Indian chickpea crepe pancake – pudla (vegan & gluten free)

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Like many people who come to the UK, our family has adopted many of the traditions of our home country. We celebrate Christmas as a time to come together, and exchange gifts. We use Easter as an excuse to eat chocolate. New Year’s Eve has become a night of TV jaagran, staying up to watch the celebrations from across the globe.

All this is, of course, in addition to our own festivals of Diwali, Holi and more. After all, it’s more to celebrate and so why not?

Pudlas with potato curry & chai

Well on that topic, tomorrow is Pancake Day in the UK and many other places. Why do people eat pancakes on this particular Tuesday? It’s all about using up rich foods before the period of abstinence called Lent that leads up to Easter. A bit like when I do a long fast – get all the good stuff eaten before you have to hide away the sweet things.

Since my family don’t eat eggs, we’ve never really joined in with pancake day. I do sometimes like the big fluffy American style pancakes but these are quite rich and I’d prefer to reserve them for special occasions.

But this year, with my drive towards eating more vegan, I’ve realised that I could adapt one of one of my traditional recipes as the perfect Indian-inspired savoury pancake for tomorrow.

Pudla and chutney

Pudlas (pronounced ‘pud’ as in pudding and ‘las’ as in ‘last’) are a delicious, easy to make type of savoury pancake using chickpea flour. They can be thin like a crepe, ready to be topped or made to be thicker and used to scoop up a curry or pickle.

Chickpea flour is very easy to find in most supermarkets. It’s sometimes called garbanzo bean, besan or gram flour and, if you don’t have it already, it’s worth getting in as an essential ingredients for all kinds of Indian dishes.

This recipe is:

  • vegan
  • gluten-free
  • quick and simple
  • versatile
  • scrumptious!

It’s worth saving for later, because once you see how quick it is to make, you might find this is your ‘go-to’ to accompany many curries from this blog.

Frying pudla

By the way, I’m trying out a new way to present recipes. I know many of you view this site on your phones or print off recipes, which really inspires me to write more. This new method should look better on phones and offer a simple print view (try it out!). I’d really love your feedback on this – please let me know if it works for you.

Pudlas (Indian chickpea crepe pancakes)

Pudlas are very popular in most Gujarati homes. It’s one of those quick dishes you can make and enjoy when you are in a hurry. It's both vegan and gluten free which. Pudlas may be made quite simply, leaving out potato and other vegetables, but with those included, they're a meal on their own.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Optional resting time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: accompaniments
Servings: 10 pudlas
Author: Mina Joshi

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chickpea flour also known as besan, garbanzo or gram flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric poweder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-3 cloves of grated/ground garlic
  • 4 tbsp oil for frying the pudlas

Optional

  • 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) mixed vegetables I used peas, sweetcorn, carrots and peppers
  • finely cut mixture fresh coriander and fenugreek optional – I like the taste and it gives the pudlas a nice colour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground green chillies optional you can use red chilly powder or pepper

Instructions

  • If using, soak the frozen vegetables in hot water whilst you prepare the fresh veg.
  • Finely chop the onions and potatoes (and any other vegetable you may wish to add). You can keep these chunkier if you are making thicker pudlas.
  • Drain the frozen vegetables and add them to the onions and potatoes in a mixing bowl.
  • If using, add the coriander/fenugreek to your mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining spices to the mixing bowl (turmeric, ginger, garlic). Now add the salt, and ground chillies (if using).
  • Finally, add the three cups of chickpea flour to the mixing bowl and combine with the vegetables and spices.
  • Now make a batter by slowly adding the warm water to the mixing bowl and stirring gently. You may not need all the water, so only add it until the pudla batter becomes soft and smooth. 
  • If you have time, rest the mixture for 20 minutes to allow the spices to combine.
  • Heat half your oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and ensure the pan base is covered. You can use less oil, however the pudla won't turn out as crispy. More oil will guarantee it!
  • Once your pan is hot, use a ladle or large spoon to pour the pudla batter into the centre of the pan, gently forming it into a wet disc. Depending on how chunky your veg is, you may need to spread it using the back of a spoon.
  • Fry the pudla batter on one side until you see small holes appearing on the surface. This is where the hot air is bubbling up.
  • Add a little oil to the top of the pudla, and then flip it over to cook the other side. Don't toss like a normal pancake!
  • Fry the second side until golden underneath. Depending on your preference, you can keep them light and fluffy or fry them for longer (with extra oil) to make them crisp and dark.
  • Once the pudlas are fried on both sides, serve immediately. Or to keep warm, place them in a covered casserole dish covered with a clean tea towel. You can also place them into a grill set to low.

Notes

The batter should not be too thick or too runny. You can add more water if your batter feels too thick or add some more chickpea flour to it if the batter feels runny. 
You may need to add extra oil each time you add more pudla batter to the frying pan.
Try serving with a simple potato curry and a tamarind dressing.

Pudlas - Gujarati savoury pancakes made with chickpea flour

How will you make your pudlas tomorrow? Leave a comment below.

By the way, if you want something more classic, my friend Nayna has a recipe for some delicious looking (and egg-free!) mango and nutella pancakes.

Photo credits.

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