In fishing out a recipe for a fushion crepe dish I had posted earlier, I realized I had never actually specified how to make the crepe batter. I want to rectify that now, especially since this batter uses chick pea flour and is nutritive-ly far superior to its French counterpart.
I had hesitated in providing that recipe because it was from a cook book. However, today, I was sans cook book due to an apartment repair job which required us to pack up all of our books from one wall. It is for a traditional Indian dish called “cheela”.
So, I called my mom and promptly forgot most of what she told me. I did remember her saying that outside of the salt and pepper, all else was free to experimentation. So here are the results of my delicious experiment:
- 1 cup chick pea flour (also called Besan, in indian stores)
- 1/2 large onion, diced (I used yellow)
- 1 medium green chili pepper (these are long and slim), chopped
- at least 1 Tbls Fresh coriander (or more if you’d like)
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
- Garam Masala (1/4 to 1/2 tsp) (I only used this because I had it, not because its imperative to the dish)
- ground coriander (1/2 tsp)
- ground cumin (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
Toss and mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Then, add water, starting with one cup of water. You want to make it about a pancake like consistency in the batter. If needed, add up to 1/4 cup more. Whisk together to create the batter for the crepes. Then follow the cooking instructions in my previous post–that post describes how proten-acious this crepe is and how it barely takes any oil to cook! I made up to 7 crepes using this recipe, could have possibly stretched it to 8, to feed 3 adults. Enjoy!
A side note on the amount of spices: Note, when I don’t have a specific measurement in mind for a basic spice such as salt or pepper, I basically sprinkle the salt over the surface of the other ingredients in a left to right manner until I have the surface at least lightly coated. In this case, because chick pea flour has a strong taste, I decided I was use just a pinch or dash more salt. Same with the black pepper. I sprinkled until the surface of the flour in my bowl was fully coated because I love black pepper. Otherwise, I added some ground cumin because I LOVE it and I used ground coriander because I didn’t have fresh.
Loaded with beta carotene
For a few years now, I’ve relished creating with pumpkin because of its texture and taste. With fall comes the convenience and affordability of pumpkin puree, so the plunge is even easier. Pumpkin is simply not just pumpkin pie. I experimented with healthi-fying foods. I make pumpkin breads, pumpkin muffins, adding cranberries, nuts, whatever. This past weekend, I found a very good recipe for pumpkin pancakes that relied extensively on whole wheat flour. I am telling you, the pancakes cooked fabulously–just the right flakiness, sweetness. We served it with organic maple syrup, soy sausage and a lovely fresh fruit chat. So thank you to the PinchMySalt.com blogger for providing her original recipe:
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
- Fruit Chat — Chop one pear, one apple, one avocado, and one banana into serving bowl. Squeeze 1 lime or 1/2 lemon juice and toss with 1 teaspoon of roasted ground cumin and a pinch of salt. If you have black salt, that is best. For those that have some chat masala, tossing some in is an added perk.
- Soy Sausage – Wholefoods 365 brand
On a related note, Interestingly enough, before leaving Philadelphia, my husband and I fell in love with a new BYOB called Pumpkin. We rave about it–an intimate culinary experience to check out if you are there!
I had fun with a new creation this morning. Its made with Indian crepes called cheelas. I was inspired to make it because I had made a savory filling for a tart over thanksgiving that I never ended up making. (Plus, though I brought the filling home, I left the crust in my sister’s fridge!) Cheela batter is healthier than regular crepe batter. Here I fused it with a traditional French (Provencal) based savory filling of red cabbage and onion.
The filling was for a cabbage and red onion tart from the Martha Stewart Living website (i provide the link here). I was nervous about serving a cabbage filling (kind of a departure for me i guess) but it came out wonderfully..sweet and a touch of vinegar-y. They ended up being a perfect compliment to the indian crepes (cheela(s)). Marvelous, and my first fusion concontion to boot! There are a few reasons why I thought it was valuable to share.
- Indian crepes are made out of chickpea flour (besan) so they are full of protein.
I checked the nutrition data tool (LOVE THIS!) and it says one cup of chick pea flour contains 21 grams of protein. I made 8 crepes which meant about 175 calories each for my husband and I, just for the crepes without the filling. The total distribution from these crepes are about 61% carbs, 25% protein and 14% fat. That is from the flour alone. It also seems to contain thyamine and is a good source of manganese and folate. So good for all you pregnant woman right?
- The batter does not contain fat. It contains spices, chopped up chili peppers and herbs (like cilantro) and it is thinned with water. Chick pea flour can be tricky to make tasty (I used to find it so) but with a few standard Indian spices, it is getting easier. I used the recipe from American Masala (of course) for the crepes (cheela). I am not going to duplicate the recipe here since I definitely encourage people buying this lovely book. I did add black pepper to the batter since my filling was something based in French flavors and i wanted to compliment that. But I also added garam masala and cumin seeds since I did not have some of ingredients on hand that he recommended. My mom has her own recipe but it saved me a phone call. I did want to say that over time, you will evolve your own mix of spices to add to the batter. You basically whisk the batter together to a thin pancake like consistency.
- Using Sarvan’s technique, I used only 1/4 tspn of oil for each crepe during cooking. As I progressed I was able to use less and less since the oil from the previous crepe would remain at the bottom of the pan to assist with the next one.
- Notes, tips and observation on cooking the crepes. I originally made the mistake of putting in way too much batter…i also subconsciously thought i had to put oil in the pan to cook the crepes. The whole thing just stuck together to the bottom of the frying pan like bad eggmaking can sometimes do. I had to scrape the whole thing off and start over! The second time I used a non-stick pan and heated it with no oil at the bottom. I was careful to use about 1/4 cup of batter like Sarvan suggested and quickly circled the batter from the center out to make it as large as possible. Once I did that I drizzled a 1/4 tsp of oil over it. and then I let it cook until the bottom turned golden brown. Now, I still have room for improvement. I need to learn to make the circles thinner and wider quickly. My crepes were likely smaller than they needed to be. The heat has to be right because the chick pea flour cooks quickly and while you want to get the bottom golden brown, you also want the get the whole thing dry on the top too. Still, i’m so happy with my first batch. I have never succeeded in getting them off the pan and these turned out to be eminently flippable.
Thanks to both Sarvan and Martha Stewart for my first fusion creation! This was a perfect breakfast/brunch dish coming home from Thanksgiving.
Cost per serving: Chick pea flour and cabbage and onion. Oh my god, this is like the mother of all staples. I am going to the math quickly on this, rather than too precisely. I included the price of the cabbage, red onion, 1 cup of besan flour, the thyme in the cabbage red onion filling, and the oil in the whole recipe for four servings (each serving is 2 stuffed crepes). I come up to $0.40 cents a serving
Posted in brunch or breakfast, Less than fifty cents a serving, nutrition, Recipes, Snack, Vegetarian
Tagged American Masala, brunch, Cabbage, Indian Crepes, protein, vegetables