Spicy and delicious savoury pancakes, these will satisfy your palate anytime of the day. A breakfast staple in India, my mom loved making these every couple of days. I wasn’t a fan though, and grumbled every time I saw them on the table. And then on a recent trip to visit family in India I found myself exclaiming over the crispiness of this humble dish. I could not believe this was the same dish that I had long disregarded as a “real” breakfast.
Unlike regular pancakes that we are accustomed to seeing at breakfast time in North America, these are naturally gluten-free and vegan. This recipe uses chick pea flour or garbanzo bean flour that is high in protein, fibre and iron, and generally considered much healthier than wheat flour. In Indian groceries the flour is commonly labelled besan or gram flour.
Also called puda or chilla in different parts of India, these savoury pancakes come with grated ginger, coriander, onions and green chillies. All these flavours mix together to make the glory that is the crispy chickpea pancake. I’ve made these for dinner on those crazy weeknights when you open the pantry door and seek inspiration. Quick, nutritious and easy!
Indian Savoury Pancakes
Thin, crispy and soft at the same time, these savoury pancakes have become my go-to weeknight dinner recipe. This dish can be served along with chutney, a side of vegetables or salad. Or if you have the soul of a Punjaban like me (girl from Punjab), you eat it with raw onions and a rock solid green chilli pickle that my mom makes every year.
- Like any other pancake, this recipe needs a little patience. It’s quite likely your first pancake will fall apart but keep at it and don’t be intimidated. You will find the second will be crispy and easier.
- The addition of rice flour is my mother’s secret – it makes these chickpea flour pancakes extra crispy.
- Rice flour and chick pea flour is available in many larger supermarkets in North America. There was a time when I would find chickpea flour or besan only in Indian groceries. Of late I see packets of Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo bean flour in the gluten-free aisle.
- Traditionally the mixture needs a handful of chopped cilantro, green chillies and chilli powder. I leave the herbs and serious spice out so my kids and hubby can eat it without needing big gulps of water to accompany every bite. Chopped chillies do make for a lovely garnish…for me.
- Add in coriander powder to the mixture for that smoky flavour so delicious in Indian cuisine.
- Manage the pan heat closely. You will start with medium and may have to turn it down to just below medium. If the heat’s too low the pancakes will not get the yummy crispiness.
- Chickpea flour - one cup
- Rice flour - 1/2 cup
- Onions finely chopped - 1/2 cup
- Coriander powder - 1 tsp
- Baking powder - 1 tsp
- Pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Water - 11/2 cups
- Salt start with 1/2 tsp
Mix the dry ingredients.
Add in the water bit by bit and whisk.
The consistency of the liquid should be thin, as if for crepes.
Set it aside for 20 mins and wait for the baking powder to do it's magic. You can skip this ingredient if you're unsure whether it's gluten-free or not.
Put the pan with a little bit of oil on medium heat. I suggest a spray - it will go further in this recipe.
3 tbsps of the liquid makes one pancake. Run it around the pan and let it sit on medium till you see bubbles.
You know it's ready to flip when it looks a little crispy and comes away from the pan. If it doesn't don't fight it. Another spritz of oil and a minute should do it.
Serve with your favourite chutney or dip, vegetables or even yoghurt. Yum!