Zucchini scallion chickpea-flour pancakes

August 18, 2019 at 10:31 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan, Peter Berley, Summer recipes, Website / blog)


Below I give my current version of Dreena Burton’s zucchini scallion chickpea-flour pancakes, as well as some notes on Peter Berley’s curried chickpea pancakes with scallions and cilantro.

Here’s my current recipe, as of September 28, 2019

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of grated zucchini, about 1 large zucchini or 3 small zucchinis (do not peel, just trim ends; use large hole of a standard cheese grater)
  • 1 Tbs. of tahini (14g)
  • 1 Tbs. of lemon juice (15g)
  • 1/2 tsp. fine salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour + 1 egg (or for fully vegan use another 1/4 cup chickpea flour, possibly a bit more. See note below)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbs. oil (for pan-frying)

Instructions:

  1. Grate the zucchini into a large bowl. Add the tahini, lemon juice, and one egg (if using) and mix the three together in a corner of the bowl. Sprinkle the salt, cumin seeds, black pepper, scallions, and cilantro over the zucchini and mix everything together well. Add the buckwheat flour (if using) and chickpea flour and mix again until the batter is uniform in texture. Allow mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes, so that the flours absorb all the zucchini’s moisture. Do not taste the batter! (Raw chickpea flour–bleh!)
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add a 1/2 tsp. of oil and turn the heat to medium-low. Immediately add the zucchini batter to the pan. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop several small balls onto the pan. (The exact number will depend on how large you make the balls.) Use a spatula to flatten them. When golden brown on the first side, flip them and cook them until golden brown on the other side. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  3. Serve with dal.

Flour Note from Dreena Burton: “Depending on the moisture in the zucchini, and how it measures grated, you may need more/less flour. I like 3/4 cup – it yields fritters that are still moist with the zucchini but hold together just fine. You can always start with 3/4 cup, and adjust with a touch more flour if you like as you start to cook. More flour will yield firmer patties. As mentioned in the blog post, don’t substitute other flour here.”

Original notes form Aug 18, 2019:

I know I’ve tried making zucchini pancakes before, but I can’t find anything about it on my blog. Weird. My memory is that the zucchini pancakes I’ve made in the past were fine, but not exciting. But then Dreena Burton posted a new recipe for vegan zucchini fritters that sounded easy and like something Alma would like. Plus I had a big bag of zucchinis in the fridge and some chickpea flour to use up. Perfect.

I grated my zucchinis, but then when I went to get the chickpea flour I realized I only had about half a cup left, not the 3/4 cup to 1 cup the recipe calls for. So I added another 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour plus one egg, in case the buckwheat flour didn’t bind as well as the chickpea flour. The original recipe is vegan and oil-free, but mine ended up non-vegan (because of the egg) and with oil (since I added a little oil in the pan that I was frying them in). I also didn’t have any dill seed, so I added 1/4 tsp. cumin seed. It’s not much, but I could definitely taste the cumin seed. I didn’t love the way the flavor worked with the zucchini, until I added some fresh cilantro to the batter. Yes. Much better. I thought Alma might complain since she usually doesn’t like cilantro, but she was so enamored of her ketchup that I think I could have put jalapenos in and she wouldn’t have noticed. The recipe also calls for 3 to 4 Tbsp. scallions or chives. I used scallions and I think I could have used even more than the recipe calls for—maybe 1/2 a cup? Alma certainly didn’t complain about the ones that were in there.

I had a little extra zucchini left and ended up throwing it in the batter at the end. It didn’t seem to make a difference (maybe because of the egg?).

I ate my fritters dipped in a (not-yet-seasoned) mung and red lentil dal. The dal didn’t have any spices in it yet, just turmeric, salt, and a little yogurt. It made a delicious dipping sauce, but Alma wouldn’t try it. (It couldn’t compete with ketchup.)

I think this recipe would make a great breakfast, especially if you use dal as your dipping sauce. You’d just have to make the batter up the night before, then leave it in the fridge. It would make a pretty fast and filling breakfast with some vegetables and beans (of a sort).

Update Sept 2019: I made these again with one large zucchini. Grated it weighed 17 ounces and was about 3 cups of tightly packed zucchini. I added the full cup of chickpea flour and 1 egg. But no buckwheat flour this time. Instead of cumin seed I tried 1/4 tsp. fennel seed. I added 1/4 cup (loosely packed) scallions but it didn’t look like enough so I doubled it to 1/2 cup, but it still didn’t look like that much, so I added a bit more. The scallions weighed 1 ounce.

