Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Moong Daal Sabat Da Poodda (Whole Moong Daal Pancakes)


Daals are the mainstay of the majority of India and so many different ways of preparing it have developed over time. Instead of a plain daal dish with the curry, it is possible to make daal dry or ground and then fashioned into different items, like bhallas (salty puffs), namkeen laddus (salty nuggets) or pooddas (pancakes)

But not all daals can be ground and made into other items, usually it is the kali maah  (black maah); channa (yellow split chickpea) or moong (yellow or green). Ground whole moong is used for this quick dish a salty and spicy poodda which looks like a large, soft pancake. Poodas, whether salty or sweet, are usually eaten during cold weather or the rainy Monsoon season, along with some hot tea. A poodda is sometimes called “chilla” by people from Uttar Pradesh.

There are various types of pooddas made of different grains and each has its own texture and taste. Pooddas are often eaten with chutnies. Some people prefer to eat daal poodas in the morning for breakfast to keep their blood sugar levels under control.


1 cup sabat moong daal (whole moong lentils) – makes four 6-inch round poodde

1 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)

Some stalks of hara dhania (green coriander tops) – finely chopped

½ cup pani (water)

1 teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil for each pooda

Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), adrak powder (ginger powder), garam masala


1. Place the daal in a pot of water and let it soak overnight.

2.   Drain the water in the morning and then grind the daal into a fine paste, using a little water. It should not be too thin else the poodda will not cook and will remain wet inside.

3. Mix in the besan and the spices thoroughly into the paste.

4.  Place the tava (flatplate) or in a frying pan on high heat. For each pooda, heat place a little oil on the tava, pour a small amount of mixture and spread it to make a 6-inch circle. When tiny holes start to form on the surface, check to see in the bottom side is cooked. If so, use a spatula and flip the pooda over.

5. Cook the other side till the poodda is not moist, but do not let it cook too long or become brown.

6. Place the poodda on a plate and serve with chutney or ketchup.

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.




For many people, the evening meal is the most important one of all, when they come back home from a hard day’s work, tired from the drive in rush hour. It is also a time when we give thanks for the end of the tussles of a day’s work and are safe back home with family and friends. For Hindus, it is also a welcome to the light that will illuminate the way through the darkness that slowly engulfs us.

Many Punjabis say a little prayer when the first light is turned on – whether an oil lamp or an electric bulb – in the home. The prayer which I have recited ever since I was a little girl is:

“Jai Sandhya tarkaal, sarvat da bhalla te sarvat di khar, divadde tael, vichadde mael, divadde watti, vasdi rahe meri pekki savri hatti. ghar ave khatti. Divadde tael te vichadde mael, sarvat da bhalla te sarvat di khar. Sandhya waelle buti chalayo te eh prathna kar loh”.

(Victory to the evening twilight. Peace and safety for everyone. Oil the lamps, and bring everyone back home, put wicks in the lamps. Let my parents and in-laws homes grow; bring home good earnings. Oil the lamps, and bring everyone come back home; Peace and safety for everyone. It is evening, light the lamps and recite this prayer.)