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
1 cup chickpea flour
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ pound soft paneer
1¼ tablespoons lime pickle, like Patak’s
2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill (plus extra to serve), finely chopped
Put the chickpea flour into a medium-sized bowl and add the turmeric, garam masala, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix thoroughly, then make a well and whisk in 1 cup of water. Rest the batter for 20 minutes.
While the batter is resting, chop the paneer into ¼-inch 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 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 ¼ teaspoon of salt. Take off the heat.
Add the chopped herbs to the batter and stir to combine. Set a small non-stick pan over 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 spatula. 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 the paneer mixture and a little chopped dill over the pancakes.