The pancake texture wasn’t as nice as last time — more doughy than zucchini maybe? I think it was too much chickpea flour. And I didn’t care for the fennel seeds. Alma still happily ate them with ketchup and Derek said he loved the lunch (again I served them with dal). But I was less excited than last time. I definitely missed the cilantro flavor.

Update Sept 28, 2019: I made these again with 3 small to medium zucchinis. Grated they weighed 17 ounces. This time I went back to 1/4 cup buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup chickpea flour and 1 egg, 1/4 tsp. cumin seed, lots of scallions (forgot measure), and some cilantro. Derek agreed they were better than the last batch, and loved them with the over salted dal I pulled out of the freezer. Alma ate them happily with ketchup, but pooh poohed the dal. She ate hers with a side of soybeans instead.

Derek’s rating (with dal): A-/B+

My rating (with dal): B+

Update Apr 24, 2022: I made these tonight for my mom and sister, and returned to the original vegan recipe with no egg, no buckwheat flour, and all chickpea flour. However, I kept my preferred seasoning of cilantro and cumin and lots of scallions, rather than using Dreena Burton’s dill seed and mustard combo.

My Mom said she liked them and she preferred them fatter and juicer, not flattened with a spatula and crisper/drier. My sister seemed to like them as well. Alma said she didn’t like them, but she ate 6.

Curried chickpea pancakes with spicy tahini sauce

There’s a somewhat similar recipe in Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast. I’ve made it in the past and remember thinking it was good. Berley’s recipe doesn’t call for zucchini, but otherwise it’s somewhat similar to (my version of the) recipe above multiplied by 4. Here’s a comparison, with the recipe above in parentheses for comparison:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chickpea flour (same)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (same amount, just buckwheat flour instead of wheat)
  • 1.5 to 2 tsp. fine salt (2 tsp.)
  • freshly milled black pepper (same)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder (none)
  • 2 Tbs. curry powder (none, but 1 tsp. of cumin seeds)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten (same)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt + 2 cups of water (uses neither, but calls for 4 Tbs. of tahini, 4 Tbs. of lemon juice, and 1 pound of grated zucchini)
  • 2 Tbs. oil in the batter + 1 Tbs to cook the pancakes (the recipe above calls for 4 Tbs. oil for pan-frying)
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (the recipe above calls for 2 cups of sliced scallions)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (same as the recipe above)

Instructions:

  1. If you plan to make all the pancakes in advance, place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 200 F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 2 cups of water, 1 cup yogurt, 4 eggs lightly beaten, and 2 Tbs. of oil. Whisk together the liquid ingredients and then stir to combine the liquid and dry ingredients. Add the scallions and chopped cilantro and mix well.
  3. Cook the pancakes in a cast iron or nonstick skillet, either as small, silver-dollar sized pancakes, regular-sized pancakes, or large pancakes (that you then cut into 4 wedges). You’ll want to heat your skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, coat the surface with a bit of oil and heat for about 30 seconds, until the oil is warm. Cook the pancake for about 4 minutes on the first side, and about 3 minutes on the second side. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

My notes:

This recipe says it says 4, but the three of us had it for dinner with a red lentil, lemon, spinach soup and we had a ton of batter leftover–about a quart. I think it serves at least 6, maybe 8.

I didn’t taste a lot of curry flavor, but I definitely tasted the scallions, and to some extent the cilantro. The flavor was fine, but we were dipping the pancakes either in the soup or in a tahini lemon sauce or in yogurt, so you couldn’t really taste the pancake flavor that much. Mostly it just added texture. Derek thought the texture of the pancakes was slightly gummy, but I thought it was fine.

Surprisingly, Alma ate these pancakes, and without ketchup! She happily dipped them in yogurt. I think she liked them more than the zucchini version above. I’m not sure why.

We also made the tahini sauce that accompanies the recipe (page 47). It turned out a bit liquidy, and make a ton. It was tasty, but totally overpowered the rather mild flavor of the pancakes. We have a ton of the sauce left. I don’t think we will use it all up even with the leftover batter. Maybe next time we should make 2/3 of the sauce recipe, so approximately 1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 cup water, 3 Tbs. lemon juice, 1 garlic clove minced, 1/4 tsp. fine salt, 1/4 tsp. cayenne.

2 Comments

  1. austingardener said,

    Hanaleah used to love zucchini pancakes too. I used whole wheat flour instead of chickpea flour though. I find the chickpea flour has an off putting taste. I will have to try ww flour and some buckwheat next year when the zucchini are prolific. I used the recipe from Claire’s vegetarian cookbook. I took her class at Central Market years ago and this was the only recipe I kept making.

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