The April Daring Cooks Challenge was brought to us by Joanna from What’s On The List. She taught us all about Pathiri and challenged us to create our own version of this inspirational Indian dish! Chatti Pathiri is essentially a layered crepe, a savory one in this case although they can also be made sweet, originating from Kerala, India and served in Muslim homes during Ramadan. Chatti Pathiri is delicious. I LOVE making crepes and I LOVE warm, exotic Indian spices so this was right up my ally.
Of course you can get creative with your fillings. If you want to think about it this way, it’s kindof like making a lasagna with crepes as the noodles! You don’t have to make it with Indian or middle eastern spices or ingredients. Usually in these Daring Cook’s challenges I do change up the recipes quite a bit but this time I just SOOO wanted to make the example recipe that Joanna gave us that I went with it! My crepe has layers of ground chicken thigh and red onion cooked with tumeric, garam masala, coriander, chili powder, chili paste, garlic, ginger, white pepper and almond meal. The crepes themselves are fairly standard, being made with a milk/vinegar mixture (to be sort-of like buttermilk), eggs, flour and a bit of oil. They are cooked in ghee (clarified butter). Each crepe is dipped in a coconut milk/cilantro mixture and then layered with the chicken filling in a pan. The remaining coconut milk is poured over the whole thing and it’s baked until nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed by the crepe. You flip it out onto a place and slice into wedges. It is best served warm from the oven but is also delicious at room temperature, or in small slivers out of the refrigerator when no one is looking…
Ghee is used in this recipe. I have talked about how to make ghee before in my naan bread post but this time I chose to buy a jar of it at Trader Joe’s. I had enough other things going on in the kitchen today and it was cheap to buy so why not!
I used light coconut milk in my recipe because that’s what was available at Trader Joe’s when I went shopping, but I would recommend using full fat so that your pathiri “sets” more fully in the pan while baking. Mine remained a lot looser than I would have preferred although it did create a sauce of sorts when I flipped it out of the baking pan. If you use full fat coconut milk you might have to stir if a bunch or even melt it a bit to get it homogeneous with the cilantro. You may have to brush the coconut milk mixture onto the crepes rather than dipping them as I stated in the recipe as well.
I love the texture of this dish. The crepes really do act like pasta and have a slight bite to them which I love. I read that, traditionally, pathiri uses rice flour crepes. I actually have rice flour on hand so I researched a few different recipes and thought i might go that route for this project but in the end, I liked the idea of the regular flour crepe. It seemed to me that it would turn out a little bit thicker and have more of a presence in the dish. It’s hard to say if I made the right choice since I have never tried pathiri with rice flour crepes, but the choice I made yielded wonderfully delicious results!
So yea, if you are a fan of Indian food WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Try this! I love being a part of the Daring Kitchen because it exposes me to things I may have otherwise never heard of or tried! Awesome, awesome challenge this month.
(Adapted from “Chatti Pathiri” by Joanne of whatsonthelist.net)
For the crepes:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
- Ghee for crepe pan
For the filling:
- 9 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tps. chili powder
- ½ tbsp. coriander powder
- ¼ tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. white pepper powder
- ½ tsp. ginger paste
- ½ tsp garlic paste
- 1 large red onion, diced
- ½ tsp. chili paste
- ¼ cup almond meal (ground almond. If substitution whole almonds, toast them before grinding)
- 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. ghee
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 2/3 cup coconut milk (full fat is best, although light may be used but the filling will be a bit looser)
- ½ tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves, plus additional for garnish
Directions for the Crepes:
- In a medium bowl combine vinegar and milk and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- To the milk mixture, add the remaining crepe ingredients, whisking together to combine.
- Allow to sit in the refrigerator at least one hour.
- Heat an 8 or 9 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat
- Melt 1 tsp. ghee in the skillet, swirling to coat the surface
- Pour crepe batter in the pan, about ¼ cup, and swirl to coat the pan immediately after adding it. You may need to add a bit more or less batter, depending upon the size of the pan you are using. You want the crepes to be fairly thin but to hold up when flipping. Cook for about 1 minute or until edges start to look dry and lift from the pan slightly
- Using a thin, flexible spatula, carefully flip the crepes and cook on the other side for only about 45 seconds. You aren’t trying to put any color on the crepes, just cook them through
- Remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, separating each crepe with a piece of parchment paper or foil to prevent from sticking together. This should make approximately 6 crepes
- Crepes can be made ahead and refrigerated or even frozen. Thaw before using if frozen
Directions for the Filling:
- Cut chicken thighs into 1-2 inch chunks and remove any visible fat
- Place in the bowl of a small food processor and pulse to mince
- In a small bowl, combine turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, white pepper and garam masala
- In another small bowl, combine the ginger paste, garlic paste and chili paste
- Melt 1 tsp. of ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat
- Add the ginger/garlic/chili mix and sauté for 30 seconds, mashing with the back of a mixing spoon, until fragrant
- Add the red onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes
- Push the red onion mixture to one side of the pan and then add the dry spice mix to the other side of the pan and allow to toast for about 1 minute or until fragrant
- Stir spices in with onion mixture
- Add the minced chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through, breaking up with the side of your spoon frequently so that it is in very small pieces
- Add the almond meal and stir to combine
- Remove mixture from heat and pour into a medium bowl to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes
Directions for Assembly:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the center position
- In a wide shallow bowl or dish combine the coconut milk and cilantro. (If using full fat coconut milk, you may need to stir it up to incorporate it, or even briefly heat it in the microwave to loosen it up)
- Melt 2 tbsp. of ghee in a small bowl
- In a (clean) 8-inch skillet, cake pan, or pie pan, brush a generous layer of ghee
- Brush or dip one crepe in the coconut milk
- Place the dipped crepe into the prepared pan
- Lightly brush or dot the top of the crepe with ghee
- Spoon 1/5th of the chicken filling (assuming you made 6 crepes- if you have more or less divide the filling accordingly) over the crepe evenly, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges
- Dip another crepe in the coconut mixture, place on top of the chicken filling in the pan, brush or dot with ghee and repeat the whole process until your crepes and filling are used up, with one crepe on top of the whole thing
- Pour the remaining coconut milk mixture over stacked crepes
- Bake in the preheated oven until the coconut milk has absorbed/dried up most of the way. The edges should start to look “set”. (If you used light coconut milk like I did, it may not set all the way which is ok)
- Allow to set in the pan for 5 minutes
- Invert a large plate over the top of your pan and then invert the whole thing, flipping the pathiri out onto the plate. You may need to loosen the edges with a thin knife a bit before flipping it out.
- Cut into wedges and serve, garnishing with additional fresh cilantro sprigs if desired