Three years ago, I adventured on a honeymoon for one to Mauritius. I ate a pure vegetarian Ayurvedic diet and I came home 5 kilos lighter (after just 10 days). I ate like a King, guzzling huge dosa pancakes and rice pancakes for breakfast. I also got up at 7.30am every day to do yoga.
I’ve been inspired by some kick-ass dosa pancakes I recently had the pleasure of eating in London at Jai Krishna. So, this pancake day, try out something new…I’ve cooked rice pancakes with onion seeds, accompanied by a delicious Daal. This is a vegan, wheat-free dish which is super-tasty and pretty darn healthy to boot. If you wanted these pancakes sweet, just minus the onion seeds.
This meal is actually really quick and easy. It should take 45 minutes max (you can be cooking the ingredients for the curry whilst the lentils are boiling). The daal is delicious the day after when the flavours have really had time to melt together. You can even add some water and turn it into a soup.
Rice Pancakes – 3 cups of Rice Milk, 2 cups of rice flour, a drizzle of mild oil (optional) like sunflower or butter for the veggie option and a sprinkle of black onions seeds if you’re having them with savoury eats, salt.
In a wok or saucepan, bring the milk or water to the boil. Add the optional butter or mild oil and salt and stir in the rice flour. Switch off the flame immediately. Stir the flour into the milk or water until the liquid is incorporated into the flour. Make sure this mixture is really well squished.
After the batter cools down, mix with your hands and knead until you get a soft homogenous mixture. Divide the mixture into equal balls.
Take one ball and pat it onto a wooden chopping board with some rice flour to stop it from sticking. Form the ball into a 6” circular disc by patting it down flat. (Mine came out a bit mishapen, but I kinda liked them like that: felt authentic for some reason).
Heat a frying pan, skillet or griddle on a medium flame. Smear it with a little oil. Lower the flame and place the pancake on the frying pan. The more oil you add, the crispier and tatsier the pancake. If you’re trying to be healthy, less oil! Raise the flame to medium high and cook on both sides with a little oil until gorgeous golden brown spots are formed.
Get ready to mop up your favourite curry with this pancake day alternative.
Red Lentil Daal
250g/9oz red split lentils, rinsed until the water runs clear, 1 litre water, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 2 medium red onions, half-mooned, 1 green chilli thinly sliced, 1 red chilli thinly sliced, 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips, 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole, 1 tin tomatoes (or 4 large fresh, skinned) and a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp garam masala, 1½ tsp ground coriander, 1 whole lemon juice, olive oil, rock salt, handful chopped fresh coriander leaves.
1. Place the lentils and 900ml of the water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender.
2. Meanwhile, prepare a curry paste with your spices and set aside. Cook up cumin seeds in a wok and then add the garlic, 1 of the onions, ginger and chillis in olive oil for about 4 minutes, until they’re looking slightly browned and delicious.
3. When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat. Remove excess water if you want a thick daal.
5. Blend the garlic and tomatoes to a purée in a food processor. Add the purée to the pan and stir well to combine.
6. Add the ground spices and 100ml/3½fl oz of water to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.
7. Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and add the lemon juice.
Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving and sprinkle some over the top.
Serve with the rice pancakes, some yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon.
Happy Pancake Day!