Pathiri - A Layered Savory Indian Cake

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!

Really, Pathiri could be considered for Passover, or Easter even, as it looks like a largish egg.  And, crepes are a form of unleavened bread, right?   So, greetings, whatever your celebration!

This traditional savory cake is supposed to be composed of a filling layered between crepes spread with coconut cream, and the whole topped with more coconut cream before being baked.  I baked mine in a small spring form pan, but you can use a small oven-proof frying pan if you have one.

I decided to make the layers complementary, but vary them.  Two of a curried ground beef mixture, two layers of ricotta, and a layer of chopped steamed baby kale.  But it's got all the spices, and plenty of coconut milk, spread on all the crepes, so we aren't diverging completely here. 

You start with getting the crepes made.  I just did my regular recipe, as they are something we love, and I make them frequently. 

1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk  (or enough to make a not too thin consistency)
2 or 3 eggs (I usually use 3)
2 - 3 tablespoons melted butter or mild cooking oil

The easiest way is to put your eggs and about half the milk in a blender, then while it's whizzing, add the flour and enough extra milk to get a good crepe batter, (should coat a wooden spoon) adding also the oil or butter.  Swirl about 1/4 cup in a hot crepe pan, coated with a bit of butter if needed, and cook on both sides very briefly.  Just enough to color.

Next make your spicy Indian filling.  You can use chicken, (recipe given at the Daring Cooks site) ground beef or lamb, or make it vegetarian.  I had plenty to save for another meal, which will be beef cannelloni in the remaining crepes.

Put your layers together by first brushing  coconut cream onto both sides of a crepe.  Put it down into your pan, add filling over the top, and continue until you have about 5 or 6 layers. 

And, just as a side note, coconut milk has been found to contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as "According to "Ceylon Medical Journal, coconut fats do not contain trans-fatty acids. The fats that are present in coconuts are less likely to clog arteries."  So, be healthy and slather it on!

If you use ricotta as part or all of the filling, you might sprinkle it with garam masala or cardamom powder.

Now brush more coconut cream onto the top and sides of your cake, and bake at 350F until the cake is dry.  Mine took about 25 minutes.

Let cool slightly and cut into wedges.  Serve with a chutney and perhaps a fresh cucumber raita, and you have a delicious meal.