Spinach Pancakes - Spinach na pooda / Spinach pudla / Palak besan cheela
Today's recipe is a reminder of my childhood in Zambia, especially when my grandmother wanted to make us something quick and easy but also, to find a way to get our portion of spinach in for the day. This quick and easy spinach pancake is also known as spinach na pooda and otherwise known in other areas of Gujarat as spinach pudla.
(serves at least 3 people - makes about 10)
Here's the recipe!
250g spinach leaves (well washed and then chopped into 0.5cm wide shreds)
170g wholemeal flour
140g chickpea flour
55g rice flour
4 tbsps sunflower oil
15g green chillies (washed, topped and tailed and ground to a paste)
6g dhana-jeeru powder (cumin-coriander powder)
4g turmeric powder
2g red chilli powder
3 cloves of garlic (washed, peeled and minced/grated)
30g fresh ginger (washed, peeled and minced/grated)
430mls tap water (ideally filtered but filtering is optional)
2 heaped tbsps yogurt
1. In a dish, combine the wholemeal flour, the chickpea flour and the rice flour and mix well.
2. Make a well in the flour and pour in the oil.
3. Add in the salt, green chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cumin-coriander powder.
4. Mix well until the ingredients are well combined, then add in the chopped spinach leaves.
5. Mix the leaves into the flour and add in the water and mix well until you get a proper batter consistency.
6. Add in the yogurt and mix until all the yogurt has been well mixed into the batter.
7. Heat a non-stick frying pan on a high heat and when the pan is really hot, you can either:
a. add in a teaspoon of oil before you add the batter and spread your pancake thinly onto the layer of oil in your pan OR
b. use one-calorie sunflower oil/rapeseed oil spray.
I follow and prefer version 'b.' because it's healthier and the pancakes are pretty much oil-free. Version 'a.' is the typical Gujarati way of doing it but I feel it leaves a more oily pancake.
8. Take a ladle full of the batter and place all of it in the middle of the pan. One ladle is enough as the batter is quite thick. Then, as quickly as you can, start spreading the batter with the back of the ladle (starting in the centre) in a circular motion outwards to form a round pancake.
NB: The technique is similar to spreading a dosa. Click here to see how it's done.
9. Cook the pancake on a medium high heat until it is cooked on that side and flip it over with a non-stick spatula to cook the other side as well. Each side should take a couple minutes but it's best to keep your eyes on the flame intensity and the pancake itself to see how long it requires to be properly cooked.
10. As some parts of the pancake may be slightly thicker than others, press down on the less cooked areas with a non-stick spatula to encourage a more even cooking process.
11. Repeat the process with the batter and serve hot with any of the following: mango chutney, mixed pickle, mango pickle, marmalade... the choice is yours!
'Til next time ... enjoy!
Bon appetit! xx
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