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So good last night for post-dancing dessert, that I had it again for breakfast. Uttapam (thick, bubbly pancakes made with fermented brown rice and lentil batter) are usually savoury, with Indian spices and slivers of veggies cooked into them, but the ones pictured above are topped with melting raw cacao paste, macadamia nut butter, sliced banana, raspberries and maple syrup.

Reasons why I have developed a minor obsession with uttapam:

> WHOLE FOOD- unlike most bread or pancake batters, they contain no refined grain

> PLANT- BASED PROTEIN- rice and lentils are a filling source of protein for vegans and vegetarians

> GLUTEN- FREE and DAIRY-FREE- if you have food sensitivities, they're probably still a safe bet

> GUT HEALTH- fermented food is easy to digest and keeps your microbiome (which includes the gut bacteria essential to all round health) perky

> HIGH FIBRE- brown rice is high in fibre which is cleansing for the gut and fabulous for maintaining that microbiome

> FAIRLY FOOLPROOF- if you have a good pan to cook them in, they're perfect every time

> ADAPTABLE- sweet or savoury; they're excellent both ways

> FAST FOOD- once the batter is made, it's super speedy to whip them up on demand.

Because this discovery has made me unreasonably happy and I'd love you to be happy too, here's the recipe:

  • In separate bowls, cover 200g pink lentils and 400g brown rice with plenty of water and soak overnight.

  • Drain, keeping the lentil soak water but discarding the water from the rice (which contains digestive enzyme inhibitors)

  • Blend the rice and lentils, 2tsp salt, the lentil soak water and enough additional water to make a batter the consistency of heavy cream. The smoother it is, the better your uttapam will be, so blend it mercilessly. You may need to blend in two batches.

  • Pour into a covered bowl, making sure it's large enough as the mixture will expand and grow.

  • Leave 12-24 hours until bubbly and risen, with a slightly sour smell.

  • To cook, ladle the mixture into a hot, heavy bottomed pan- if they are plain uttapam, the pan doesn't need to be greased. If your pancakes stick, use a little coconut oil. Make small pancakes to begin with, but once you get familiar with the cooking process you can make pan sized ones, if you want to, and slice them like pizza

  • When the pancake is golden brown on the underside and almost set on top (3-5 minutes), loosen at the edges and slide a spatula underneath. Flip and cook until the other side is done.

For savoury Uttapam, press thinly sliced onion, and other finely cut veggies (tomato, courgette, chilli etc) into the wet batter as the first side is cooking in the pan. Sprinkle with masala powder. When the top is set, baste the veggies with a tiny slick of coconut oil so that they don't stick when the pancake is turned. Cook the second side till golden.

For the sweet, deconstructed chocolate uttapam, turn the pancake to cook on the second side when the top is set through. Baste the cooked side with coconut oil and sprinkle it with cacao paste to melt while the second side is cooking. Pile on fruit and maple syrup and devour.

The batter keeps for up to a week in the fridge, stored in a closed glass jar. The mixture may thicken as it stands so dilute with a little extra water if necessary for subsequent batches.

Once it's made, the rest is almost as quick as making toast (but miles more nutritious) and super easy for kids to cook up for themselves before and after school. Happiness and health for the whole family :)

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