Panoli is an extremely delicate crepe like preparation made with split moong beans. This deliciously nutritious delicacy belongs to the Jain community of Gujarat.
One of the best things about writing this blog has been the way people have opened their hearts and homes to welcome me into their space and expose me to the foods they hold as their own, foods they have loved and foods their loved ones made for them….
Panoli is a fairly new entrant in my repertoire of foods. It was a delicacy my dietician would often recommend me to eat and every time she included it in the plan I searched for reasons to skip making it, although I was given the recipe and explained the process very well. Why would I skip making and eating it? Well, because of the fear I had of making it. What if the batter fell in to the boiling water?? Well, the probability of that happening was very high (in my mind) . This fear prevented me from making Panoli for almost 15 years. During this time I have never eaten Panoli at any friend’s place or while dining out, because it is seldom made, of the many Jain families I know very few make it. So when Namita, a very dear friend mentioned about it during one of our late night chai sessions at her place I just jumped with joy . “Sheetalben, you should have Panoli at our place,” she had said. I was more than happy to accept the invite but that mutually convenient time also took a year to materialise. Nonetheless, Namita was gracious to have me at her place while I was in Ahmedabad this December. It was a lovely cookout we had over discussions that revolved around Jain foods, the passion with which the Jain mothers cooked, compared to which how little time they (the current generations) spend in the kitchen and the guilt and love of it all!! And of course the highlight of it all was getting to see Namita make Panoli which was later enjoyed with couple of steaming hot cups of ginger-mint tea…
I know you are wondering why would I fear making Panoli? Well, because it’s is the way to make it that intimidated me. To make a fine Panoli you need to spread an extremely thin layer of batter on a flat plate and invert it on a boiling pot of water. There are two stages that require extremely care, one is to spread the batter extremely thin, the second is to ensure that the water is boiling when the plate spread with batter is inverted over it. The Panoli takes few minutes to steam and cook. It is served hot with methiya masala ( Gujarati achar spice mix) infused sesame seeds oil and some fresh green chutney. The Panoli is rolled and dunked into the sesame oil and eaten in one bite. A word of caution, Panoli is extremely addictive hence, be prepared to work constantly near the stove if you plan to make it for breakfast.
Namita, thank you so much for giving us Panoli ( I ticked one on my blog bucket list) and cheers to few more of such cookouts with you 😍
- 1 cup green moong dal/ chotrawali mug ni dal/chilkewali moong dal
- 2 green chillies (more or less adjust to your taste)
- 1 inch ginger (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic (optional)
- salt to taste
- green chutney to serve
- sesame oil to serve
- methiyo ( Gujarati achar masala)
Wash the moong dal till the water runs clean.
Soak it in enough water for 4-5 hours.
In a mixer grinder crush the green chilies, ginger, garlic and salt. Add the soaked moong dal and grind to a thick batter.
Be careful while adding water, we are not looking for runny batter. Aim for a thick batter, add a tablespoon of water at a time to facilitate grinding.
Take out the batter in a bowl.
Place a Kadhai or patili/saucepan filled with little water over high flame. Bring the water to boil.
Take a dollop full of batter over a rimless plate and spread it very thin. Thinner the better.
Once you have spread it invert the plate on the kadai with simmering water and cook the Panoli for 5-7 minutes.
Carefully lift the plate, place it over a wire rack, cut in long strips and with the help of spatula push the Panoli strip to a serving plate.
Serve hot with coriander chutney and methiyo infused sesame oil.
The water has to be steaming hot to help Panoli cook, maintain the water temperature accordingly. the water should not touch the Panoli, hence keep the water level is the saucepan at a low. We do not need to grease the plate before spreading the batter. The greasing will not allow the batter to hold on to the plate hence DO NOT grease. It does require some practice. Thicker Panoli will taste good too so do not fuss if you cannot get thin Panoli in the beginning. The training video we shot while Namita was making Panoli will help you understand the process and venture into making Panoli.