Uthappam

In April of 2022, we took a long, and long awaited vacation that included a few days in the Maldives. That destination was over my birthday, which made everything extra special. Our hotel was the Four Seasons Maldives located on the Baa atoll. To simply say our stay there was exquisite is an understatement; everything about the resort and staff was perfect.

Of course the food was spectacular. If I showed all of the photos of what I ate during our visit the post would be too long, but I did enjoy a lot of grilled lobsters, fish, octopus, salmon poke and ceviche, plus Indian specialties. Heavenly.

On our first morning, my actual birthday, we went to a beautiful breakfast spot with an incredible view. As you can see, the staff wanted me to have a fabulous birthday! So this was our table, and the below right photo shows only part of the breakfast buffet.

At the buffet I was intrigued by a pancake called Uthappam, and asked for one, served with an egg. Turns out it’s a South Indian specialty, also spelled Uttapam, served with sambar and two coconut chutneys.

I couldn’t wait to make these once home, so I started researching. It’s not as straight forward as I assumed, which is probably why the pancake was so darn good. A dosa batter is essential to make these pancakes. Here is an example of a dosa batter from the food blog Food Viva, which involves soaking, cooking, grinding, plus a fermentation step.

Instead, I went to my local deli Amazon, and purchased a mix, which was an acceptable option according to the recipe I chose to use for my Uthappam here on Food Viva.

I placed all of the chopped veggies on paper towels to absorb liquid. This was especially important, I felt, for the tomatoes.

Maybe one day I’ll try the making real dosa batter, but the mix was good, and you could taste the fermentation tang.

Uthappam, or Uttapam

2 cups Dosa Batter (homemade or readymade)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped tomato
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped (I used jalapeños)
Oil for shallow frying
Salt to taste

Prepare the batter at home by following this recipe or buy the readymade batter from the grocery store. Add salt (if not added before fermenting the batter) and water (if needed) in batter; mix well.

I prepared the mix according to the recipe on the package, I think. There was a bit of a translation issue. I had to add a lot more liquid to create a pancake consistency.

Heat cast iron tava or non-stick tawa over medium flame. Add few drops of oil on hot tawa and spread it using a halved potato or a halved small onion. This process helps spreading of batter and also prevents it from sticking. Repeat this process before making each uttapam. (I didn’t do this.)

When tawa is ready, pour one ladle batter and spread it in round shape by gently rotating the ladle in clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. I used a ladle, but also switched to my right hand after the photo! This pan is a Le Creuset flat cast-iron grill that I use quite often.

Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped onion and 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped capsicum over it. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon finely chopped tomato and finely chopped green chillies over it. Gently press the veggies with a spatula. (I had mixed all of the veggies together.)

Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil around the edge. Cook for approx.2-3 minutes until bottom surface turns light golden brown. If you are making very thick uttapam, cover it with a lid to speed up the cooking process. Flip it gently and cook another side for a minute or until the bottom surface looks cooked. This is an important step otherwise the veggie side would be raw.

Transfer it to a plate. Repeat the process for remaining batter.

Serve it hot with coconut chutney or tomato onion chutney. (I thought a little yogurt or sour cream would be good!)

Plus I served it with an egg!

Tips and Variations:
The batter spread should not be very thin otherwise veggies will not stick with batter.
If batter is refrigerated, remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before making the uttapam.
Sprinkle only onion and green chilli to make Onion Uttapam.
If you are making it for kids, garnish it with shredded or grated mozzarella cheese to give it a tempting Pizza look.
Add vegetables of your choice and according to the availability.
Add grated carrot, sweet corn, green beans etc. to enhance its flavor and taste.
Author: Foram

By Published On: July 12th, 202246 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

46 Comments

  1. angiesrecipes July 12, 2022 at 7:03 AM - Reply

    What a great vacation and birthday celebration! The savoury pancake looks very inviting, Mimi.

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:23 AM - Reply

      They were so good I knew I’d try making them. I just didn’t know it would involve so much to make them from scratch!

  2. Travel Gourmet July 12, 2022 at 7:04 AM - Reply

    Sounds like a fabulous birthday and great recipe. Belated happy birthday wishes! 🎉🍾

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:22 AM - Reply

      I love these pancakes! Very different. I’ll be making them again!

