Sapna's chickpea pancakes

When asked what I miss most when it comes to food, I always say, without hesitation – roti canai. Hot, crisp, roti canai with fish curry. What’s not to love? How I miss those weekend tea sessions at the mamak stalls. One simply cannot find decent roti canai in London! What we can find, though, is some really good thosai just a tube-ride away in Eastham. Eastham seems to be a haven for Indian food and after a round of thosai and Indian desserts last weekend, Sapna, feeling particularly inspired, purchased a small bag of gram flour.

As always, it was time for a little experimentation and that night, we were treated to some delicious pancakes.

(Makes 8-10 pancakes)


125 g gram flour (chickpea flour)

2 eggs

1 quarter big onion, finely chopped

5 cherry tomatoes, (or 2 normal tomatoes), finely chopped

2 -3 broccoli tops, finely chopped

A handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 and a half tablespoons of plain yogurt

To taste:


Bengali five-spice

(fenugreek, nigella seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds)

Chilli powder


Give the spices a quick sauté then put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add water to the mixture bit by bit until the right consistency is achieved. We look for something that is not too thick or too runny. An easy way to check is to hold up some of the mixture over the bowl with the spatula or whisk and watch it drip – the mixture should be thick and smooth.

Now to test those flipping skills! With some oil heated in a pan, ladle some of the mixture into the pan and gently spread the mixture out. We like our pancakes crisp, so we tend to spread the mixture out quite a bit. Flip the pancake over once the bottom of the pancake comes detached from the pan. I use the spatula to gently flip it over but some of the more adventurous (and stronger) ones like Hanad flip it over with just one swift motion of the pan. We also like to spread a little butter on one side of the pancake just before we take it out of the pan to give it a slight buttery flavor. The pancake is good to go once both sides are crisp.

The trick is to dip the pan slightly downwards and to the front before whipping it up

- Hanad, our resident flipper

The pancakes are good just by themselves, especially hot off the pan but they also go great with some plain yogurt or dipped in Lingham’s chilli sauce.

The mixture can be pre-made and refrigerated. It will take no more than 15 minutes to whip up a batch of pancakes – incredibly handy, especially for a bunch of students who always seem to crave a midnight snack!

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