Uttapam – South Indian Pancakes

You’ll love these tasty South Indian pancakes.

My family really loves Indian food, especially from Southern India, where there are many tasty vegetarian dishes, such as the crispy dosa, and it’s thicker culinary cousin, the uttapam. Whereas dosa is like a crepe, thin and maybe crispy, the uttapam, or uthappam, resembles an American pancake, thick and smaller, but usually not sweet.

uttapam south Indian pancake on plate

Although it may look like naan bread with toppings, uttapam is quite different in ingredients. Uttapam is made from fermented flours and dal, or dried and split legumes, such as lentils, peas, and beans. It is generally filled with different toppings, like onion, chillies, tomatoes, and even coconut. Uttapam is served with flavorful chutneys.

Because I love South Indian dishes so much I already have a couple of recipes:  Vegan Paneer Tikka Masala and Chana Masala. I wanted to show how to make another of our favorite dishes, the uttapam. The secret is the batter, which takes time to make through fermentation, about 10 hours. You can start this the night before and prepare the next day. There are several batters for different kinds uttapam and dosas, and depending on how the batter is fried it can be thicker, like and uttapam, or thinner and crispy, like dosa.

You can add various toppings in the batter as it is frying. Things I like are onion, tomato, and carrots. Give this tasty Indian dish a try!

uttapam Indian pancakes on a plate

Vegan Uttapam

Tasty South Indian pancakes
Prep Time 14 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


  • frying pan
  • 2 large bowls


  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup water


  • Rinse rice thoroughly, then soak rice together with fenugreek seeds in a bowl of water for 4 hours.
  • Rinse lentils separately and soak in another bowl for 4 hours as well.
  • Separately, drain and rinse rice and lentils.
  • Place rice and 1 cup of filtered water in blender and blend until very smooth.
  • Do the same with lentils. Blend lentils with 1 cup filtered water in a blender until very smooth.
  • Combine the rice and lentil batter into a large ceramic or glass bowl, add salt, mix well.
  • Cover the batter and leave for 8-10 hours, or overnight, to allow fermentation.
  • Prepare desired vegetables or toppings before cooking.
  • Preheat a non-stick frying pan to medium heat and lightly grease with vegetable oil.
  • Pour the batter into the pan to make a thick pancake, about 5-10mm.
  • Immediately top with your favorite vegetables and toppings, then cover the pan with a lid.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes on one side, then about 1 minute on the other side, until the batter is cooked well. If there are a lot of toppings and flipping is not possible you may cook for 2-3 minutes on one side only.
  • For toppings you can use a variety of vegetables, such as onion, red onion, chives, bell pepper, tomatoes, grated carrots, corn, green beans, coconut, etc.
  • Serve with chutneys of your choice.
Keyword gluten-free, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

It easier to make than you think. You can you choose your favorite ingredients, make it salty, spicy or sweet.

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