This is my new favourite fancy party dish, the one that will wow my guests and have them think I am some sort of culinary Goddess. This is my new favourite, "Look T! see what I made for lunch!" dish. I may even make it for breakfast, infact this might be the biggest motivation to get up in the morning!
Chatti Pathiri also called Chatti pathal is commonly made by the Malabar Muslim community in Kerala during Ramadan at Iftar, the period where Muslims break their fast, and also at wedding and special occasions. It can be made with sweet filling as a sweet dish and also made with savory meat filling, it is also called Atti Pathal. (As from Shab's Cuisine)
What it is- layers and layers of soft, spongy crepes with a spicy masala / or sweet cardamom scented coconut and raisin filled in between them. Malayli's Lasagna is definitely the best description for it!
When I first encountered this on Ria's blog, I just about fell off my chair. What was this strange creature?
I had never heard of it before, much less tasted it. My faith in my knowledge of Kerala cuisine-( the food of my people, the one I grew up on for crying out loud!) was shaken. It was at that moment that I realized that what I knew was probably just a drop in a vast sea of culinary treasures. There was so much more to learn about it, the cuisine of one tiny state, in a vast country of contrasts. That was when The Kerala Kitchen- a monthly cooking event featuring dishes inspired by Kerala, was born. Along with Ria, and our wonderfully talented members, we are on a mission to rediscover the cuisine of Kerala. To learn and share what we learn, but most of all, to have fun, to cook and eat some really good food :) Join us!
For our very first Kerala Kitchen Challenge- to take us out of our comfort zones and attempt a new dish we may not have tried before, it had to be the Chatti Pathiri, which was was new, strange and exciting, not just to me but to many Malaylis who were not so familiar with the Malabar cusine.
If you would like to take part in this challenge and make your own Chatti Pathiri, come join us at the Kerala Kitchen on our new blog here
In the beginning I was very intimidated, just because it looked so complicated. It's not! You just make the crepes as you would pancakes or dosa, spreading the batter in a skillet or non stick pan and then stack them in layers, with the filling in between in a cake tin or saucepan with tall sides so that it forms the round shape of the pan. That's it! It takes just a little time, not even waay too much, but it's definitely more than worth it for the "Oh wow!" reactions you get to soak up later :)
I used Ria's recipe, but wanted to try it with Whole Wheat flour and coconut oil and I have to say, it is one of the best things I have ever made! Thanks again Ria, for another great treasure!
Ria prefers the AP version, so I suggest that you try it with AP flour too. We love whole wheat flour and love the nutty, rustic taste of it, but Ap flour will yield even softer results.
You can also make the Chatti Pathiri with vegetarian fillings and I have mentioned some suggestions.
Also check out the awesome Kerala cooking queen Shab's version of a sweet Chatti Pathiri
Whole Wheat Chatti Pathiri
Recipe source: Slight variation from Ria's recipe here
For the filling:
Minced chicken/Boiled & shredded chicken- 500g ( I used bell pepper and garlic stuffed chicken sausages which I slit the casing of and cut up into tiny pieces with kitchen shears)
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Onions-2 big, chopped fine
Ginger - 1" piece minced
Garlic paste- 6-7 cloves
Green chillies- 4, or to taste
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder- 1 tsp ( Optional- not part of Ria's recipe)
Coriander leaves-1 bunch,chopped
Oil- 2 tbsp(preferably coconut oil for the authentic taste)
Ghee- 1 tsp ( I did not use)
Vegetables like onions, mushroom, bell peppers, tomatoes, as well as paneer and soy nuggets can be used instead of the chicken- cook them with coriander powder, turmeric and salt and chop them into tiny pieces
This can also be made with ground beef instead of the chicken.
