Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cucumber Pancakes

I love breakfast! I am something of an early bird: I am usually up by 6.30am or so even on weekends, and by 9am I am ready for a big breakfast. One breakfast favorite all over the world is pancakes. There is something very comforting about mixing up a big bowl of batter and frying it up so the whole home fills up with the sizzle and the is the perfect start to a relaxing weekend. I love all kinds of pancakes but today, I made these rather unusual ones. The recipe is from my paternal grandmother, who was Konkani. They are made with cucumbers and rice flour and their traditional name is "tausalli". Unlike traditional pancakes, they do not contain eggs or milk, making them vegan. The addition of sesame seeds adds a nice crunch and upps the nutritional value too! Rice flour is available in Indian grocery stores and is a useful pantry staple in my home.
Cucumber pancakes

(Makes 4-5 pancakes)
2 large cucumbers
1 cup rice flour
2 tbsp minced cilantro
2 chillies, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
1. Peel the cucumbers and grate them into a big bowl so as not to waste the juices.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except sesame seeds, and make a batter (of pancake consistency) with as much water as is required.
3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan. Drop a ladle-ful of batter into the pan and spread it around. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the batter. When the underside is crispy, flip over and cook the other side. Make more pancakes the same way, sprinkling sesame seeds on one side.
4. Serve hot with any relish/chutney/ketchup of your choice.

Two more tips:
1. You could add some yogurt to the batter to give it an ever so slightly tangy edge. 1/2 cup of yogurt or buttermilk + enough water to make the batter.
2. Add a tablespoon of rava (cream of wheat) to the batter to make the pancakes even crisper.
(Thanks to Lulu and Yoma for reminding me of these tips!)


  1. These sound great, Nupur. I still like things sweet at breakfast myself, but I can see these going onto my lunch menu.

  2. Any thoughts on whether other flours, especially all-purpose, might work? I really love how you share so many family but still "American accessible" dishes! But this one is the favorite so far. Alanna

  3. Wow, these pancakes sounds incredible! I've never heard of them before. And I love the sesame crunch that you add to it. I hope to try these someday.

  4. Tausalli sounds a lot like the South Indian rava dosa, Nupur. I'll have to try cucumber rava dosa soon...

  5. Wow, cucumber pancakes... I'll have to try making them just to see how they taste! :) My mom used to add cucumber to south indian "kootu" - for instance, in aviyal. I always found the taste of cooked/boiled cukes not ver nice. But maybe with sesame seeds and in a pancake, the taste wont show up. Like I said, gotta try it :)

  6. What a great idea Nupur. I have quite a quantity of cucumbers from my garden. I will give these a try.

  7. hi. most of our flour recipes are quite versatile and i think besan or other flours or even a mix flour should do just fine. try adding rava sometimes for crunchy 'jali' or try mixing curds in the batter instead of water. little sour curds which you would not relish otherwise would do just fine in dosas.great work .keep it, yoma.

  8. Hi Nic,
    I'm completely the opposite: I find sweet stuff "too much" in the morning :) But I am a big fan of eating breakfast at all times of day too!

    Hi AK,
    I am sure all-purpose would be fine, AK. It might need baking powder or some egg to make it fluffy the recipe might need some tweaking. Rice flour just has a nice crisp to might find some in health food stores too.

    Hi Mona,
    Sesame is really tasty here, hope you get a chance to try these.

    Lulu...that's true! It is quite similar to rava dosa. in fact, adding a spoonful of rava to this batter would make it even crisper...i'll edit the recipe to say that...thanks for reminding me.

    Hi Shyam, I know what you mean about cooked cucumber...but in this recipe the cucumber is grated fine and the pancakes take only a few minutes to make so the texture of the cuke is really quite fresh and nice.

    Ana, how lucky! You have cucumbers from your garden!
    If they happen to have a thin skin, I would suggest leaving the skin on (much more nutrition that way)

    Hi yoma, thats true...i'm going to add the rava and yogurt tips..thanks for reminding me!

  9. They look so yummy! Nupur mmmmm!!!

  10. Hi Nupur
    Came in to check this recipe as I was reading about it at Cooking with Amy.....It's absolutely the next thing I'm trying. I added your blog to on my favorite list now
    I'm in Mexico City, if you need any help with mexican food e-mail me at

  11. Clare, thanks :) love your need to come try some for yourself!

    Hi Manuel, thanks for stopping by! I love love love mexican food, and make mexican-inspired food often (i;m just learning! ).
    Rava is coarsely ground wheat...rather sandy in texture. it is sold as "cream of wheat" in american stores...and "rava" labeled as such can be found in indian stores.

  12. Hi Shakthi, you are right: rava is technically termed semolina but in the states the trade name "cream of wheat" is easiest to find. I have personally never found packages named "semolina" in groceries around where I live.

  13. Hi Nupur,

    Finally, I made the Cucumber Pancakes! You'll see I have some questions about the flour, the texture. But they were good! Many thanks for another inspiration! Alanna

  14. Hey Nupur, have been trying a few things from ur blog lately.. vada paav, cucumber pancake, veggie soup to name a few.. everything turned out pretty nice.. not sure even u wud read this.. but still wanted to appreciate.. ur blog is quite different and nice.. thanks !


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