Chickpea Flour Crepes With Leeks


The side cooked first gets dark and swirly, while the the side cooked second is just fleched with dark patches. Photo: Mat McDermott

These crepes are a variation on a traditional Gujarati pancake known as pudla. It's a really delicious combination of savory, spicy flavor, with a slightly spongey texture. I've never had them with leeks or fennel seeds in India, but both add a nice taste.

Pairs well with the cherry, strawberry and spicy raspberry taste of Peachy Canyon's 2007 Vesuvio or its 2008 Zinfandel.

For those people unfamiliar with chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour, gram flour, or besan), it's a versitile, protein-rich, gluten-free flour that can be found in better grocery stores as well as in any Indian market.

If you prefer you can make these in a smaller pan than specified below, but they won't hold up well in larger sized pan as the consistency is fairly spongey and they'll just break apart in the middle when you serve them. Though best straight out of the pan, they can be made ahead of time and heated up in an oven or toaster oven. Microwaving will just make them soggy and is not recommended.

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, coarsely chopped

For the batter:

  • Sift the chickpea flour into a mixing bowl and add the spices. Stir to evenly distribute them.
  • Add the oil into the mixture.
  • Slowly pour in the water.

    The goal is to have a pourable batter of medium thickness, so you may have to add a little more or less water depending on the chickpea flour you're using. If you end up making the batter too watery, just add small amounts of additional chickpea flour until the consistency seems right.

  • Add the leeks and chopped cilantro, and thoroughly mix.
  • Let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes.

Cooking the crepes:

  • Brush a 6-7" non-stick frying pan with oil, heat over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, pour about a 4-5" dollop of the batter into the middle of the pan and immediately start spreading it to the edges with a spatula.
  • Cook the crepe for a few minutes, until small bubbles or pores form throughout the crepe and you can see it losing its liquid texture. Loosen around the edges to free the crepe and cook for a few seconds more.
  • Using a flat metal spatula carefully flip the crepe over. Cook for a few more minutes on this side, loosening the crepe partway through so it can be flipped out of the pan when done.

Note: There is a bit of a learning curve to the technique on these--getting the pouring of the batter, spreading it across the pan, and loosening it down in one fluid series of motions, as well as learning the moment when you should probably flip it before the bottom gets too dark. Don't worry if you end up ruining the first one.

Makes four crepes at this size pan. Allot one or two per person, accompanied by a vegetable dish such as Red Cabbage with Mustard Seeds & Coconut and rice. They're also good as a light savory snack by themselves with some sort of chutney or raita to dip in.

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Tags: Cooking | Green Wine Guide | Vegan | Vegetarian

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