  3. popsiclesociety July 12, 2022 at 8:20 AM - Reply

    This sounds like a great way to start your day with 😋 And what a magical birthday celebrations 🎉☀️ Happy Birthday even if it’s late 😉

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:21 AM - Reply

      Thank you so much! It was a pretty incredible and unexpected day of celebration!

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen July 12, 2022 at 8:47 AM - Reply

    What a wonderful recipe, and what lovely memories every time you make this! That’s the best thing about travel and food.

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 9:14 AM - Reply

      It certainly is the best thing about traveling. Memories, and especially food memories!

  5. terrie gura July 12, 2022 at 11:51 AM - Reply

    I’m in awe of you, Mimi, for how quick you are to try at home recipes from your travels! My first taste of dosa was my honeymoon in NYC; my hubby and I enjoyed an amazing lunch at an Indian restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens. I fell in love with all the foods, and promptly found a market to buy the ingredients for dosa. Five years later… I still haven’t tried it!! Thank you for making it approachable, and for the tip about spreading the oil with the onion half. Brilliant!

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 5:56 PM - Reply

      Well, these were just so good and unique. Years ago I would have attempted the traditional recipe, but I didn’t mind trying the mix. My daughter just sent me an instagram of someone making these, and she said that buttermilk provided the tang, but didn’t mention the other ingredients. Anyway, this was fun!

  6. Ronit July 12, 2022 at 6:09 PM - Reply

    A nice way to celebrate your birthday, this looks like a great breakfast item.
    I doubt I’d try to make the authentic batter, so it’s great to know that the mix worked well. The veggies actually reminded me of Mexican salsa. :)

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:20 PM - Reply

      Except for the bell peppers, yes, and so refreshing to have the array of vegges. They were just so good I had the pancakes every day we were there.

  7. Debra July 12, 2022 at 6:33 PM - Reply

    This recipe actually calls to me! I think I can taste it. :-) Of course served at the beautiful Four Seasons this would be over the top special, but served in my own kitchen I’d still be in love! I am eager to source the mix you tried. That would make this a very welcome recipe.

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:19 PM - Reply

      It was good even in Oklahoma! The mix was good. My daughter just sent me an Instagram of someone making these pancakes, who said that buttermilk supplies the tang. But she didn’t say anything else about the batter ingredients.

  8. Raymund July 12, 2022 at 7:51 PM - Reply

    One of my dream vacations is on Maldives, lucky you :) BTW that pancake looks good, I bet they it would be really tasty coming from a South Indian recipe, tomatoes and chillies give them a lot of life

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:18 PM - Reply

      It was definitely a dream trip, and the assortment of cuisines was astonishing!

  9. Sherry M July 12, 2022 at 7:58 PM - Reply

    all the food looks wonderful mimi. What a lovely birthday break. Yes i vote for buying the dosa thingy too. Life is too short …

    • Chef Mimi July 12, 2022 at 8:16 PM - Reply

      I would have done it years ago, but now, I agree with you!!!

  10. Tandy | Lavender and Lime July 13, 2022 at 4:08 AM - Reply

    I think I would also buy the ready made dosa! And that breakfast buffet looks like something I could spend a few hours enjoying ;)

    • Chef Mimi July 13, 2022 at 7:22 AM - Reply

      that photo didn’t even show all of the offerings. It was pretty impressive, and most everything made to order, not just sitting there heating up or drying out!

  11. Ben | Havocinthekitchen July 13, 2022 at 6:34 AM - Reply

    I’ve never tried Uthappam (Nor even dosa!), but I’m intrigued as I love savoury pancakes. The combination of textures and flavours sounds wonderful!

    • Chef Mimi July 13, 2022 at 7:20 AM - Reply

      I love savory pancakes as well. This version is quite unique!

  12. John / Kitchen Riffs July 13, 2022 at 9:49 AM - Reply

    Sounds like a wonderful time! Happy belated birthday. :-) Much as I love pancakes of all kinds, I’ve never made Indian ones — always a restaurant thing for me. I should give this a whirl — really nice looking recipe. Thanks!

    • Chef Mimi July 13, 2022 at 10:35 AM - Reply

      It’s a really good savory pancake, and has given me ideas for other pancakes as well. I hope you try it.

