You can get a really great taste of India at Trader Joe’s. In fact, all of the Indian food we offer was recently catalogued by the Smithsonian in preparation for the “Beyond Bollywood” exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. The exercise illustrates the integration of Indian food into the American culinary landscape—thanks, in part, to our reputable collection. While humbled by the inclusion, we’re not curators, just culinary adventurers, enchanted by India and her myriad tastes.
That leads us to our latest discovery—Uttapam [pronounced U-thap-pam] from Ahmedabad, India, an area famous for its vegetarian cooking. The best way to describe Uttapam is to liken it to an Indian pizza. Only the dough—made from fermented rice and urad dal (black lentils)—is batter-based, like a pancake. As a result, it is gluten-free and the texture can be appealingly springy-spongy and soft. (Though it does get a nicely crisped bottom when heated in a pan.) The toppings are typically vegetables, onions being one of the most popular. And while there is no cheese, nor sauce to speak of, there is chutney. Ahh. Coconutty, spicy chutney.
Bewitched by these southern Indian flatbreads, we created Trader Joe’s Four Uttapam with Coconut Chutney. As is traditional, rice and lentils (in ratio of 3:1) are made into a batter that is fermented, leading to lovely spongy dough with a twinge of sourness. The Four Uttapam are generously topped with onions, green bell peppers and coriander leaves (i.e. cilantro), giving depth to the bite of the base. And then there is the classic Coconut Chutney. Fresh coconut is ground with green chiles and roasted lentils. Tempered with mustard seed and curry leaves, it has all of the charm you’d expect from a South Indian chutney (so, a lot). On its own, this Coconut Chutney is fantastic, and with the Uttapam – transformative.
Uttapam with Coconut Chutney make delicious, vegan, personal-pizza-style entrées—breakfast, lunch or dinner. Quartered, they make an alluring appetizer. We’re selling each 12-ounce box of Four Uttapam with two packages of Coconut Chutney for $3.69. A really great taste of India—a really great Trader Joe’s value.
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