This is the first time I am taking part in the Indian Cooking Challenge conducted by Srivalli. The challenge she has selected for this month is a traditional sweet pastry of Kerala. It is called as chatti pathiri. The name chatti pathiri comes from the pan in which it is cooked. Chatti is nothing but the pan. Here pastry sheets (called pathiri in Malayalam) are kept as layers one above the other with filling in between them. This dish is mainly prepared in the Malabar region of North Kerala. This dish resembles Italian lasanga.
Chatti pathiri is prepared in both sweet and savoury versions. For both versions sweet or savoury, the method of preparing the pancakes remain the same, but the filling differs. For sweet version, sweetened eggs are mixed with crushed nuts and cardamom. Savoury ones are made with egg or meat filling. Meat filling is prepared in the way samosa fillings are prepared. But for both the versions, the dough is prepared in the same way. Here we make use of all purpose flour. The flour is kneaded with enough water to form a soft dough and then they are rolled to form thin pancakes of same size. These pastry sheets are often soaked in milk or egg white to soften them.
Also there is another important ingredient which is extensively used in Malabar cooking which is poppy seeds.
Here Srivalli has presented us with a challenge to cook this as a vegetarian dish. Normally once you read the recipe you get a feeling that it is very easy to prepare the dish. Yes, you are right. It’s very easy to prepare this dish. But the main challenge lies in flipping the pathiri to the other side. You arrange each pancake one above the other with fillings in between. So when one side is cooked, it should be turned to the other side. So , it was a great challenge to lift it up slowly and flip it to the other side, without breaking.
For Pancakes / Pathiri
- 1 cup Plain flour
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tin condensed milk
- 4 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 7 tbsp Grated coconut
- 3 tbsp Raisins
- 3 tbsp Cashew nuts(Chopped finely)
- 3 tbsp Almonds (chopped finely)
- 4 tbsp Poppy seeds
- 3 tbsp cardamom powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 5 tbsp Cardamom powder and powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp Ghee
Preparation for Pathiris
- Mix the flour with water, oil and salt and knead into a dough like that of chappati. Keep it covered for half an hour.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Using a roller pin, roll it out into paper-thin chappaties/round flat bread of uniform size (6 Inches inches diameter) on a dusted flour board.
- 3.Heat a griddle and cook the chapatti’s /round flat bread lightly on a tawa. Keep them aside. You should be able to get 8 chapatti’s with this amount.
- Note: You can vary the size of the chapatti /round flat bread depending on the size of the pathiri chatti or the vessel in which you are baking it.
Preparation for the Filling
- Heat a Large frying pan. Add ghee and sauté raisins, cashew nuts, poppy seeds, almonds, sesame seeds till seem a little golden brown . Then sauté grated coconut along with cardamom powder until they start to change the colour slightly.
- Mix the above with half a tin of condensed milk and keep aside. Taste to check the level of sweetness. Add more condensed milk if required.
Preparation for Coating and Assembly
- For coating, make the coconut milk from the coconut .(I have made use of fresh coconut milk. Fresh coconut milk always gives a wonderful taste. ) If you already have ready-made coconut milk, then to this, cardamom powder and powdered sugar and keep aside.
- Take a non-stick baking tray, or a deep skillet and spread couple of teaspoons oil or ghee / clarified butter all around.
- Keep one pathiri/flat bread as the first layer. Using a spoon sprinkle the nut mix filling on top of the pathiri/flat bread.
- Dip the second chappathi/flat bread in the coconut milk mixture, coat well and place it on top of the filling.
- Sprinkle the condensed milk -nut mixture again and repeat this until all the pathiris, the coconut milk mix and the nut mixture is used up and pathiri being the top layer. Pour the remaining coconut milk mixture on top of pathiri (a generous amount) so that it drains on all the gaps on sides and form a thin layer on top. This is important to keep the Chatti Pathiri moist. If you run out of the coconut milk mixture after coating, make more and mix with sufficient sugar and cardamom and pour on top.
- Cook it on a stove top in a non stick deep skillet or deep pan. All you have to do is to place it at a very low flame and flip it carefully to cook on the other side. The flipping becomes a bit easy when the lowest layer of flat bread/pathiri is a little hard. When both the sides have cooked well, it is easy to slide it out of the pan into the serving plate.
- You can also bake in oven for about 15 minutes or until the top of pathiri turns golden.
- Make the dough and allow it to rest for half an hour
- Prepare the pathiri / flat bread. I have made it very thin.
- Prepare the filling. Heat ghee, roast the sesame seeds, cashew, almonds, poppy seeds, and raisins.
- Add scraped coconut and cardamom powder, sauté it again
- Mix it with condensed milk.
- Heat griddle, place one flatbread below, and then with spoon add one layer of filling.
- Soak the flat bread in coconut milk.
- Place it on top of the filling. Repeat the steps 6, 7 and 8. Pour the remaining coconut milk on top of the flatbreads. Cover it with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
- Slowly flip it to the other side.