A savory and healthy pancake with lentils, brown rice and cabbage from India's Konkani cuisine.
Sanna Polo, a superhealthy Indian-style pancake packed with lentils, brown rice and veggies is a complete meal in itself. And if that sounds incredible to you, skip over and read the recipe.
In Konkan along India's west coast, where my dad's family hails from, "polo" is local for dosa: a food most of you are no doubt familiar with. Dosas, which spring from South India, are typically made with lentils and rice, and some, like Adai, have veggies thrown in. A Sanna Polo, which in Konkani translates to a "small dosa," usually has tuvar dal (split pigeon peas) and rice with cabbage as the honorary veggie of choice (although you can easily bump it with a leafy or even onions).
There are variations that set the basic Sanna Polo apart from a South Indian dosa. One is the use of tamarind which, although a common enough South Indian ingredient, isn't often found in dosas. The other is the use of coconut, a fruit that grows abundantly along the fertile Konkan coast and finds its way into nearly every Konkani dish.
My Sanna Polo veers slightly away from tradition, because I use in it a combination of dals: chana dal and tuvar dal. I also make it with brown rice to make it healthier. And although I usually almost always make my dosas crepe-thin, I rather like to make a Sanna Polo thick, as is traditional, because the outside gets really crispy and tastes great with a slightly softer center.
A reader, Raghavi, recently wrote to say that these days, when she sees a new recipe on Holy Cow!, the first question that springs to her mind is, did Jay like it? My favorite part of the post, she wrote, is Jay's verdict.
So for Raghavi, yes, Jay absolutely did like it, and he even polished off a couple for dinner, which is quite a feat for him.
Here's the recipe, all. Enjoy!
More recipes to try:
- Savory Crepes with Wild Mushroom Sauce
- Eggless Vegetable Omelet (Besan Cheela)
- Vegan Potato Sauerkraut Pancakes
- Savory Black Eyed Peas Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Vegan Garlicky Zucchini Quinoa Cakes
Savory Indian Pancakes with Lentils, Brown Rice and Cabbage | Sanna Polo
- 1 cup brown rice
- ½ cup chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
- ½ cup tuvar dal (toor dal, split pigeon peas)
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (if using tamarind pods soak a ½-inch ball in ½ cup of warm water for 20 minutes, then squeeze the solids with your hands to extract the pulp. Discard the solids.)
- ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut (you can substitute with ½ cup coconut milk)
- 3 cups cabbage (shredded)
- Salt to taste
- Soak the rice and dals together for two hours. Drain.
- Place all the ingredients except cabbage in a blender. Add enough water to make a pancake-like batter and blitz until you have a slightly coarse but even batter. The slight coarseness will give you crispier pancakes.
- Remove the batter to a bowl and mix in the cabbage.
- Let the batter stand about 10 minutes, then mix well.
- On a heated griddle sprayed with some oil, spread about ⅓ cup of the batter into an approximately five-inch pancake.
- Cook until the top starts to dry and the underside is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until golden spots appear.
- Serve hot with chutney. I love this with some tomato chutney.
These were wonderful. Just made them last week. I had to search to find the recipe again. I am glad I did. They will be a regular for us. They freeze well too! I don’t use oil so cooked them on a nonstick griddle and finished them in the oven, much like I do crepes and chickpea pizza. Love the spicing and flavors. Thank you.
So happy to hear, Diane!
What a coincidence!! We're having them as a side with rice, daLithoi and beans upkari 🙂 They're a family favourite.
Vaishali, you just made my day 😀
Never heard of this dish before...when I first read the heading I thought it was some sort of a Brazilian pancake 🙂
These sound like a perfect lunch box for my preschool going daughter!
Sarojini (Yogi Vegans)
Thanks for sharing this awesome dish! I had no idea it was an actual thing; my husband has been making pancakes like these in our Omniblend, with sweetcorn or beetroot or broccoli in. He sometimes uses whole mung and red rice too. They make such a great brunch/ snack with a spicy chutney and salad. I can definitely recommend these to all your readers who haven't yet tried them!
Hi, would these freeze well once cooked ? Just thinking if there was an oversupply , thank you for sharing, they look sooo good.
i'm afraid it still is not clear - we understand that the rice and deals need to be soaked, but are they soaked when they are cooked or raw? that is the question!
They are raw. You can't soak cooked rice and dal.
Joyce from Syracuse, NY
Vaishali, Forgive my ignorance regarding Indian food, but you do not indicate that the rice should be first cooked or, in the case of the dals, soaked. Should I assume that they are to be used in their raw state? I would love to try and make these. Thank you, Joyce.
Joyce, my mistake-- it's added now. The rice and dals need to be soaked for 2 hours. Thanks for pointing out.
Is the brown rice and dals all raw or are they cooked first and then blitzed?
Yes, they do need to be soaked for 2 hours and then blitzed. Thanks for pointing out-- added!