Living the Good Life…

My food blog & cookbook in progress

Grid-daal cakes

After a few days of seriously delicious food at Belle and Allen’s place, I’m putting down the recipe for one of my contributions (for a brunch we had before a phenomenal game dinner/beer pairing) at Belle’s request. The real name of these griddle cakes is adai and they are technically not a twist on a theme since they are a long-standing tradition in many a South-Indian home, but they are not what one would expect from daals. And since there are three long pages devoted to daal, I thought I’d put them here. Plus I got to play with the name some. I also have another name daalatkes since they also resemble latkes somewhat. .but griddle cakes they actually are and hence the label griddal cakes. Actually there are probably recipes galore out there for this dish in many folks blogs, but this is my take on it.

Soak one cup of raw rice and a further  1-1.5 cups of a mixture of whole and split daals and grains (mung, split peas, black-eyed beans, masoor (pink) lentils, wheat berries, barley maybe etc. etc) in plenty of water along with maybe a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds for several hours. Grind them together in food processor (better) or blender – be careful how liquid you make it if the latter – with some salt and allow to sit for several hours or even overnight in a warmish spot (I turn on an oven as if to preheat or at proofing tempratures and then turn it off). The batter should have the consistency of a thick pancake batter. It doesn’t have to ferment, but it it quite tasty if the batter does.

When ready to make the cakes, add some chopped raw veges of your choice to the mix: chopped onions along with either cabbage or hearty greens (I’ve used spinach, but kale or collard greens would work wonderfully), grated carrots, zucchini, daikon radishes (singly or a mixture), shredded green beans .. basically anything goes. 1-2 green chillies chopped fine are a nice addition. Warm a couple of teaspoons of oil in small frying pan and add mustard seeds and a pinch of asafoetida (if available) and temper the mixture with it. Meanwhile heat a greased griddle or a flat skillet. When hot enough, make a tester cake by putting a small amount of the batter in the center and spreading with the convex side of a metal ladle. Add a small amount of oil around the edges of the cake, cover with a lid and turn the heat low. After a few minutes remove the lid and drizzle some more oil or ghee on the surface of the cake and flip, turning the heat up a bit so that the upper side gets crispy.

Serve hot off the griddle with your choice of chutney (coconut or tomato work nicely or eggplant toghayal), ‘gunpowder’ fresh butter and honey/maple syrup or as with molasses which Allen offered as a syrup alternative. Do not stand on ceremony to serve or eat these cakes. They are best eaten as soon as they are made which still crunchy on the out. Saving them turns them soggy.

Bon appetit.

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