Bombarded by local fare of burgers, pizzas and pasta, it’s easy to forget the many flavors that the world has to offer, including the very fragrant cuisine of India. To remedy our mono-lined meals, I’d like to introduce a new completely dairy-free cookbook: Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook. In addition to some tidbits about this title, I’ve been given a sample recipe for some stunning chickpea flour pancakes to share.
Filled with stunning photography, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen is a delight for all senses.
Richa starts by taking us through the spices of India, offering substitution tips for the few items that may not be found at conventional stores (though we easily found all of them online). She then discusses and offers advice on other ingredients and equipment for best results.
Richa then moves briskly into the recipes, which seem to have a savory focus overall. If you are cutting down on sugars, I highly recommend Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen as even the breakfasts and snacks are surprisingly light on sweet stuff. There is a dessert section, but most of those enticing treats still have wholesome appeal.
For a taste of each chapter, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen includes:
- Mom’s Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Breakfast; Recipe below)
- Street-Style Tempeh Wraps (Small Plates & Snacks)
- Maasi’s Nepali Potatoes (Sides & Dry Vegetable Curries)
- Sprouted Mung Bean Curry with Dinner Rolls (Dals – Lentils & Beans)
- Vegan Paneer and Spinach in Tomato Sauce (Main Dishes)
- Puffy Restaurant-Style Naan (Flatbreads)
- Saffron Cream Popsicles (Dessert)
- Chickpea Tofu (Chutney’s, Spice Blends & Basics).
Hungry yet? Well order Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen and whip up a batch of these chickpea flour pancakes while you wait for it to arrive!
In reference to these chickpea flour pancakes, Richa says:
This is my Mom’s chilla recipe. It is also known as pudla. The classic Indian pancake made with chickpea flour is a popular breakfast in North India. These chillas in the simplest form are easy and perfect for breakfast, a snack, or a side flatbread. For a veggie omelet version, add less water for a thicker batter and add leavening such as baking powder. Add finely chopped vegetables such as zucchini.
Special Diet Notes: Chickpea Flour Pancakes
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based and vegetarian.
- 1 cup chickpea / garbanzo bean flour or besan
- 1½ cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds or cumin seeds
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 hot green chile, finely chopped (remove seeds to reduce heat)
- ¼ cup packed chopped cilantro
- 1 to 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon safflower oil, divided
- In a bowl, combine the chickpea flour and ¾ cup water. Whisk to get a smooth consistency. Whisk in another ½ to ¾ cup water to make a thin lump-free batter. (If using besan, you will need less water).
- Add the salt, turmeric, cayenne, carom seeds, onion, chile, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon of oil, and mix well. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, drizzle a few drops of oil on the skillet. Spread the oil using a paper towel. Pour a ladle full (1/4 to ⅓ cup) of the batter onto the skillet. Spread the batter by moving the skillet to make a 6 to 8-inch pancake. Drizzle a few drops of oil on the edges of the pancake.
- Cook until the edges start to leave the pan and the bottom is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 to 4 minutes. Continue to make the rest of the pancakes. Serve hot.