Mini semolina tamil “pizzas”

Mini semolina tamil “pizzas”

I Love India
10 small uttapam
Martin Poole

Uttapams are like pizzas, but lightly pan-fried and traditionally made from a batter of rice and lentils that is lightly fermented to give a certain sourness. The whole authentic process takes more than a day, so instead I often use this mixture of semolina and a little rice flour mixed with yogurt for sourness. It makes a light snack to serve to friends, or even to children as a meal. I have given two options for the topping below, so take your pick, as both are delicious. You can make these earlier in the day or the day before, and reheat them in a dry frying pan when you’re ready to eat.


Quantity Ingredient
90g fine or medium grain semolina
2 tablespoons rice flour, (optional, but makes them crispier)
70g plain yogurt, ideally sour, (if yours isn’t, use a little more)
1/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped root ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
1/2 tomato, finely chopped
1/2-1 small indian green finger chilli, thinly sliced
15 dried curry leaves, roughly crushed, or 10 fresh curry leaves, shredded
1/2 rounded teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Mix the semolina and rice flour with the yogurt and 120ml water and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. After 1 hour, add the cumin, onion, ginger, pepper, tomato, chilli, dried curry leaves (if using) and salt. You should have a batter that can hold its shape but isn’t not too thick. If that is not the case, stir in a little more water.
  3. Place a medium-large non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat and add 1 tbsp of the oil. When it is hot, add 1 tbsp batter for each uttapam, in heaps. Add around 5 of these. Cook over a low-ish heat until the underside is golden and crisp. Meanwhile, scatter over the shredded fresh curry leaves (if using). Flip over and cook this “presentation” side only until it has light golden spots in places. Place on kitchen paper to blot off excess oil and repeat with the rest of the batter and oil.
  4. Serve hot with your choice of topping, see below.

For a creme fraiche and tomato topping

  • Add a good pinch of brown mustard seeds to a little hot vegetable oil. Once they are popping, add 8 curry leaves. Follow 30 seconds later with ½ finely sliced red onion. Cook over a high heat, stirring often, until the edges darken. Add 2 small finely chopped tomatoes and continue cooking over a high heat, stirring, until the tomatoes soften and release some juices into the pan. Season and take off the heat. Serve the uttapams with a quenelle of crème fraîche, topped with a small spoon of the tomato mixture.

For a traditional chutney topping

  • Top each uttapam with 1 rounded tsp Coconut Chutney and sprinkle over some Dry Garlic Chutney.
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