Chickpea pancakes with lime-pickled paneer

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Some recipes are as necessary in the kitchen as a sharp knife and the radio. This trusty, tasty pancake made with chickpea flour is one of them. You can throw almost any herb, vegetable or spice in it, but this lime pickle and paneer topping is a lip-smacking way to jazz it up. It’s helpful to have a ladle so that all the batter can hit the pan in one go. As with all pancakes, the first one is always the odd one out. Which means, by rights, it goes to the chef.

Makes 4 to 6 small pancakes

  • 150g chickpea (gram) flour 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon garam masala
    1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder salt
  • 225g soft paneer, like Savera or home-made (see page 286)
  • 11⁄4 tablespoons lime pickle, like Patak’s
  • 20g fresh coriander 10g fresh dill (plus
  • extra to serve) rapeseed oil

Put the chickpea flour into a medium-sized bowl and add the turmeric, garam masala, baking powder and 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Mix thoroughly, then make a well and whisk in 240ml of water. Rest the batter for 20 minutes.

While the batter is resting, chop the paneer into 1cm cubes. (If it’s the fresh sort, crumble with the back of a spoon or your fingers – you’ll get some tasty little crumbs that way.)

Cut the lime pickle up, so there are no big chunks of lime. Put a tablespoon of oil into a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the paneer and cook for around 4 minutes, until the paneer starts to crisp up. Add the pickle, stir through, and season with 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Take off the heat.

Chop the herbs, add to the batter and stir to combine. Set a small non-stick pan over a medium heat. Pour a drizzle of oil into the pan and tip from side to side to coat the bottom. Pour a ladleful of batter into the pan and cook the pancake for 1 minute, or until the edges start to brown, then flip using a fish slice. Cook for another minute, flip again, then repeat this process twice, cooking the pancake for 4 minutes in total. Remove from the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter. To keep the pancakes warm, wrap them in foil.

To serve, scatter over the paneer mixture and a little chopped dill.