Pesarattu (Lentil Pancakes) with Peanut Chutney

Here's something you can do with lentils other than turning them into a soup: Make them into this savory, ginger-and-chile-infused pancake. Priya Krishna's mom, Ritu Krishna, first ate this dish at her friend Madhu's house, and she was surprised by how easy the pancakes were to make (just be sure to plan ahead for the overnight soaking of the mung beans) and how flavorful they were. These pancakes pack enough of a punch that you can eat them by themselves, but Ritu and Priya suggest a side of Peanut Chutney, the chunky, herby, good-on-everything sauce. The key to the chutney is not to over-blend it — peanut chutney is best when you can still taste some coarse, peanut-ty bits.

Pesarattu Lentil Pancakes with Peanut Chutney
Photo: Mackenzie Kelley
Active Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
7 or 8 pancakes


Peanut Chutney

  • ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

  • 2 small Indian green chiles or serrano chiles, halved and stems removed

  • 1 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into quarters

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)

  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed


  • 1 cup split green mung beans, soaked overnight in 2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (from 1 1/2-inch piece)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed

  • 1 small Indian green chile or serrano chile, finely chopped

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 15 fresh curry leaves, torn into 2 or 3 pieces each

  • ½ medium red onion, finely diced


  1. Make the Peanut Chutney: Combine all the ingredients with 3 tablespoons water in a blender and blend on low speed, occasionally using a spoon or small spatula to scrape down the sides, until mixture resembles a chunky paste. If mixture isn't blending properly, add a little more water, a few drops at a time, to get it going. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. (This chutney keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.)

  2. Make the Pesarattu: Drain and rinse mung beans, then transfer them to a blender and add ginger, salt, green chile, and 1 cup water. Blend until mixture forms a pasty batter, with tiny flecks of mung bean visible. Transfer batter to a bowl.

  3. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons of the oil. Once oil begins to shimmer, pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the skillet, spreading it out with the back of a large spoon to make a thin, 7- to 8-inch pancake. Sprinkle a few curry leaf pieces and 2 teaspoons of the onion (or more, if you really like onions) over the top of the pancake. Reduce heat to medium and cook pancake until edges are slightly crisp and browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip pancake and cook for 2 to 4 minutes more, until onion on the underside is brown. Flip pancake one more time and cook for another minute if you want edges to be extra crispy. Sprinkle finished pancake with a little salt, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, curry leaves, and onion, adding 2 teaspoons oil to pan between each batch. Serve pancakes with peanut chutney.


Reprinted with permission from Indian-ish by Priya Krishna, Copyright ©2019 by Priya Krishna. Published by Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins.

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