Consider the act of nourishment that paradoxically can become more complicated when you suddenly find yourself alone. As much as I like to cook, there is less incentive involved when the diner is just me, the cook. Not that I don't enjoy the fruits of my labours, but I don't relish the idea of eating the same dish for more than 3 days, yet cutting corners with bread and cheese and simple egg dishes quickly loses its appeal. Still, there is a certain satisfaction in indulging in whatever you wish, without witnesses, no matter the time of day or method of execution.
Craving a more nourishing meal, and determined to cook something other than eggs, I was reminded of these gluten free, dairy-free chickpea flour pancakes (Pudla) that Lucy made after consulting her copy of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. I've owned a copy of this cookbook for years, and though I vaguely recalled seeing the recipe, somehow I hastily scanned over it. My loss, until now.
I enjoyed these as a light dinner, with some of Nupur's exquisite Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Spread, but they would be ideal for breakfast or lunch as well and they are so flavourful and satisfying, you don't need any chutney or sauce whatsoever.
I used some fresh cilantro and chilies from my garden, increased the amount of spice, of course, and halved the recipe, because I am alone after all. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for larger family units. I will be making these again, there is no doubt about that. In fact, I didn't even bring a book nor newspaper to the table with me, as I usually do when dining alone, wishing instead to focus all of my attention on this perfect combination of flavors.
Chickpea Flour Pancakes with Crushed Peas and Cilantro
1 cup of chickpea flour
2/3 teaspoon of ground cumin
generous dash of turmeric
generous dash of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of water
2/3 cup of frozen peas, boiled for a few minutes and lightly mashed
1 green chili, finely chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated or finely minced
1 - 2 teaspoons of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
sesame oil for frying
In a medium bowl, sift together the chickpea flour, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon, pour in the water, taking care to remove any lumps. Stir in the mashed peas, chopped chili, ginger and cilantro. Set aside for 20 - 30 minutes.
Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a small nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, ladle 1/4 - 1/3 cup of batter into the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook for another minute or so, or until browned. Transfer to a plate and fry up the rest of the batter, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
Serves 1 - 2