sprinkle toppings as desired. Add oil around the edges and allow to cook on a low to medium flame until the base cooks well and firms up.
17. Sprinkle little oil over the onions and flip it.
18. Cook until the onions are done. The color of the uthappam depends on the temperature of the batter & the pan. Usually batter straight away from fridge does not yield golden uthappam.
19. Make sure it is cooked well from inside. If you like caramelized onions, you may cook longer. We like the crunchy onions so I remove them at this stage. To make the next uttapam, ensure the pan is hot enough.
Tips to make fluffy uttapam
Here are the general tips for all or any kind of uttapams.
- Bring the uttapam batter to consistency by adding water as needed. The batter must be thick yet of pouring consistency. Too thin batter will make your uttapams flat and not fluffy. Too thick batter will not cook the uttapams from inside.
- Grease the pan well if using a pan other than regular non-stick. If using cast iron pan it is always good to grease immediately after a wash. Then rinse back before using and then grease again. Rubbing a sliced onion also helps in preventing the batter from sticking.
- Onions, chilies & coriander leaves are the most common topping for uttapam. However you can also use carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers. You can also just skip all of these and just use some idli podi or peanut podi.
- Cooking: I prefer to cook any kind of uttapams on both the sides as it ensures the uttapam is cooked well inside.
These are the proportions I have tried with the following variations.
Millet uttapam: ¾ cup pearl millet (bajra), ½ cup rice, ½ cup urad dal and 2 tbsps poha or ¼ tsp methi seeds. Rinse and soak the dal & methi separately. Rinse and soak bajra and half cup rice. If using poha rinse and soak just for 15 mins.
Blend dal & methi or poha until fluffy and frothy. Then blend the rest until smooth and mix together. Ferment until the batter rises. This makes about 6 to 8 uttapams depending on the rise and the dal.
Oats uttapam: 2 cups fermented regular dosa batter (1:4, dal:rice) mixed together with ½ cup powdered oats (quick or rolled) & water as needed. This makes about 4 uttapams.
Ragi uttapam: 2 cups fermented regular dosa batter (1:3 or 1:4, dal:rice ratio) mixed together with 1 cup ragi flour & water as needed. Even sprouted ragi flour works well here. This makes about 4 uttapams.
Instant suji uttapam: ¾ cup suji or rava, 3 tbsps curd or yogurt, ¾ cup + 2 tbsps water, salt and veggies for topping. Mix together the rava, curd and salt. Rest until you chop the toppings like onions, carrots, chilies, bell pepper etc.
Uttapam recipe (Uthappam recipe)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
for uttapam batter
- ½ cup urad dal (100 grams skinned/ dehusked whole black gram)
- 2 tablespoon chana dal (25 grams, optional, bengal gram)
- 2 cup rice (400 grams raw rice or idli rice, parboiled rice)
- ½ teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
- ¼ cup thick poha (20 grams flattened rice, optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (non-iodized salt) or pink salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ to 1 cup water to grind dal (use chilled in summer)
- ½ cup water to grind rice (use chilled in summer)
Ingredients for topping
- 2 to 3 tablespoon oil or butter
- 1 large onion (1 cup chopped or sliced)
- 1 medium tomato (optional) firm ripe deseeded & chopped
- ¼ cup carrot grated
- 2 to 3 green chilies chopped
- ¼ cup coriander leaves chopped
Preparation for batter
- Add urad dal, chana dal and methi seeds to a large bowl and rinse thrice. Pour fresh water and soak them for 4 to 5 hours.
- In another bowl, rinse rice and soak it well for 4 to 5 hours.
- Add poha to a small bowl & rinse it once. Then soak it in ¼ cup water at least 15 mins before blending.
- Drain the water from dal and add it to a grinder jar along with soaked poha.
- Pour ¾ cup water and grind to a thick & frothy batter. It has to be of pouring consistency and not runny. If the batter is too think pour another 2 to 4 tbsps water and grind. Transfer this to the bowl. Ensure the batter doesn't become hot or warm while blending.
- Drain water from the rice and add it to the grinder. Pour ½ cup water.
- Blend until smooth. Transfer to the same urad dal batter bowl and add salt.
- If the weather is too hot then avoid adding salt at this stage. Add it after fermentation.
- After mixing the consistency of the uttapam batter must be thick & pourable but not be too thick or too runny.
- Cover and rest in a warm place overnight or until the batter rises. If you live in a cold region, then you may ferment the batter in a instant pot with the yogurt setting (low). Depending on the weather it takes anywhere from 8 to 16 hours.
- Do not over ferment else the batter turns sour. After fermentation the batter rises and aerates. You will see bubbles over the batter much like the dosa batter.
Preparation for uttapam
- Wash and chop the veggies needed. Also finely chop coriander leaves. Mix all of the topping. Prepare these when you are ready to make the uttapams else the veggies will release juices.
- Grease a griddle pan or tawa. Heat it well.
- Bring the batter to consistency by adding little water if very thick. The batter must be of thick yet of pourable consistency. Check the salt and add a bit more as we are using the veggies.
Making onion uttapam
- When the pan is hot enough, pour a ladle full of batter in the center of the hot pan. We usually do not spread it as it does a bit on its own. If needed spread a bit gently.
- Lower the heat and sprinkle the toppings all over the uttapam. Sprinkle oil around the edges and over the onions.
- When the base is firm, flip it and cook on the other side until it is cooked well. Cook on a medium flame at this stage as it needs to cook from inside.
- Cook the toppings to suit your liking – caramelized or crunchy. Set aside and make the next one.
- Serve onion uttapam with chutney or sambar or sprinkle podi.
- Ensure the pan is hot enough before you pour the batter otherwise the uttapam will be flat and won’t puff.
- Cook on a low to medium flame so the batter is cooked from inside.
- Chop the veggies only when you are ready to make the uttapams.
- You may skip poha but they give the uttapams the characteristic fluffy texture.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes