Plantain is not something I have very often. I don’t dislike it, it’s just not in my regular repertoire. Sam and Charlotte love it though, and so they brought some home for me to cook. I admit that I tend to cook it the same way every time, and just vary the things around it. First, I slice it, then coat it in gram (chickpea) flour before shallow-frying it in a little oil. The flour coating gives it a nice colour at the end and a very slightly crisp outer shell. I don’t stir them around, as this will break them up. Instead, I cook them on one side for a couple of minutes, and then turn them gently with a fork to do the other side. If you do it this way you might find that you want to brown the first side a little more. Just flip them back over gently and handle them as little as possible. When they are done, keep them on a plate while you do everything else. It doesn’t matter if they go cold as they’ll be placed inside the pancake later to warm back up.
The chickpea flour pancakes are something I discovered a little while ago and now I make as often as I can. All you do is fry the batter in a pan, just like a regular pancake, and you can stuff it with whatever filling you like. It’s kind of like making a hot wrap, or a toasted sandwich. This recipe uses the plantain, as well as peppers, cheese and avocado. My favourite thing to do with them, however, is to make a big pot of chilli one evening, and then fill the pancakes with the leftovers from that. Then you’ve got two exciting meals out of one dish. If you haven’t made these before, use this recipe as a starting point to get your batter mix and your technique. Once you have that down, there’s a whole world of fillings open to you.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 12 minutes for the filling, then about 8 minutes per pancake.
For the Pancake Batter:
250g chickpea flower
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground paprika
1 tsp salt
Pinch of black pepper
400ml cold water
For the Filling:
100g gram (Chickpea) flour
2 ripe plantain, sliced
2-3 tbsp flavourless oil, such as groundnut
1 tbsp olive oil (or you can use same as above)
1 red onion, sliced
2 Romano (or other red peppers), sliced
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lime
2 avocados, sliced
About ½ can pineapple chunks (the chunks themselves will be too thick, so cut them in half. I did this to order while I was cooking them.)
150g vegan cheese, grated
Enough oil to fry the pancakes.
First make the batter. Put all the batter ingredients, apart from the water, into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water, whisking to make sure that no lumps form. If you begin whisking while the batter is very thick, you’ll be able to get rid of the lumps before thinning it out with the rest of the water. Set the batter aside until it is needed.
Now fry the plantain: Put the chickpea flour and salt into another bowl and drop in the plantain (do this in batches if you need to), then shake off the excess flour. Heat the groundnut oil in a frying pan and fry half of the plantain at a time to not overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 3 minutes on one side, before gently turning them over with a fork and frying the other side. They are done when they are nicely browned, but not burnt. Set aside on a plate and then cook the other half of the plantain. Clean out the pan to use for the rest of the recipe.
To make the filling, first heat the olive oil in the pan and then fry the onions and peppers together for 4-5 minutes, until they have softened and slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and then squeeze on the lime juice. Cook for a minute more and then transfer to a dish or bowl.
Now you can make and assemble your pancakes. Heat a little oil in the frying pan until quite hot, then pour about ¾ of a ladleful of the batter into the pan. Spread the batter around the pan, just as you would a normal pancake, and cook on the one side for a minute or two. It doesn’t have to be fully browned, just make sure that it is cooked enough to be able to flip it over with a spatula.
Flip the pancake over as mentioned above, then start to add the filling. Keeping half of the pancake blank (have in mind that you are going to be folding it over at the end), place 4 slices of the plantain on the one half. Add a little of the peppers and onion mixture, then add about 4 slices of avocado. Put on a few of the pineapple chunks (remembering to cut them in half to make them thinner) and then top with a little of the vegan cheese. Now fold the other half of the pancake over and press down gently with the spatula. Once the pancake is crisp on the one side, turn it over to do the other side. Should take 3-4 minutes each side to be ready.
Once the pancake is ready, keep it warm in a low oven while you get on with the rest of them. If you only want to make a couple of these, then either halve the recipe, or store in containers in the fridge for another day.
Serve with vegan sour cream.