For the pancakes:
Flour/Maida- 2 cups ( I used 2 cups whole wheat flour instead for a nutty, rustic flavor, but Ria recommends sticking to Ap flour for softer results)
Water- as needed ( I needed about 2 and a half cups to achieve a crepe like consistency- but add water a little at a time and keep checking so it's not too watery but a pourable consistency similar to crepe or dosa batter and not as thick as for pancakes)
Salt- to taste ( I used about 1/4 tsp)
Coconut milk- 400 ml ( I used canned coconut milk like Ria, so it was thick. She states that you can use thin or thick milk)
Coriander leaves- 4 sprigs, chopped
Ghee/Clarified Butter- 2 tsp ( I used 2 tsp coconut oil instead)
Equipment: You can make the crepes in a flat bottom pan like a non stick/cast iron skillet/ Dosa kallu and you will need a cake pan ( if you plan to bake it) or a mid size (8 inch) sauce pan ( If you plan to cook it on the stovetop which is what I did) Basically the size doesn't really matter- make the crepes about the same size or slightly larger than the saucepan/cake tin.Do not use a cake tin/ sauce pan that is much larger than the crepes, otherwise the layers won't stack as neatly.
For the filling:
- Cook the chicken mince ( or vegetables, if using) with coriander powder and salt till tender & all the water is evaporated.( I did this in the saucepan)
- Grind ginger, garlic and green chillies together. ( I just minced them fine with my knife, didn't grind them)
- Heat oil, add the onions and saute it till transparent. Add the ground/minced ginger, garlic and green chillies and stir for a while.
- Add the cooked minced chicken ( Or cooked vegetables if using) and mix well. Add in the powders and chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
- Check for salt.Drizzle the ghee/coconut milk, mix well.Keep aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt , egg and enough water to make a smooth , not-so- thick batter.
- Line your work area with newspaper or parchment paper.
- Heat a flat bottomed pan/ nonstick/cast iron skillet/pancake griddle/dosa kallu, pour a ladle full of batter over it and make thin crepe/dosa/pancakes out of it. ry and make the crepes about the same diameter as the cake tin/saucepan you will be layering it in later. They don't have to be perfect, slightly bigger than the cake tin/saucepan is ok. Try not to make them too small or too thick. If you rip some a little don't worry, you can still use them.
- Do not flip, just cook on one side.
- Transfer them to the newspaper/parchment paper so that they don't stick to each other. ( I had very little issues with sticking maybe because I used whole wheat flour)
- Mix the coconut milk and coriander leaves together.
- Take a medium sized saucepan (8") or a cake tin of the same size and smear the bottom of the pan with 2 tsp of ghee/ coconut oil
- Take a crepe/dosa/pancake and dip it in the coconut milk ( don't dip for more than 2-3 seconds, as it wil get soggy and might rip off) and put in the pan.
- Sprinkle some filling over it. Cover it with another coconut milk-dipped crepe. Repeat till the crepes and filling is over. You can dot some ghee/coconut oil in between each layers too.
- Pour the remaining coconut milk over it. It may or may not cover the whole assembly of pancakes.
- Put the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook till the coconut milk is absorbed.
- If you are baking, pre-heat the oven to 180C and bake till the coconut milk is absorbed.
- (You will clearly see that the edges have become dry, that's when you need to switch off the flame or take it out of the oven.)
- Invert a plate/serving dish over the saucepan/ cake tin. Then holding the plate firm against the mouth of the tin/saucepan, flip the tin/pan so that it is now resting on the plate.
- Carefully remove the cake tin/saucepan.
- Look at the wonder you have created and pinch yourself in case you think you are dreaming!
The whole wheat gave the crepes a rustic, nutty taste (vaguely like rotis and paranthas) and made this very, very filling. After two slices, we were stuffed! The coconut oil was a wonderful choice as it complimented the coconut milk to give some strong Kerala flavour. If you don't like the taste of coconut oil- then you are clearly not a true Malayali :P In that case use ghee or melted butter instead.
If you rip or tear the crepes a little you can still use it. But if you tear them a lot/make them too thick or are generally not too happy with them, don't throw them away, make some mock kothu paratas by cutting them into small pieces, stir frying them along with some of the filling, and scrambling some eggs over them as well, a tip I got from the beautiful blog of Archana
If you have left over crepes and filling- make Khatti rolls, by putting a generous amount of filling on a crepe and rolling it to encase the filling inside.
I snacked on so many crepes while I was making this, that I had to make a second batch of crepe batter :(
If you enjoy this and like cooking with Whole grain, check out my other whole grain recipes here
For more Kerala Recipes, click here
Or go to our treasure trove of Kerala inspired dishes from all our wonderful members over at the Kerala Kitchen