What do you make when you have a guest who is both vegan and follows a gluten-free diet? And you don't have a lot of time? The answer is simple - you make poora! These chickpea flour pancakes are a North Indian staple, easy to make, high in protein and fiber, and delicious. Chickpea flour is available in specialty and fancy food stores, but is far cheaper in Indian grocery stores, where it is labeled "Besan".
1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt – adjust to taste
About ½ tsp cayenne pepper powder – adjust to taste
About 1 1/2 - 2 cups water (you may not need all of it)
Toppings – chopped scallions, cilantro, tomatoes, red peppers, sour cream/ goat cheese/ Greek yogurt, chutneys, etc.
Canola oil or butter for making the pancakes
- Sift together the besan, turmeric, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Slowly add water and mix to a smooth paste to get all the lumps out. Then, add more water and mix until it forms a thin pancake-batter like consistency.· Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes
- Heat a saucepan and melt a little butter in it or swirl a teaspoon or so of canola oil. – the pancakes can be a bit dry since the batter doesn’t have any eggs or fat in it, so don’t skimp on this part!
- Make the poora exactly the same way you would make a pancake or crepe – flipping once to cook on both sides. From experience, they turn out better if you use a non-stick pan or a cast-iron griddle (tava). It will take some practice to figure out the correct heat setting and timing for your stove/ pan. I typically cook them on medium-high heat, about 2-3 mins per side.
- Serve topped with finely chopped herbs/ scallions, your favorite chutney, or with a side of yogurt or cucumber raita. Or you can also use it as a crepe and fill it with creamed spinach, sautéed vegetables, etc. One of my favorite ways to serve this is as a crepe, with sauteed spinach and feta cheese
- Variations: add any or all of these into the batter before cooking: ½ of an onion, a 1” piece ginger, peeled and grated, one chile pepper, finely minced, grated carrots.