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  • Besan Poora

    YIELD: 8 (5-INCH / 13-CM) POORAS
    TOOLS: You’ll need a large mixing bowl or blender; a whisk; a tava, cast-iron frying pan, or griddle; a paper towel; a ladle; a spatula; and a warmed plate.
    TRY THIS! The possibilities are endless with this recipe. Try jazzing up the batter by folding in anything from mashed or grated potatoes to grated zucchini, chopped spinach, mint, or scallions.

    Usually, these thin North Indian pancakes are served with tea or a snack and eaten with a dollop of achaar (spicy pickle). When I was growing up, my mother often made them for breakfast. They were easy, nutritious, and exceptionally delicious. I now make these for my girls as a wonderfully healthy, protein-filled, and gluten-free meal or snack. Keep the batter handy—it will last for up to a week in the fridge.

    • 2 cups /220 g besan (gram or chickpea flour)
    • 1½ cups /350 mL water
    • 1 small onion, minced (about ½ cup / 80 g)
    • 1 (1-inch / 3-cm) piece ginger, peeled and grated or minced
    • 1–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed, finely sliced
    • ¼ cup /5 g kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lightly hand crushed to release flavor
    • ½ cup /10 g minced fresh cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • Vegetable oil, as needed for frying
    • and achaar (spicy pickle), for serving (optional)
    • Hash browns spiced with cumin seeds, for serving (optional)
    1. In a large, deep mixing bowl or a blender,* whisk together the besan and water until smooth. I like to start off with a whisk and then use the back of a spoon to break up the small clumps of flour that normally form. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil and the optional serving items, to the mixing bowl or blender and stir or process until thoroughly combined.
    3. Warm a tava, cast-iron frying pan, or griddle over medium–high heat. Add ½ teaspoon of the oil, spreading it over the pan with the back of a spoon or a paper towel. You can also use cooking spray to evenly coat the pan.
    4. Using a ladle, pour ¼ cup / 60 mL of the batter into the center of the pan. Using the back of the ladle, spread the batter in a circular, clockwise motion from the center toward the outside of the pan, creating a thin, round, 5-inch / 13-cm pancake. Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly brown on 1 side. Turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side, pressing down a bit with a spatula to ensure that the middle cooks through. Remove the poora from the pan and set aside on a warm plate.
    5. Adding oil as needed to prevent sticking, continue cooking until you have used all of the batter and stacked all the pooras on the plate. Remove from the heat.
    6. Serve hot with a side of the Pudina ki Chutney and achaar (spicy pickle) or make some hash browns spiced with cumin seeds and use them as a filling.

    *My mother prefers to make poora batter in a blender so all the ingredients combine really well and the result is a smoother poora. If using the blender, add the water first and then the remaining ingredients, and blend on the highest speed until smooth. I prefer a little crunch in my pooras, so I like to add another ½ onion, diced, to the batter just before cooking.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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