Although I haven’t had much time to write since becoming a Mum, I have spent many hours thinking up things a toddler will eat. There are plenty of things that a toddler will warm to, no doubt, but I want to do quicker than quick things that take very little prep so I can get on with building monster forts out of cushions in the living room or seeking out the best playground in the city.
One of the staples that I keep in my cupboards is besan, or chick pea flour. It’s a high protein flour because it’s made from beans, but it is also really easy to use because you only need to mix it with water in order to have a starter batter for whatever you want. If you chuck it in a bowl with a little turmeric and and pinch of salt and chilli powder, you can use this as a base for any pakora you like. Have an onion? Slice it and toss it in the batter! Wondering what to do with that last courgette lurking in the veggie drawer? Chop or grate, dunk, scoop out and fry in spoonfuls! Big chillies? Oooooh, stuff them with seasoned, cooked lentils, dunk and fry. Serve with chutney or just carry in your tiffin box.
I am very lucky to have been a recipient of a set of American pancake forms, from my Mum, that are all animal shapes. Being inspired by my son’s recent learning, and perpetual performing, of “the rawr”, I decided to go with the lion form. So, I thought a besan and turmeric based batter would suit a yellow lion down to the ground and a hidden vegetable thrown into the mix would suit me, the Mummy, down to the ground as well. With a little luck, all of this would also suit “Sir”. What follows is the result and, might I add, it wasn’t just yummy to him, his father and I pretty much scoffed up the rest of the batter in pikelet-sized pancakes once the wee tyke was off for his nap.
I’m writing in recipe form here for the sake of giving you an idea, but you’ll need to use your judgement. Besan comes in different grinds and carrots come in different sizes (This is true. I checked on the internet.) but you are looking for a loose batter that is muchly filled with carrot.
Cumin and Carrot Savoury Pancakes
1/3 cup besan
1/2 tsp haldi/ turmeric
a pinch of salt
a pinch and a half of cumin seeds
5 Tbls water
1 small carrot, grated
Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl and press out any lumps with a fork. Add the water and mix gently. It should look fairly thin. Finally grate in the carrot and turn over a few times. As with any pancake batter, you don’t want to over mix it or the pancakes will be tough. Pan fry on medium heat in olive oil or lovely, lovely ghee.
Serve with chutney or on their own. This makes enough for a snack for two people or one really hungry one, about 9-10 small pancakes or one giant lion.