Tender and tasty, spiced with garam masala and speckled with fresh tomato and green chiles, these delicious, high-protein Indian pancakes provide the perfect accompaniment to a meal with a smear of good green chutney or they can provide the base for the meal itself! Way beyond roti or naan bread, these are full of flavor– soft and pliable, great for folding over and stuffing with even more Indian goodness.
I am finally digging into Madhur Jaffrey’s gorgeous cookbook, Vegetarian India: A Journey Through The Best of Indian Home Cooking, and last night I prepared Chickpeas in Cilantro Sauce and Chickpea Flour (aka besan) and Tomato Pancakes. The meal itself was okay, not quite as intensely flavorful as other dishes I have tried, but I had a whole mess of chickpeas already cooked and ready to go, so I gave the recipe a try. The real star of the show, however, were the pancakes!
This morning I had batter left over and cooked up one for breakfast, omelet style. I reheated chickpeas from last night and mashed them a bit, rolling them up with fresh sliced tomato and then used that hot skillet to char up a few slices of shallot hanging around in the fridge. Brilliant!!
I can see this versatile bread becoming part of my regular meal rotation. I hope you give it a try!
Chickpea Flour and Tomato Pancakes (by Madhur Jaffrey)
Note: The method is briefly and loosely translated here and not written true to the original. In other words, this is how I did it and it came out great.
1 cup chickpea flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. nice red chili powder
*Generous pinch of ground asafetida (hing powder)
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1 cup tomato, finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 fresh hot green chili, finely chopped
About 3 tbsp. olive of peanut oil
Mix all dry ingredients together with a whisk, removing lumps. Pulse fresh tomato, onion and chile to fine dice. Blend dry ingredients along with enough water to make a thin, crepe-like batter, about 1 1/4 cups. Press out any lumps.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tsp. oil. Measure 1/3 cup batter and pour on hot oiled pan, spreading thinly, as in making crepes. The cake will puff a little as it cooks. When dry-looking on the surface, carefully run a thin metal spatula around the edges, then turn and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes.
Serve with a meal or stuff with flavorful fillings and fold over, omelet-style.
Yield: 6 servings
*Asafetida, also known as Hing powder is available at Indian Grocery stores and online. Some Oriental markets may carry it as well. However, it is often way over-priced online. I bought a nice little jar for under $3 at the Indian Grocery.