These VEGAN Savory Chickpea Pancakes are my favorite weekend breakfast, but work as a quick-fix dinner too. Simple, flavorful, comforting, delicious and veggie-rich.
I’m not a morning person, and so, by extension, my breakfasts aren’t a very creative affair either. I’m perfectly happy with coffee being the most important part of breakfast, but my husband isn’t so. He, is a classic morning person. He wakes up before the alarm goes off, loves all manner of breakfast foods above all else and is happiest on days where he gets to have more than one breakfast before noon. Yeah. More than one breakfast. A regular hobbit he is, that one.
But he is also the classic, the most amazing, low-maintenance man-friend a girl could ever ask for, so he is also equally happy with just breakfast cereal every morning. Because he never expects anything of me, ever, I make an exception to my indifference towards breakfast on the weekends. Well, most weekends.
Of course, by the time I’m up (on the weekends I usually give myself an extra hour of woken-up-but-stay-in-bed time), he’d already had his customary bowl of cereal, so whatever I make, is simply second breakfast, or elevenses for him. And these Savory Chickpea Pancakes usually feature heavier than most other breakfasts on weekend mornings.
You see, these savory pancakes are rather special for me. They’re a sensory trigger food – one taste and I’m instantly transported in time and space to being 10 year old sitting on the kitchen floor watching my grandmother whisking the batter. I can feel the soothing chill of the tile floor, unaffected by the summer heat that scorched the world outside. I can smell her cotton sari, mingled with the aroma of curry leaves sizzling on the stove, feel its softness, and the essence of comfort and safety that emanated from it. The black stone slab counter, cold as the floor, always felt taller than me and darkened the room into something sinister, dangerous and fearful, something only grown-ups can handle, yet it was my favorite place in the old, crumbling home.
She passed away when I was 13; too young to have had the wisdom to ask for her recipes, which is a shame because the woman was a gifted cook. Everything she made was nothing short of divine. Since she took her culinary secrets with her to the grave, I’ve had to re-create this over the years from memory – and memories do fade. I’m not entire sure I’ll ever get it to taste like hers – because hers uses eggs in the batter and that’s no longer an option for my vegan palette, but I think this is as close as I’ll ever get.
I’ve tweaked it to include more vegetables (hers simply had onions and curry leaves) – zucchini has become a new obsession of mine, but if you have other favorites, use whatever catches your fancy. I can’t think of a vegetable that wouldn’t fit right in with this recipe.
Here are a few recipe notes that you might find useful, should you feel inclined to give this a try:
- Since we’re making this plant-based, black salt has been included to give it that ‘eggy’ flavor. If you don’t have it at hand, it’s fine to omit and add just a little extra regular salt.
- I sauté the onions till they wilt and caramelize, infusing the batter with their glorious flavor. If you’d rather they have a bite to them, feel free to remove from heat sooner.
- I like the texture of a firm zucchini to bite into, so they’re diced and added to the batter. You can also grate the zucchini for a softer, less bumpier pancake. But if you do that, reduce a few teaspoons of water from the batter as grated zucchini will release a lot of water in a salted batter.
- I use a 6″ non-stick skillet for this recipe, you can also use cast iron, but you might need a little more oil to get the pancakes to slide out easily.
- For a variation in flavor, swap curry leaves with cilantro, or do a version with just spring onions, make it Italian with dried oregano. Use the batter as a blank canvas, and play with the spices and herbs.
- This batter can be made and refrigerated the night before for an ultra quick breakfast the next morning – don’t add the salts and baking soda until just before cooking.
These Savory Chickpea Pancakes are bet enjoyed piping hot, straight from the pan to plate to mouth – that’s when you get that perfect contrast of crisp crunchy edges and that molten soft center. Which is why this recipe makes just 5 pancakes – 3 for him, 2 for me. No leftovers.
While you won’t particularly have the bonus side-effect of emotional flashbacks that I typically have, even so, these are pretty darn good pancakes, with or without time travel.
And when you make these delicious Vegan Savory Chickpea Pancakes (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here!