Saturday, 19 November 2011



Surnali is prepared in two ways; savory and sweet. The basic batter is the same but you need to add powdered jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) to the sweet version. There is no specific quantity stipulated. You can use enough to suite your taste. Most Konkani families prepare both the versions. Children love the sweet version. The older people enjoy both. Take care not to put too much jaggery since the pancake may burn at the base.
Surnalis can be enjoyed as such or you can make a gourmet breakfast by serving surnalis with sûrna nonché (recipe given separately). Surnalis are traditionally a must-to-eat pure vegetarian pancake for Konkanis on the day of ‘karthika dueadasi’.

1)    Aged raw rice – 1 kg.
2)    Beaten rice (rice flakes) – 50 gm.
3)    Sweet potato – 300 gm.
4)    Fresh coconut – ½
5)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
6)    Fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon
7)    Fresh curd – 200 ml.
8)    Salt – 1 teaspoon
9)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – to taste (for the sweet version)
10)                      Ghee (clarified butter) or hydrogenated vegetable oil to grease the pan

To prepare the batter:
Soak the raw rice and the fenugreek seeds in water for 1 hour. Peel and dice the sweet potato. Put the diced pieces into a food processor and grind to fine paste. There is usually no need to add water since the sweet potato normally contains a lot of it. Soak the rice flakes in water for 10 minutes. Grate the coconut.
Wash and drain the raw rice and the fenugreek seeds. Drain the rice flakes. Put the raw rice, the fenugreek seeds, the grated coconut and the curd into the food processor and grind to fine paste, adding a little water if necessary (if the food processor is small, grind in 2 or 3 batches or use a wet grinder). Add the sweet potato paste, the salt and the turmeric powder and grind again to superfine paste.
Crush the jaggery, grind to fine powder and set aside. Rest the batter for 3 hours so that it rises nicely.

To Cook:
If the batter is too thick, mix in a little water and bring it to the consistency of pancake batter. Divide the batter into two portions. Use one portion to make savory surnalis and the other to make sweet surnalis. You can make sweet surnalis by mixing in the powdered jaggery into the batter. Set a nonstick pan or a cast iron pan on medium heat (a nonstick pan is better for sweet surnali since the jaggery makes it sticky and likely to burn at the base). Grease the pan with ghee (clarified butter) or with hydrogenated vegetable oil. As soon as the pan is hot, pour in a ladleful of batter and cover with a lid or cloche. Turn down the heat. Lift up the cloche in 2 or 3 minutes and see if the surnali is cooked. If done, there should be no raw batter in the middle. Lift out and serve hot.
While sûrna nonché is the perfect accompaniment to a surnali, you can also enjoy a hot surnali with a dollop of fresh butter.

1)    Traditionally, up to 100 gm. of fenugreek seeds are used to make the surnali batter which makes it very fluffy and full of flavor. The problem is that fenugreek seeds are bitter to the taste. Children are generally averse to the bitter taste of fenugreek seeds and so are many adults as well. Hence I use only a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds for the flavor minus the bitterness.
2)    Nowadays, some people who do not have time to rest the batter for 3 hours use baking powder as the rising agent. From the health point of view, I do not use baking powder in surnalis

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