Make a pancake make make a pancake ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

24 July 2009

Make a pancake make make a pancake

(In ref: the best song about pancakes ever. PANCAKES.)

Pancakes are great. I encourage everyone to make pancakes.

I was teaching one of my students long division today (WHAT UP, LONG DIVISION! I love you!) when he suddenly said, "This would be a great time for pancakes." It really would have been. It was about 11:45 and we were both starting to collapse in need of serious lunch. PANCAKES.

Of course, traditional pancakes don't do much when you need actual sustenance, so it's a good thing someone invented savory pancakes.

I like to make dinner pancakes with chickpea flour, aka gram flour or besan. Chickpea flour is just finely ground chickpeas, and is obviously way healthier and more sustaining than plain wheat flour. You can find it in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, in ethnic food stores (especially Indian), or possibly in the bulk bins if you have an extremely well-stocked food co-op. It's not hard.

Here's what I normally do. I make a batter with chickpea flour, water, a pinch of salt and a little oil, then look through the refrigerator to figure out what vegetables to put in the pancakes. You could use practically anything: various peppers, summer squash, potato or other root vegetables (precooked), green beans, peas, cabbage, radishes, carrots. It's all good.

This time we were stocked with a bunch of fresh corn and zucchini, plus overflowing basil plants on the windowsills. So.

Chickpea pancakes

chickpea flour
oil, olive or flavorless
half a jalepeno
salt, pepper

I totally don't measure when making this batter. However, it's really easy to eyeball: just get things to a pancake batter consistency and you'll be fine.

Pour approximately equal amounts of flour and water, maybe 3/4 cup of each, into a bowl. Add a little glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then mix with a fork until smooth. If the batter looks too thick, add a little more water. If it looks too thin, add more flour. You can also add more of either later on. Totally easy.

For vegetables, husk a couple ears of fresh corn. You could use defrosted frozen corn, but it's July and the corn is out. Use it.

Getting corn off the cob is a little fiddly but not hard. After you've removed as much cornsilk as possible, snap off the stem of your corncob. Stand the corn on a cutting board, wide end down, holding it at the tip. Then use a slow sawing motion, working top to bottom, to cut a few rows of corn off the cob. Rotate and repeat until you've removed as much corn as possible from the cob.

Gather up any little bits of corn that have scattered themselves all over the counter. Use them all.

Trim a zucchini and dice it into small cubes. Strip some basil leaves off their stems and slice them into fine strips for a chiffonade. Finely mince as much jalapeno as you want.

Add all your vegetables to the batter and stir it up. You want a lot of vegetables in here, with batter clinging to them all over. If you aren't satisfied with the proportions, correct as needed with more flour and water, stirring thoroughly after each addition. You can also add some pepper if you want some.

Now it's time to fry. Get a nonstick or cast iron pan good and hot, so a flick of water sizzles and evaporates instantly. Then pour in as many ladlefuls of batter as your pan fits comfortably. Cook about 2-3 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles start to form on the surface. Hey, just like ordinary pancakes! These will have fewer bubbles, since they have a bunch of vegetables in them, but you'll be able to spot a few.

Flip and cook another minute or so. Both sides of your pancakes should turn golden brown and clearly delicious.

Repeat until all your batter is used up. I got ten pancakes out of mine, which was plenty.

You can keep pancakes warm in a very low oven until you're finished with the whole batch. You could also just eat them straight out of the pan. Who am I to judge?

Eat your pancakes hot or lukewarm, plain or with garnish. I tried one with some spicy chili jam, which was good, but they stood alone just fine as well. You could try sour cream or plain yogurt, white bean and garlic puree, thick lentil soup, chopped fresh tomato, guacamole: whatever. Just don't put syrup on them.


MxH said...

i made pancakes this week. they were so fluffy and -- texture-wise -- the best pancakes i ever made. and i got the recipe off the internet. i always eat my pancakes with jam, but i think the next time i will put in sweet potatoes and jalapeno thanks to your advice.

Eileen said...

Hooray! do it! Cooked sweet potato would be really awesome with corn or zucchini, too.

Anonymous said...

wow what a great idea I will have to try that.

MxH said...

Um, the sweet potato pancakes were delicious, but the sweet potato didn't show up in the pancake. I cubed it and sauteed it beforehand. I feel like I need something with a bigger jolt. Maybe I should have sprinkled lemon juice? Not even the jalapenos registered. I'll have to work on that.

Eileen said...

1. do it do it!
2. so, did the potatoes kind of disappear into the batter, and make things more like sweet potato pancakes? Hm. I mean, that's not a terrible result, but not the desired one either. Maybe coat the cubes with chickpea flour before you toss them into the batter? or use a more substantial winter squash instead? For jalapeno I'd just use more of it.

Eileen said...

or, like, did they not show up flavorwise? I know what to do in that case: ROAST THEM.