  13. David @ Spiced July 13, 2022 at 2:11 PM - Reply

    Happy belated birthday to you, Mimi! I’m not gonna lie – eating grilled lobsters in the Maldives sounds like a pretty fantastic way to celebrate a birthday! :-) I wasn’t familiar with uthappam before reading this post, but it sounds delicious. And I love that local deli Amazon, too! :-)

    • Chef Mimi July 13, 2022 at 3:48 PM - Reply

      Lobsters and octopus!!!! What a great place for a birthday.

  14. For the Love of Cooking July 13, 2022 at 3:33 PM - Reply

    I’ve never had this dish but it looks and sounds wonderful.

    • Chef Mimi July 13, 2022 at 3:47 PM - Reply

      It was delicious. So unique.

  15. Ann Coleman July 13, 2022 at 4:09 PM - Reply

    I must say, you know how to celebrate your birthday in style!

    • Chef Mimi July 13, 2022 at 4:29 PM - Reply

      The tour itinerary just happened to be over my birthday, with the big day in the Maldives. Boy was it hot!

  16. thatskinnychickcanbake July 13, 2022 at 6:35 PM - Reply

    What a grand adventure!! Thanks for sharing one of the memorable dishes you enjoyed—I can see why!!

    • Chef Mimi July 14, 2022 at 7:14 AM - Reply

      Yeah… it was really good, and so unique!

  17. Hannah July 15, 2022 at 4:10 PM - Reply

    That vacation is the stuff that dreams are made of! I’m so glad you took the inspiration to make uthappam and ran with it. I’ve been intimidated with making them at home, but now it seems easy.

    • Chef Mimi July 15, 2022 at 5:43 PM - Reply

      Well, with the mix it’s easy. I’ve gotten too lazy to do some foods from scratch. I used to do it all, even paneer. But the mix worked, and the pancakes are delicious!

  18. Valentina July 16, 2022 at 4:25 PM - Reply

    Happy (belated) Birthday, Mimi! I’m so intrigued as I’ve never used Dosa flour. This recipe is so interesting and looks divine. I couldn’t help myself and looked up the Four Seasons in the Maldives. I gasped at the photos — how unbelievably stunning!!! :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi July 17, 2022 at 5:28 PM - Reply

      I know. It was so beautiful. Every time I took a photo of the hotel I felt like I was doing a shoot for a magazine.

  19. David Scott Allen July 17, 2022 at 12:55 PM - Reply

    I love uthappam (and dosas!) and this looks wonderful. My local Indian dukkan tells me the batter mixes are excellent and it’s what she uses at home. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Chef Mimi July 17, 2022 at 5:27 PM - Reply

      Well she’s certainly correct. I’ve also seen that buttermilk can be used for extra zing.

  20. Angela July 17, 2022 at 6:14 PM - Reply

    That looks delicious! I dream of going to the Maldives. On my bucket list. I’m glad you had a wonderful time. Happy Birthday!

    • Chef Mimi July 17, 2022 at 7:20 PM - Reply

      Thank you! I’m not one for sitting in the sun, so we did the spa and ate a lot!!

  21. nancyc July 17, 2022 at 7:00 PM - Reply

    Sounds like a wonderful birthday trip and the uthappam looks delicious! :)

    • Chef Mimi July 17, 2022 at 7:21 PM - Reply

      Thanks. It was delicious!

  22. Pauline July 17, 2022 at 7:37 PM - Reply

    Happy belated birthday Mimi, what a wonderful place to spend your birthday. So special. All the food looks so delicious, and the pancakes especially so. Great research with fabulous results.

    • Chef Mimi July 17, 2022 at 7:57 PM - Reply

      Thanks, Pauline! It was all so fabulous – all kinds of cuisines and the most wonderful array of seafood. Heaven!!!!

  23. neil@neilshealthymeals.com July 18, 2022 at 6:42 AM - Reply

    So jealous! We were supposed to be in The Maldives in February 2021. But of course it was cancelled because of you know what. Cannot wait to get there one day. The place you stayed looks amazing and as for the food, wow! I can create my own small part Maldives here now with this Uthappam. Thanks. It looks delicious!

    • Chef Mimi July 18, 2022 at 6:59 AM - Reply

      Oh, I’m so sorry. We were so ready to travel after the forced hiatus. And it was beautiful.

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