Coconut Chile Surnoli


Surnolis are pancakes from Goa, on the southeastern coast of India. They are often made sweet and served at breakfast or afternoon tea, but I like them with a little chile to offset the tang you get from the fermented batter (and to eat them as a snack with a beer or glass of wine). Have some coconut cilantro or mango chutney on-hand to spoon on top of the pancakes before eating them.

4 servings 

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) idli/dosa rice or another short-grained white rice       

1 teaspoon (5 mL) fenugreek seeds                    


3/4 cup (175 mL) plain yogurt                                                                                

1/2 cup (125 mL) poha (see Note)                                                

1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened coconut flakes                                     

1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt                                                      

1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground turmeric                                                                                 

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) citric acid                                         

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) baking soda                                                


1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced ginger                                                       

1 green Thai chile, minced                                                           

1 small red onion, minced

1. Place the rice and fenugreek seeds in a small bowl. Add enough water to cover and soak for 8 hours. Drain.

2. Combine the soaked rice and fenugreek seeds with the yogurt, poha, coconut, salt, turmeric and 1/2 cup (125 mL) water in a high-powered blender; blend until it resembles a thick pancake batter, adding more water a little at a time as needed.

3. Transfer the batter to the inner pot. Stir in the citric acid and baking soda. Using the Yogurt function on Normal, ferment the batter for 8 to 12 hours, until it is bubbly and almost double in size.

4. Heat 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ghee in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in about 1/2 cup (125 mL) batter, spreading into a 5 inch (12.5 cm) pancake with the back of a spoon or ladle. Top with chilies and onion. Cover the pan with a lid, and cook for about 3 minutes, until it is cooked through and bubbles appear on top; do not flip it. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining batter, ghee and toppings.  

5. Serve the surnoli with a savory chutney, such as coconut cilantro or mango.

Note: Poha are flattened rice flakes; you can find them in Indian grocery stores or online.