In this classic Indian recipe the lentils and rice are not cooked, but soaked overnight in water, which softens and ferments them. Then they are pureed. The chlorine in tap water can inhibit the softening of the lentils, so it is best to use bottled spring water. Urad dal are skinned, split lentils that are available in Indian groceries. Typical lentils found in the supermarket will not substitute in this recipe.
7 1/4 cups bottled spring water, divided
1 1/2 cups white basmati rice
1/2 cup urad dal (skinned, split lentils)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
How to Make It
Combine 6 cups water, rice, and lentils in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain and rinse.
Place rice mixture, 1 1/4 cups water, and sugar in a food processor; puree until smooth (about 1 minute).
Spoon batter into a clean bowl. Cover and let stand in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 12 hours or overnight. Stir in salt.
Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter into pan. Turn pancake when top is covered with bubbles and edges look cooked (about 1 minute). Repeat with remaining oil and batter.