Uttapam is traditionally made from a fermented rice batter, but in my version I’ve swapped it out for the fermented sourdough.
It’s crazy to say but we are almost at the one year anniversary of the quarantine which means we are almost at the one year anniversary of when *everyone* embarked on their sourdough journey and wiped the shelves clean of flour.
I *had* a sourdough starter, aptly named Phoebe after the bubbly and zany character from the sitcom Friends. However, in a tragic story of abandonment, I killed Phoebe.
I was lucky that my friend Frances was gracious enough to give me another culture from the same starter that Phoebe originated from. And thus in the midst of a pandemic, Phoebe's identical sister, Ursula was born.
I made sure to feed Ursula more regularly since there wasn’t much else to do in the midst of the pandemic. Sometimes I even fed her more artisanal flour. This was in part due to my guilt for killing her sister but also out of necessity as the “regular” flour was nowhere in sight due to shortages.
Needless to say, Ursula has been thriving. But as y’all may know, from every feeding of your sourdough starter there is a lot of “discard” you don’t need.
I embarked on a quest to create a recipe to put Ursula to even more use. I tried a couple of recipes but ultimately ended up being inspired by a savory South Indian pancake called Uttapam whose tangy flavor is comparable to that of sourdough. Uttapam is traditionally made from a fermented rice batter, but in my version I’ve swapped it out for the fermented sourdough. The batter is ladled onto a pan with a copious amount of ghee and then topped with fresh vegetables and herbs. You can swap in almost any veggies you have laying around, however onion or shallots are a must. They slightly char and caramelize when the pancake is flipped and impart a sweet flavor that balances out the sour. Enjoy this sourdough Uttapam on its own or use it to scoop up your favorite chutney or soak up some sambar.Print