Made from a fermented batter of rice and split black lentils, they are cooked on a thick cast iron griddle. They may be served plain though they are frequently folded or rolled to include a ‘masala’ of spiced potatoes. They are best eaten hot with fresh coconut chutney and sambhar (pureed lentils cooked with fresh vegetables, tamarind and sambhar spices).
One of the fun parts is shaping them. They can be small, large or family-sized (yes, big enough for a family to carry on their shoulders!). The easiest and most common is the ‘newspaper roll’ but Ajoy can also shape them into a bishop’s hat, a triangle or a rocket! It’s all a matter of practice, as is making the perfect batter and smoothing the batter onto the griddle (the batter is quite thick and tends to harden quickly so you don’t get much time to roll it onto the hot plate).