DSC_1058Socca on the Côte d’Azur, Farinata on the Ligurian coast, and something fast to do with the chickpea flour in the kitchen…..It had escaped my attention for so long, chickpeas have a certain quality and their flour a certain flavour (falafel anyone?) and so I wanted to do something with it. I tried making empanadas once with it and failed miserably. Crumbly empanadas just don’t really work, on any level. I forgot how difficult it can be to bake with only a gluten free flour. Inspired by a New York times article on socca and flatbreads, I decided to go more for an Indian take and left out the olive oil. These spicy crepes have become a constant evening meal. Chickpea flour is also a staple in Indian snacks and desserts, known more commonly as besan or garam flour. There are so many other fun recipes and ways to use it in both sweet and savoury dishes so this is but a first post where chickpea flour takes the lead role.
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The trick with the Ligurian farinata and the socca is the olive oil in the mix. A good olive oil. Then it’s served hot with lots of black pepper. Amazing.

These pancakes are more simple and the focus is on the spices and the coriander.

A tablespoon or two of pouring cream or plain yoghurt in the batter is a nice way to add a little flavour.

Ingredients (makes about 3 to 4 decent sized crepes, adjust as necessary)

2 cups of chickpea flour
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
some chopped fresh coriander

1-2 cups water – use enough to make a smooth batter

Optional – a little fresh pouring cream or plain or Greek yoghurt – just to be crazy.

Note – experiment with different spices.
Also add some chopped banana instead of the spices with a tablespoon of raw cane sugar to make a great breakfast pancake

Making

In a bowl mix the flour and spices, then slowly add the water stirring well as it forms a paste. Continue to add a little more water as you mix, add the coriander and keep stirring until you have a smooth batter. Add the cream if using.

Set aside or refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat a pan with a little oil and or butter. When very hot put a tiny spoon of the batter onto the hot pan and let it spread. This is your pan tester! As the golden rule and sacred saying of pancake making says – the first one is always a disaster but it sets up your pan for the rest!

So, use this first dollop to soak up the extra oil in your pan and then scrape it off. Now your pan is ready.

Chickpea flour is a pain to bake with, no gluten and while it’s great for pancakes, it can take more cooking time to form a strong pancake. So pour a decent dollop of the batter on the pan and spread around, keep the heat fairly high. then let it sit for a while…when the batter starts to bubble see if you can flip it easily, then do the other side.

Serve immediately – alone or with a curry, with some yoghurt, in pieces as aperitif or…..