Chickpea-Flour Pancakes

In Hindi, these are called poora, and they’re much better than both that name and the English title sounds. They’re thin and tender, and the peas and seasonings give them a nice aromatic lift. We had these stuffed with curried potatoes. Madhur Jaffrey, the author from whom the original recipe came, suggests serving them with raita or chutneys, or using them as a bread with just about anything. I think they could also be employed, once prepared, to make a sort of Indian enchilada.

The original recipe calls for these to be fried in a non-stick pan with about a teaspoon of oil per pancake, with more dribbled on the top side, which is then turned over. I didn’t find that to be necessary. These can be fried in a non-stick pan with very little oil. I used an oil sprayer to mist the top of the pancakes with a little oil before turning them. This worked just great, though of course, those pancakes that I did fry in a great deal of oil were quite tasty too.

Additionally, the original recipe called for 2 c. of water to make the batter – and that just seemed like too much to me. I’ll experiment with increasing it to that amount, but previous chickpea-flour batter experiences made me wary of adding that much water.

You can find chickpea flour at Indian groceries – I know Bob’s Red Mill makes one too, but I’ve never seen it in a store anywhere.

2 c. chickpea flour (besan)
1 t. ground cumin seeds
1/4 t. turmeric
1/4 t. cayenne
1 t. salt
1t. finely minced fresh ginger
1 t. finely minced green chili
1 T. finely minced cilantro
1 c. cooked green peas (frozen is fine), mashed

Sift the chickpea flour, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Slowly stir in 1 1/4 cups of water with a wooden spoon, stopping while the batter is still pastelike to get rid of all lumps, then slowly adding the rest of the water. Add the ginger, chili, cilantro, and green peas and mix well. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes. Strain it through a sieve if it is still lumpy.

Place a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and heat for a few minutes. Add a small amount of oil to the pan. When hot, stir the batter from the bottom and ladle about 1/4 cup into the pan. Quickly tilt the frying pan around to spread out the batter. Spray the top of the pancake with a little oil. Cook the pancake for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom is golden-red in places. Turn the pancake over and cook the second side for a minute, or until it too has golden-red spots. Remove to a plate and keep covered with an overturned plate. Continue making pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve immediately. Makes about 10 pancakes.

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