Chatamari : Savory Pancakes
Now let's talk food, remember the sneak peek of Chatamari from Marvelous in my Monday post.
And you must be thinking - "what-in-the-world-is-chatamari?" I know I gave a hint earlier with a showed a picture...but what if I didn't ? You'd probably would wonder if it were an app, or some country maybe? Could it be a character? Or maybe I totally made it up? Well, okay I often make up words and lyrics but friends, chatamari is for real! Chatamari : rice flour based pancake/crepes, with a layer of ground meat of your choice and finally topped with eggs.
Also, if you don't know, I was born and raised in Nepal; the country of Mount Everest and chatamari hails from my beautiful motherland. It is a very traditional specialty of Newars (an ethnic group), usually eaten as an appetizer but it could be eaten as a main dish when accompanied with few other sides.
- For the batter
- 2 cups rice (I used Basmati)
- 1 cup split black lentils (Nepali: mas ko daal, Hindi: urad daal)
- 1 cup water
- 1 egg (omit if vegan)
- pinch of salt
- For the topping
- 2 skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small knob of ginger
- 2-3 teaspoon cumin+coriander powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1-2 green chili, optional
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 2-3 cilantro leaves, chopped
- 8-9 eggs (optional, only if desired as toppings)
- oil, for pan frying
- Rinse and soak rice and lentils. It is recommended to leave it overnight but I only soaked for about 8 hours.
- In a blender, add 1/2 rice and lentil with 1/2 cup of water then blend. Add the remaining rice and lentil with another 1/2 cup of water. Blend it until very smooth. Beat in egg and a pinch of salt. The final batter should be a consistency of pancake.
- Leave it aside.
- In a food processor or using a knife, thinly mince chicken breast to the consistency of a ground meat.
- Rinse the processor and make a paste with onion, garlic, chili.
- In a small frying pan, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onion-garlic paste and fry until slightly translucent, then add minced chicken mixing with the paste.
- Continue frying until chicken turns brown. Add turmeric powder, cumin, coriander powder and let it cook. Adjust salt and other spices as necessary.
- Remove from heat and keep it aside.
- Heat a medium frying pan (may use the same one used for cooking chicken after rinsing), add oil over low-medium heat.
- Using a ladle, pour about 1/3-1/4 cup batter making a thin layer resembling something in between pancake and crepes.
- Let it cook for 30 sec to a minute, then top with chicken mixture, & chopped tomatoes. Do not flip the pancake.
- Break an egg on top of the pancake if desired. I used a fork to break it up lightly in order to spread it over to make sure eggs get cooked completely. Cover it for 3-4 minutes or until the egg is completely cooked.
- Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve it with your choice of chutney.
Slice this into wedges and serve it as an appetizer or leave it whole - either way its pretty delicious. I was very happy with the way it turned out : the batter held together beautifully and toppings tasted great and most importantly I invited one of my Nepali friend to taste it and getting two thumbs up from her meant a lot. Thanks friend.
- have you ever heard of chatamari? or tried anything similar?
- how often do you make new recipes based off your memory from childhood? - please feel free to leave any tips, suggestions on making a better chatamari.