Uttapam Is A South Indian Pancake That Puts A Savory Spin On The Breakfast Classic

From naan to samosas to paratha, Indian cuisine boasts a breadth of delicious doughy creations. With a vibrant medley of regional culinary techniques, there's a wide deviation in constituent bases. Not every dough starts with flour, making it a world of options for gluten-free eaters. One of those is a delicious pancake-like creation called uttapam, which is created from a fermented rice and lentil mixture. 

This savory pancake — also known as oothapam and uttappa — is enjoyed across Southern India, especially intertwined with the Tamil region. Although this part of the country has some of the lowest percentages of vegetarianism, this dish is vegan, making it accessible for a range of diets. With a pleasant sour flavor, thick and fluffy interior, and crispy exterior, it's a tasty creation that's easy to love. Enjoyed for breakfast, uttapam is often elevated through the addition of vegetables and aromatics — and then served with a flavorful chutney.

How is uttapam prepared?

Uttapam likely started as a way to use leftover dosa or idli dough. Then the batter is fermented longer to form the characteristically thick uttapam dough. While it's becoming more popular to purchase the dough in stores, many still choose to make it by hand. The dough is turned into delicious golden brown patties by sautéeing on a skillet, just like U.S.-made pancakes, but with an extra drizzle of oil for crispiness.

Although it can be crafted on its own, uttapam is frequently accompanied by vegetables — onions, chile peppers, and cilantro are popular flavorings. Some embellish it with further aromatics, such as curry leaves, spinach, bell peppers, or carrots. Such additions are folded into the batter during cooking. Once done, the plain or vegetable-packed creation is served alongside spicy chutneys, pickles, and sambar stews. No matter the constituents, uttapam is a dependable delight — sopping up any delicious flavors as a side or functioning as a standalone meal.