These pancakes are something special. I love these things so much that in the week I discovered the recipe I made them no fewer than four- four!- times.
I say ‘discovered’, because these pancakes were originally supposed to be a different dish. Earlier this year, I was experimenting with ways to replicate a traditional Spanish tortilla. I took several different approaches and came up with a few different results. One of these was very akin to the potato and onion omelette I’d originally envisaged, and that recipe, with gram flour and silken tofu, is the one I now use to make ‘tortilla’. One of my other attempts, however, using gram flour only, made something closer to fritters or falafels. They tasted great, but while I love fritter-type things, I felt these could be made into something more special.
I decided firstly to omit the potato entirely to allow the earthy flavour of the chickpeas to come through more. I also switched the onion pieces for very finely minced garlic. I realised that the mixture I was making looked like a kind of pancake batter and decided to run with the idea of savoury garlic pancakes. I added a few spices, a little baking powder and voilà! When I fried them off they transformed into a delicious pile of golden, fried dreaminess.
Of course, I then realised that chickpea pancakes are a traditional dish the world over, with different varieties popping up in France, Italy, Gibraltar, Argentina, Uruguay, and Algeria, where they are varyingly called socca, farinata, panissa, fainá, and karantita. OK, so I'm not as original as I first thought (and I've since learned that whatever I come up with someone older and wiser has probably beaten me to it), but whatever- I still love these pancakes.
Serve them with whatever you'd like, although I'd recommend something relatively light and non-starchy as an accompaniment. I like them with mushrooms, tomatoes, and greens, a little sour cream (vegan, obviously), and fresh herbs (whatever I've got in the fridge). Red chilli is good too, if I'm in need of a pick-me-up!
Garlic Gram Pancakes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
140g gram flour (AKA chickpea flour)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
A dash of cayenne pepper
A few grinds of black pepper
A pinch or two of ground sea salt
250ml non-sweet nondairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (+ enough to fry with)
1 large mixing bowl
1 medium mixing bowl
Plate (for warming)
1./ Preheat the oven to a warm temperature (120 - 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 50-100 degrees Celsius). Place a plate to warm inside.
2./ Add the milk, apple cider vinegar, and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium-large mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the flour, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, salt, and baking powder,
3./ Add the dry ingredients bit-by-bit to the wet, whisking as you do, until a smooth batter forms. Then add in the garlic and stir in thoroughly.
4./ Get frying! Heat a little oil in a frying pan and drop in puddles of batter. Fry the pancakes till golden brown on both sides. Keep any finished pancakes in the oven on the warmed plate until all the batter is fried.
5./ Serve immediately with your choice of side and condiments.