This is a highly nutritious, tasty and popular breakfast item made in Andhra households. It is nice on its own or you can serve with ginger chutney (allam pachadi). This along with allam pachadi is comfort food and as such tend to eyeball the ingredients rather than measure them out precisely. For purposes of sharing this recipe, I have given measurements. I use a tawa which is a special fry pan that is flat with a lip of one centimetre tall. You can however use a regular fry pan.
250 grams whole mung beans
1 -3 fresh hot green chillies, chopped
5 cms piece of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
Handful of fresh coriander stems and leaves
2 tablespoons rice flour
8 teaspoons vegetable oil like canola
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium onions finely chopped
Put the beans into a bowl and wash them in several changes of water. Drain, then cover generously in fresh water and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and put into a blender. Add chillies, ginger, coriander stems and leaves, salt and about 200 ml water. Blend for several minutes until you have a pancake like batter. Empty into another bowl and mix in the rice flour.
Mix the chopped onions with the cumin seeds and set aside.
Set a largish non-stick fry pan over a medium heat. When hot, stir the batter from the bottom and pour a ladleful into the centre of pan. Lightly use the back of the ladle and a wrist action to spread the batter outwards in an even spiral form to reach the wall of the fry pan about 20 centimetres in diameter. Sprinkle the onion and cumin mix and pat them down gently with the back of a spoon. Add a few drops of oil in the centre and about the edges of the pancake. Cook on a low medium heat until the pancake turns crisp and golden. Flip the pancake and allow to cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Serve right away (I tend to use two fry pans). Make all the pancakes in the same way, stirring the batter each time you make.
ALLAM PACHADI (Ginger chutney)
30 grams tamarind (the variety that comes in a packet in an Indian store) (small lime sized ball)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons channa dhal (split chick peas)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon powdered asafoetida
8-12 dried red hot chillies
3 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola
40 grams jaggery (if you can’t find jaggery, you can use palm sugar or muscavado sugar)
Salt to taste
100 grams ginger (peeled and evenly chopped)
Wash the tamarind and then soak in 60 ml of hot water from the kettle for an hour. Using your hand (wear gloves), squeeze the tamarind and extract thick pulp. Discard the fibrous bits that don’t get pulped. Put the pulp into a microwave safe container and microwave on high for a minute and set aside.
Heat a kadai (Indian style wok) or a saucepan and add the oil to make the popu (seasoning). Add the fenugreek seeds along with channa dhal and fry them until they are slightly brown (if the oil is too hot they tend to burn and get bitter). Add the chillies (you can cut them in half if they are too long), stir and then add the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter, remove from heat and add asafoetida to the hot mixture. Allow to cool.
Once the popu is cool enough, blend to a fine paste in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add the tamarind pulp, salt, jaggery and ginger. Pulse until everything is ground. Transfer to a jar and serve with pesarettu or adai dosa. Store in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.