Biri Daali, as it is called in Oriya is only one type of many dahls which are sold locally. It is a pulse of some sorts, and is called Urad Dalh in Hindi. It is used to make igli, which folks here eat for breakfast. It is sometimes called Black gram in English, don't worry if it look like some of the "white" grains are black ones covered in a whitish powder. This seems to be normal. It has a distinctive taste and when mixed with rice and ground, it does make a lovely pancake like mix.
It takes a bit of advance preparation, but other than that it is so, so easy. My advice is begin the process early one day and everything is ready to cook any time on day 2. The secret has been to find the right mix. The proportions I settled on are 1 part biri to 3 parts rice.
First, soak both biri and rice till soft (this is why you start early). Grind both - don't be a perfectionist - the finer the grind the smoother the batter: myself, I prefer a slight bite and so grind less and get a bit of texture in the final result. Add a little water, salt and pepper to taste and mix to make a thickish batter. Cover and set aside for 8 hours (ie overnight). The result is a slightly frothy batter, smelling a little like it is fermenting. That's normal. 1 cup of rice to 1/3 cup of biri makes 2 pancakes, depending on how thick you like the result and how big your pan is. I make mine about 1/4 inch think - thicker than a French crepe, more like the thickness of a Scotch Pancake. Moisten the pan with a little oil, ghee or butter, Place about a cup full of the batter in the middle and swirl round until it forms a wider circle. Turn over when underside is brown and top bubbly. Takes a couple of minutes.
A welcome alternative to rice! Serve with just about anything I think - any curry, or as shown here with my favourite lunch of tomatoes, cucumber,apples, raisins, and cashews in a lemon & back pepper olive oil dressing.
A slightly nutty taste.
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