Despite being a picky eater in many ways (speaking of which, I wrote a guest post about picky eating for The Butterfly Mother – I’d love it if you’d check it out) R eats some surprising things now – olives and curry among them. Potato curry has been one of our staples on the weekly meal plan (which if I’m a bit honest I’m a bit rubbish at keeping up) for quite some time now.
He’s tried masala dosa a few times too – the first time at a street food stall where he loved it – and the second in a south Indian restaurant where unfortunately it was rather spicy and the family catchphrase – “it’s spicing my face off!” was born.
Making real dosa – with ground lentils and rice – is something that I have done before but it’s pretty fiddly and time consuming. If you want to give it a go you can buy pre-ground dosa mix in Indian supermarkets. I wanted to try something easier and quicker – that also included an extra portion of veg – so I came up with the idea of making crepes with chickpea flour instead. Chickpea flour – or gram flour – is used in many parts of the world. In India it’s often used to help bind pakoras or fritters. France and Italy both have versions of a crepe, or pancake, made with this – sometimes it’s called farinata, sometimes socca. And in Argentina you get faina – a thicker chickpea pancake served with pizza.
It’s also the perfect vegan pancake as all it requires is chickpea flour, water and oil. I have a feeling it’s something I’ll be cooking with more often. Adding the spinach means you get a lovely green coloured pancake – and a portion of veg and some extra iron for good measure – but you could leave this out if you prefer a more traditional colour for your dosa.
I used this recipe for farinata lasagne by Kellie’s Food to Glow as the starting point for making my farinata crepes.
Here’s what to do:
For the pancake (makes around 6 small ones)
100g spinach, chopped
130g chickpea (gram) flour
1.5 tbsp olive oil
For the potato filling
600g potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
Chilli flakes – to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
First make the batter. Wilt the spinach by cooking over a low heat for a couple of minutes then put into a blender and purée. Put the chickpea flour into a mixing bowl and whisk it carefully to remove any lumps. Add half of the water and the olive oil and whisk again until it’s like a thick paste, then whisk in the rest of the water. Finally stir through the spinach purée. Leave to rest for half an hour or so.
Now for the potato filling. First peel and dice the potatoes into bite sized pieces. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the onion, stir, reduce the heat to low and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for a further minute then add the remaining spices. After another minute stir through the potatoes. Once they’re all coated in the onion mixture add the water. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. You may need to add a tiny bit more water depending on the size of your potatoes. If you have too much taking the lid off towards the end of the cooking time will help the sauce to thicken.
To make the crepes heat a little oil in a small non-stick frying pan. When hot pour in a little bit of the batter, swirl the pan so the batter covers it evenly and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula to cook the other side.
Place on a plate, with a few spoonfuls of the potato mixture in the middle and fold in half.
This is delicious on its own but even better with some chutneys, yoghurt dips or perhaps some crunchy veggies on the side.
This made enough for one adult and three children – to serve another adult you can easily double the quantities.
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