Spicy vegetable chickpea pancake

A trip to Nice would not be complete without enjoying a portion of socca served with a glass of Rosé. I was first introduced to this chickpea flour and olive oil crêpe, during my first trip to Nice over 3 years ago. It has a rich, toasted chickpea flavour that is neither sweet nor savoury. The streets of old Nice are full of many food stalls selling socca. So there are definitely plenty of opportunities to sample it.

Gluten-free and packed full of protein chickpea flour is a definite new favourite of mine. Whilst I was in the UK, I noticed that chickpea flour was quite hard to get hold of. What I did find was ‘gram flour’ which is chickpea flour but with another name. Gram flour is often used in Indian cooking. Luckily for me, the supermarkets in Nice have an abundance of chickpea flour or ‘farine de pois chiche’. So after quite a few experiments and changes to the ingredients I am now happy to share my recipe.

Serves 3-4

  • 140g chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 160g mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 spring onions
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 240ml water
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Finely slice all the vegetables and then set them aside. In a small bowl mix the garlic powder, coriander powder, chilli flakes and paprika. In a large mixing bowl add the chickpea flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan, on a high heat add 1 tbs of olive oil, cook the vegetables for 5 minutes or until softened. Turn the heat down and add the spice mix, continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes to cook the spices. Season with salt and pepper, taste and then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the water bit by bit to the chickpea flour, whisk continuously until you have a smooth thin batter. Add the cooked, spiced vegetables to the batter, and mix thoroughly. Leave the batter to rest for 15-20 minutes.

In a large frying pan on a high heat add 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the pancake mix and cook for 5-6 minutes, by this point you should be able to see quite a few bubbles forming. Carefully remove the pancake from the pan and put the pan back on the heat. Add another 1 tbs of olive oil, before returning the pancake back to the pan and cooking it on the other side for 5 minutes. You may need to turn the pancake over a couple of times to ensure that it cooks evenly. Once cooked remove from the pan and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

The pancake can be enjoyed hot or cold.

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