A fabulously unusual Sri Lankan brunch dish, egg hoppers are coconut and rice flour pancakes cooked with a steamed egg in the middle. Traditionally cooked in a ‘hopper pan’ – a small high-sided wok – that gives the pancakes a classic bowl shape, but a non-stick wok or frying pan is fine.
Note: you will need to begin this recipe at least 6 hours before you want to eat, to allow the batter time to ferment and rise at room temperature; ideally, whisk it up the night before and leave in the fridge overnight to prove slowly.
Add the grated creamed coconut to a large bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring well until it has dissolved. Set aside for 10–15 minutes until the bowl is just warm to the touch – if it’s too hot it will kill the yeast.
Sprinkle over the flour, yeast and sugar and whisk until smooth. Cover and set aside for at least 6 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. For the coriander coconut chutney, add all the ingredients to a deep jug and whizz until smooth with a stick blender. Set aside for the flavours to mingle.
When the pancake batter is ready, give it a good whisk to mix through. Drizzle a little oil into a small non-stick frying pan or wok and set over a high heat, spreading the oil into an even layer using a scrunched-up bit of kitchen paper. When it is smoking hot, pour in a generous ladleful of batter, swirling it around quickly up the sides. Crack an egg in the centre, reduce the heat a little and cover with a lid or piece of kitchen foil. Cook for 3 minutes or so until the egg is cooked to your liking.
Use a table knife or palette knife to ease the egg hopper from the pan to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter and eggs. Spoon the chutney over the hoppers and serve.