Chatamari : Savory Pancakes

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Thanks everyone for the sweet comments on Bailey Momo - she is a sweet heart and you can definitely count on updates of her in the future. 

Now let's talk food, remember the sneak peek of Chatamari from Marvelous in my Monday post. 

chatamari

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. 

chatamari
I faintly remember eating Chatamari more than a decade ago but when one of my friends posted a picture on facebook, I had an intense cravings for it and re-created it based on her directions and few online resources. I think it is traditionally made only with rice flour but for added flavor and texture I mixed in black lentils as well.
Chatamari : Savory Pancakes
Serves: 8-9
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Rinse and soak rice and lentils. It is recommended to leave it overnight but I only soaked for about 8 hours.
  2. 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.
  3. Leave it aside.
  4. In a food processor or using a knife, thinly mince chicken breast to the consistency of a ground meat.
  5. Rinse the processor and make a paste with onion, garlic, chili.
  6. In a small frying pan, heat oil over medium heat.
  7. Add onion-garlic paste and fry until slightly translucent, then add minced chicken mixing with the paste.
  8. Continue frying until chicken turns brown. Add turmeric powder, cumin, coriander powder and let it cook. Adjust salt and other spices as necessary.
  9. Remove from heat and keep it aside.
  10. Heat a medium frying pan (may use the same one used for cooking chicken after rinsing), add oil over low-medium heat.
  11. Using a ladle, pour about 1/3-1/4 cup batter making a thin layer resembling something in between pancake and crepes.
  12. Let it cook for 30 sec to a minute, then top with chicken mixture, & chopped tomatoes. Do not flip the pancake.
  13. 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.
  14. Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve it with your choice of chutney.
I served mine with aloo-achar (potato salad) and I think aloo-bodi tama (bamboo shoots with blackeyed peas soup) will go really with this too. Even though this recipe seems very lengthy and complicated, everything can be prepared in advance - it's actually not that bad. Just make sure the rice and lentil is pre soaked. Notes: For vegetarians: omit meat and use soy crumbles or veggie mixture instead. For vegans: omit egg (in batter and as topping) but it can be enjoyed by itself or use other vegan toppings.  -Caution: eating raw or uncooked eggs may cause Salmonella infections and should be avoided especially by young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness. -If stored properly in a closed container or sealed with plastic wrap, it can be reheated and eaten next day as well. 

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.