Chickpea Pancakes with Shredded Zucchini

This is another example of getting halfway there on the Eat Local Challenge: the zucchini are emphatically from around here. These were the first organic zucchini I’d seen this season; they came from K.M.K. Farms of Kingsburg at the Vineyard Farmers’ Market, as did the green onions.

However, the chickpea flour for the pancakes was bought at Whole Foods and is good ol’ Bob’s Red Mill, from Oregon.

Even if they’re not local, I love these little chickpea pancakes, which are adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. Learning to make these was worth the price of the book. They’re easy as pie, gluten-free, delicious, incredibly versatile, and relatively fast if you have two small non-stick skillets. I’ve made a version before that she suggests with peas and cilantro added, which is wonderful as well, but these are the plain-Jane version, the batter for which you can whip up in about three minutes.

The way they’re spiced now, these pancakes would make a wonderful wrapper for a great many vegetarian dishes – just about anything with an Indian flavor would work well, from chickpea stew to buttered greens to spiced potatoes to roasted cauliflower.

Shredding is one of the tactics I’ve begun using more since I’ve had chronic fatigue syndrome, when I have the energy to cook, and zucchini lends itself especially well to it. The food processor does most of the work, and shredded vegetables cook in an instant. If I have enough energy to stand and chop an onion, I can make this filling.

The raita I made for this was an arugula one; this would be equally good with a cucumber, cilantro or mint raita, but arugula was what I had. It had a nice peppery bite.

For the pancakes:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (to keep the finished pancakes warm) and place a plate inside it.

1 c. chickpea flour (sifted before measuring)
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground turmeric
1/4 t. cayenne powder
1/2 t. salt
oil for the pan (you may need a few tablespoons, depending on how generous you are)

Sift all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in 1 c. water, beginning with just a few tablespoons, and working the mixture slowly into a paste in order to get rid of all lumps. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes.

Heat one or two small non-stick skillets – 5 to 6 inches in diameter – over medium-high heat. Add about 1/4 t. oil to each. When the oil is hot, stir the batter thoroughly (the solids will tend to settle to the bottom) and fill a 1/4 c. measure about 3/4 of the way (this is three tablespoons). Place the three tablespoons of batter swiftly into the center of one of the pans, then tilt the pan quickly in a circular motion to spread the batter. If you are using a second skillet, repeat with the other skillet.

Cook each pancake for about 2 minutes. They will develop golden-red spots on the bottom. Turn them and cook for another two minutes, until the bottom has golden-red spots as well. Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel to blot, if desired. Place on the plate in the oven and continue making pancakes until all the batter is used.

Makes about 10-12 pancakes, enough for about four servings.

For the zucchini filling:

The zucchini will be better if before cooking it’s salted and left to stand for half an hour, then has the moisture squeezed out of it, but it’s fine even if you don’t bother to do that.

oil for the pan
2 green onions, slivered
1/2 t. ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 t. cayenne powder
6 zucchini, shredded

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Sauté the slivered onions with the cumin a few minutes, until the onions are wilted but not browned. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and cayenne pepper and sauté a few seconds, until the garlic becomes aromatic. Add the zucchini and cook briefly, stirring gently. The zucchini will cook in just a few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the raita:
2 c. fresh arugula
1 c. yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t. cayenne powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal S-blade. Buzz until combined. Makes about one cup.

2 thoughts on “Chickpea Pancakes with Shredded Zucchini

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