Sooji pancake is one of my favorite, healthy, tasty, no fuss breakfast or snack dishes that require no prior preparation whatsoever. Filled with the goodness of sooji (coarsely ground wheat), vegetables and aromatic spices, this variation on the traditional dosa (crepe) is a delight to the taste buds and digestive system alike.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- Sooji rava (cream of wheat) (1.5 cup)
- Yogurt (1 cup)
- Water (2 cups – depends on the consistency of yogurt)
- Carrots, zucchini, spinach, spring/green onions, coriander and kale leaves and any vegetables of your choice (finely cut). You can finely cut the veggies (like below) or grate them.
- Curry leaves (9-10 or depending on how much you have)
- Mustard (rai) seeds (1/2 tsp)
- Cumin (jeera) seeds (3/4 tsp)
- Black pepper powder (3/4 tsp) (you can increase or decrease this per your taste)
- Asafetida (hing) (1 pinch)
- Salt (to taste)
- Ghee (1 tsp)
- Mix sooji rava, yogurt, salt and water. The quantity of water depends on the yogurt (I used home-made yogurt which is more watery than the store-bought one) used and the consistency of batter desired. You want to make the final batter a little more watery than dosa batter, but at this stage, let the batter be at the dosa batter consistency. This is because we will add vegetables later, that will exude some water and make the batter watery.
- Let the batter sit for 15 minutes. It will become slightly thicker since the sooji will absorb the water. That is okay. You may later (after adding the vegetables) add some water to fix the consistency.
- Add the cut vegetables into the batter.
- Using a mortar and pestle, pound the cumin and pepper together to form a coarse powder.
- In a separate pan, heat the ghee and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds sputter, add the cumin-pepper mix, asafetida, and curry leaves. Turn off the heat.
- Add this seasoning into the batter. Mix well.
- Adjust water quantity to bring the batter to the desired consistency.
- In a flat dosa pan, which has been on medium heat for a few minutes, make the pancakes. First test the level of heat in the pan by drizzling some water. If the water sizzles off immediately, you know that the pan is ready.
- Using a tissue paper, wipe the pan to remove any water that may remain.
- Take a spoonful of batter and pour into the pan. You may spread the batter slightly to make the pancake a bit thinner/flatter using concentric movements or just leave them as is for thicker pancakes. Pour a tiny bit of oil around the pancake and a drop in the center.
- Cover and cook for a couple minutes on medium heat.
- Take off the cover and flip the pancake using a flat ladle.
- Cook uncovered for a few minutes. The pancake should be a nice golden brown on both sides.
- My kids love this for their lunchbox (although fresh off the pan is the best!). In the picture below, I have also packed fruit-cheese skewers and green grapes along with the sooji pancakes.
- You may cook several pancakes at the same time, depending on the size of your pan.
- Play with the heat setting if the pancakes look too brown or blackish or take too long to cook.
Sweet (sooji), sour (yogurt), salty (salt), bitter (spinach/kale, coriander leaves), pungent (cumin, pepper), astringent (asafetida).
Sooji (wheat) can be kapha and vata aggravating. But the addition of digestive, warming spices like pepper, cumin, asafetida, curry leaves helps offset this effect. Homemade yogurt is great since it is not pitta aggravating like store-bought versions. Ghee is tridoshic. Overall, this can be safely consumed by all doshas. Pittas should not overdo the black pepper.
Overall, sooji pancakes can be made in a very sattvic manner if fresh ingredients are used. Spices are warming, but still not rajasic in nature (go easy on the pepper). Skipping the green onions completely will further reduce the rajas, but small amounts should be fine to offset the tamasic effects of wheat and yogurt. Again, home-made yogurt (rather than store-bought) will increase sattva.