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Instant Aval or Poha uttapam – ‘faux’ vegetarian omelette

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Having lived in the United States for a long period of time, we have imbibed and embraced many rituals from different cultures. Some of which we followed on New Years day. We welcomed the New Year with apple slices dipped in honey both of which are ‘good luck’ foods for prosperity and good health – we learnt this from our Jewish friends. All of us need loads of these in the New Year which has a lot of hope for everyone alike. Black eye peas is an ingredient which is very popular in the Southern USA for Good Luck and is consumed on New Years day, so decided to incorporate it for New Years lunch. After a simple yet satisfying lunch of comfort food – brown rice and black eye peas pulav with onion raitha – was wondering on what would be a simple and comforting dinner. 

Somehow dosa was on my mind…. but wanted something that can be whipped up ‘instantly’ and does not require any grinding or fermenting. 

I started searching on IG, FB and the internet (I too get bored of eating my own creations 😉 😝 ….. and a little inspiration always helps spark creativity ! ) looking for a simple ‘instant’ dosa. I could not zero-in on a single ah-ha recipe, so got down to creating my own. 

First look into my pantry and I found red flattened rice – called ‘Aval’ in Tamil and ‘Poha’ in Hindi. Red rice retains a lot of the natural nutrients since it is not polished. This also naturally elevates the fiber content. Poha is a good Probiotic and a good food choice for Diabetics. It is high in iron and also a low calorie option. 

Next I landed upon chickpea flour. These 2 seem to pair well with chickpea bringing in a protein content. This definitely needed a binding agent, so added a tablespoon of plain flour. Whole wheat flour will also work very well here. 

Final choice to bring all these together was sour yogurt. By adding yogurt the overnight fermentation process which is typical for dosa is eliminated. 

I mixed all the dry ingredients with yogurt and set aside. In about 5 minutes most of the water content was absorbed and the mixture look solid. So added 2-3 cups of plain water and mixed again. After 5 mins the batter was ready for my experiment. I  seasoned with freshly grated ginger, chopped green chillies and cilantro. Also added finely chopped onions, although this is optional. The flavor from the batter gave me the confidence that this is going to work out ! Keep in mind the flattened rice is softened but it is still intact. That is the beauty of this dosa, no grinding needed.

Heated up my cast iron griddle and bravely set out to test my batter. My curiosity whether this experiment will turn out a success or will the batter completely disintegrate on the hot griddle (??) 👍👎🤞 Oiled my pan liberally and got it piping hot. Then I scooped out a ladle full of batter and poured it onto the griddle. I flattened the batter to required thickness, taking care not to spread it vigorous but softly patted it. Now drizzle a teaspoon of oil around the edges of the uthappam and let it crisp up. In about 2 minutes the edges will turn brown, now carefully scoop it out like a pancake and turn it over. Now reduce the stove intensity and let it crisp up on medium heat. The enticing aroma of ginger with onions and cilantro will waft through the air. 

The texture of the uthappam resembles an omelette because of the poha still being intact, typical Indian style omelette made spicy with lots of onions and green chillies.

I carefully put it on a plate and did a taste test. YUMMY !! I could not resist taking bite after bite and ended up finishing the whole uthappam. I yelled out to my hubby – “I think I hit a jackpot with this recipe 🙂 “ 

Aval uthappam – Faux omelette – recipe

Ingredients –

  • Red beaten rice / poha / aval 3 cups 
  • Chickpea flour 1 cup 
  • Plain flour or whole wheat flour 1 tbsp 
  • Sour yogurt 3 cups 
  • Salt to taste 

Seasoning and toppings – 

  • Shredded ginger 2 tblsps 
  • Finely chopped green chillies 2
  • Finely chopped cilantro 2 tblsps 
  • Finely chopped onions 1 cup 

Procedure –

  • 1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the poha and flours with salt
  • 2. Add the yogurt and mix very well. Set aside for 5 mins 
  • 3. Add 2-3 cups of plain water and mix well. Set aside for 5 mins
  • 4. Mix again and check for batter consistency and add water as needed
  • 5. Add all the seasoning and topping ingredients and mix well
  • 6. Fry small pancakes or uthappams on a cast iron skillet, cooking on both sides
  • 7. Remove when the pancakes are golden brown and crisp. 
  • 8. Enjoy with spiced lentil powder ! 

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