Crepes apparently have roots in ancient Roman times (Foodtimeline), though later largely recognized to be a French delicacy. I wonder though, how far away in Southern India a very similar concept originated and stayed within that small region? Though the great Indian Dosas have gained quite a world recognition, it’s little sister Neeru Dose, as it’s known in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, hasn’t. Neeru Dose (meaning watery Dosa) is nothing but the Indian counterpart of our beloved French Crepe. These delicate pancakes are made from very thin batter cooked on a hot pan to a crispy yet moist perfection.
Unlike the European counterparts, South Indian Crepes are made from Rice batter. Along the tropical coastline of Southern India, where I have my origins, Neeru Dose is quite popular breakfast item and goes by the name “Tellavvu”. With every dish having a different name every few miles in India, I would imagine there are many more names to it, but, the preparation does not differ greatly.
The thin Crepes are delightfully crispy on the outer side and deliciously moist on the inside.
Mostly the French Crepes get their variety from the filling, while the Indian Crepe, especially the coastal ones, variety is brought in by adding different vegetables in the batter. In this post, I am presenting one such variety- Green Jackfruit Crepe. In tropical regions of India, Jackfruit is a summer favorite and finds itself in many recipes used in all forms, seed to pulp, raw or ripe.
- White Rice – 2 Cups
- Green JackFruit Pulp – 2 Cups
- Grated Coconut (Optional) – ½ Cup
- Salt – To the taste
- For the Sides
- Spicy Coconut Mixture
- Grated Coconut – 1 Cup
- Mustard Seeds – ½ tb spoon
- Urad Dal – ½ tb spoon
- Red Chillis – 1 or 2
- Asafoetida – 1 pinch
- Turmeric – ¼ tb spoon
- Oil – 2-3 tb spoons
- Salt – To the taste
- Jaggery Syrup
- Grated Jaggery – 1 cup
- Water – 1 cup
- Ghee – 1 spoon
- Soak rice for 6-7 hours
- In a blender mix drained rice, green Jackfruit pulp and grated coconut with salt
- Add water and grind it to a very fine paste
- Add water to make the batter very thin, runny consistency
- Keep a pan/griddle on stove on high heat
- On the hot pan, pour the batter bit by bit, almost like splashing, slowly bringing into round shape (you will get a hang of it after first couple debacle)
- If you end up drawing world map while trying to get a perfect round shape don’t worry, it still tastes good!
- Cover a lid on top for couple of minutes
- Once the sides of the crepe starts leaving the pan, take a thin spatula and slowly make it’s way around the Crepe
- Get half the Crepe out of the Crepe out of the pan and fold it on the other half, get the other half out of the pan slowly
- Serve hot with spicy coconut mixture and Jaggery Syrup, Yumm!!
- Spicy Coconut Mixture:
- Heat the oil, add mustard, Urad Dal, Asafoetida and Red Chilli pieces. Once Mustard splutters, add Turmeric. In a bowl, take the grated coconut, add the seasoning, salt and mix thoroughly with hand.
- Jaggery Syrup
- In a pan, add Jaggery and water, keep it on a medium flame, bring it to a boil stirring occasionally. After 15- 20 mins, jaggery turns into a thick syrup. Add a spoon of Ghee on top.
The closest reference to these Indian Crepes is to the Appam, which uses a similar batter but, the pan used gives it a different texture.
Given that Appam is referenced in one of the Ancient Indian scriptures along side the Idiyappam, it is likely that these Indian Crepes have been around for a very very long time. Though by itself bland, the texture is what makes this dish fun. To jazz up the Crepe, there are varieties of side dishes served along with it. The sides can be both savory or sugary, allowing you to change it to a savory crepe or a dessert Crepe by the bite!
The most tasty side companion for this in my opinion is, the raw grated coconut mildly seasoned with typical Indian seasoning of mustard seeds and Urad dal with a dash of red chillis. For the sweet tooth, either a sugar syrup or a jaggery syrup can be used. Sugar syrup is made by dissolving sugar in water and brining it to a boil with a dash of cardamom and a spoon of Ghee. Jaggery is typically produced in liquid format in these parts which is mixed with Ghee and used as side dish for a lot of rice based snacks like Crepe. However, you can make a syrup from the solid Jaggery as well. Whether you like it sweet or savory, this fine delicacy is sure to satisfy you food cravings. Try this winter and enjoy!