Chickpea flour pancakes

Photographer: Emma
Makes 8 pancakes

Of all of the joys of cooking, one of the dearest to my heart is the act of sharing recipes and cooking techniques.  I get great pleasure from people cooking for me as I learn from them new ways of doing things and new ways of cooking recipes which I might have cooked a particular way (for no particular reason) for as long as I have been wielding a chefs knife.  I might even be introduced to a new ingredient or a new recipe, one which I have never before been fortunate enough to eat.

This is one of those recipes, it is one which I had never before heard of, nor had ever been fortunate enough to eat.  Cooked to accompany dhal one evening on a weekend away with my good friend Annwen, these pancakes immediately took my interest and have subsequently found a permanent place on my Indian table.  The besan (chickpea) flour lends a nuttiness and lovely yellow colour to the pancakes and the sesame seeds provide a bit of texture.

It may pay to double this recipe if you are expecting guests – the pancakes themselves are very thin, and incredibly morish!


115g chickpea (besan) flour
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground tumeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
235ml water

Oil for frying
Black or white sesame seeds


1. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. With a whisk in one hand begin pouring in the water with the other in a slow steady stream whisking continuously. It is important to keep whisking quickly to ensure you avoid lumps. Stop once a thick paste has formed and give it a good whisk to remove any lumps that may have formed. Whisk in the remaining water, cover and set aside for 30 minutes. If indeed you find you do have lumps in your batter then sieving the mixture will remove them.
2. Add a splash of oil to a frying pan and set over a medium-high heat. Once hot, pour in a ladle-full of batter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and leave to cook for no more than a minute, or until the pancake bubbles and goes golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side for roughly another minute.
3. With the remaining batter continue to cook the pancakes until all the batter has been used up. I keep the cooked pancakes on a plate in a warm oven (50°C) whilst I continue to cook them.
4. Serve as an accompaniment to any good curry or dhal.