I was looking after my friends cat last week in Dublin. The sweetest little cat. I kept her well fed, but it won’t surprise you to hear that I love to feed people even more. When my friend was on her way back from the airport I asked her if she would like some dal pancakes. She replied: I have never had them, sounds good! My reply: well you won’t have, I am just making them from leftover dal, but they are very good! Dal pancakes are sheer joy. Fluffy like an American pancake, and shaped just so too. But made of leftover dal and tasting gently of it, with coconut milk, an egg, self raising flour and salt, and just that.
Cooking for comfort
After weeks of travelling and lots of eating out, I craved simplicity once I had a kitchen again. Not my kitchen, but my friends kitchen in Dublin, and so I kept it simpler again. I wanted dal, dumplings, I wanted an excellent steak. Pasta loomed large on my culinary horizon. I went overboard on my first day in the local shop. The second day too. Then as I wandered, as I do, I discovered a Chinese shop and an Indian shop. I stocked up on spices and dumpling wrappers and sauces. I went too far, I always do and I arrived at my sisters house after Dublin with a collection of herb plants and half a pantry.
Making dal pancakes from leftover dal
When making my dal – and I make it simply, moong dal cooked with water, turmeric and salt, the flavour added after, usually as a tadka (spice mix tempered in oil) – I thought I would just make a bit pot of it. The next day the leftover dal became gorgeous fried patties with crisped curry leaves and other bits for breakfast. I figured I would play around and loosened the dal with coconut milk, then thickened it with self raising flour, and bound it with an egg.
The first pancake is for the pan, especially so in this case as I initially forgot the egg and it was loose, loose, LOOSE, but it was delicious. The flavours were there. In with the egg and the pancakes were perfect. I made them again just to be certain, and who doesn’t want to eat them again. the first time just with cups as I could not locate the scales, the second time with scales and so you have both sets of measurements.
Notes on dal
Dal is super simple, I like to cook mine quite thick and not too loose. Just soupy. I put the moong dal in a pan with turmeric and sea salt, then I cover with hot water from the kettle so that there is about an inch of water above. I cook it gently until very soft – up to 40 minutes, adding more water a little at a time if necessary. When I leave the leftovers overnight they tend to absorb most of the fluid leaving something more akin – almost – to a mash. Leftover dal cooks very well just as a patty, bound with a little flour and an egg. Also dipped in a light batter and fried. I am also partial to a leftover dal kofte. What do you do with your leftover dal?
- 300g leftover dal (mine used moong dal - see notes above on making dal) / 1 cup leftover dal
- 100g self raising flour / 1/2 cup self raising flour
- 150ml coconut milk
- 1 egg
- salt, to taste
- oil or ghee for frying
- curry leaves
- coriander leaves
- spring onions, sliced
- chopped green chillies
- coconut milk
- chilli oil