Cumin Chickpea Crêpes Recipe

I love legumes of all shapes, colors, and sizes, but if I had to play favorites, it is the chickpea I would single out as the cutest (right?) and the most incredibly versatile.

I love it in my vegetables, in my salads, and in my soups, in my hummus and in my baked falafel (I’ll be sharing a recipe soon), in my Nice-style socca and in my socca tarts (recipe in my upcoming cookbook!).

But my latest, fondest use for the pale yellow, nutty, slightly smoky flour that is ground from dried chickpeas, is this: a simple crêpe batter flavored with cumin that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, with 100% pantry items.

My latest, fondest use for chickpea flour is this: a simple crêpe batter flavored with cumin that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, with 100% pantry items.

The resulting golden crêpes (which happen to be gluten-free if that matters to you) are flavorful and nutritious, and can be used in various ways: you can fill them like classic savory crêpes, with whatever ingredients you have on hand; you can garnish them with the spread of your choice, roll them up, and slice them into bite-size vortex rounds; and you can serve them as a side, to dab at the juices of a vegetable curry.

In the photo above, I spread the crêpes first with tahini sauce, then with a dollop of mashed beets — the remnants of a purée I’d made for Milan before deciding beets were way too messy when an 8-month-old is manning the spoon — and a scatter of chopped hazelnuts. It was very, very good.

A nice variation on the process I’ve outlined below is to sprinkle the crêpes with chopped herbs (chives, cilantro), or seeds (sesame, cumin, fennel), or very finely minced or shredded vegetables (scallions, carrots) just after pouring the batter into the skillet, so they’re effectively studded with those ingredients, which looks and tastes lovely.

And next time, I plan to leave the batter out to ferment at room temperature — presumably just until bubbles start to form — to see how the flavor and texture are altered.

Are you a chickpea fan yourself? In what recipes do you like to use chickpea flour?

Cumin Chickpea Crêpes Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes

Makes a dozen 20-cm (8-inch) crêpes.

Cumin Chickpea Crêpes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 grams (10 1/2 ounces, about 2 cups) chickpea flour (available at natural foods stores or Middle-Eastern and Indian markets, also marketed as gram flour, garbanzo flour, or besan)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cumin. Pour in 500 ml (2 cups) fresh water in a slow stream, whisking constantly to avoid the formation of lumps. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Remove the batter from the fridge and whisk it again. Set a thick-bottomed, low-rimmed skillet over high heat. Wait until it is very hot, enough to make a drop of water sizzle. Dip a folded paper towel in a ramekin that contains a little oil, and wipe it over the pan to grease it lightly (watch your fingers).
  3. Ladle a little batter in the pan, just enough to cover the pan thinly, and swish the pan around in a slow circular motion so the batter forms a round disk. Cook for a minute, or until the edges start to turn golden and pull slightly away from the sides. Run the tip of a hard spatula around the crêpe to loosen -- if it resists, give it a few more seconds' cooking -- and flip the crêpe when you see that it is nice and golden underneath. Cook for 30 seconds on the other side, or until golden as well. Grease the skillet again every two or three crêpes.
  4. Serve the crêpes from the skillet as you make them, or keep warm in a 60°C (140°F) oven.
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  • VB

    I’m a big fan of yours, Clothilde (and we make your yogurt cake about once every week or two weeks in our home, my husband loves it so much). This recipe sounds amazing, and I’ll be trying it in the next couple of days for sure. Indian cuisine has something very similar using all-purpose flour, and also whole wheat flour. Many legumes are also ground into a wet batter for similar crepes and pancakes, some using rice / rice flour to add crispness – moong beans, “urad” (fermented form – dosa and uttapam are very popular) etc. I can’t wait to see how your experiments turn out.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      So glad you’ve adopted that yogurt cake recipe, VB, and thank you for the perspective on Indian cuisine!

  • narf7

    YUM! These little protein packed flavour flats promise so much! Cheers for sharing this wonderful naturally vegan recipe with us :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Let me know if you try it!

  • http://omnivore-almostveg.blogspot.com almostveg

    This is what we call Besan ka chilla in India and it is our version of a vegetarian omelet. We sometimes add finely chopped onions, jalapeno, tomatoes and cilantro. I add a little baking soda if I don’t have the time to refrigerate.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The add-ons sound wonderful, thanks for the tips!

  • http://mrsredbootsfood.blogspot.com/ Annabel

    I have made a recipe very similar to yours! I also love making noodles with chickpea flour, they have a lovely flavour.

    For the benefit of other UK readers, could I say that it’s sold here under the name “Gram flour” and can be found in the World Foods section of the supermarket.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks Annabel! I’ve updated the ingredients list to reflect the various names under which chickpea flour may be sold.

  • msue

    I so am going to make these this weekend! I love all things chickpea, and immediately thought of spreading a crepe with some spicy hummus, then rolling it up to savor a double whammy of pureed chickpeas inside a warm chickpea envelope. It would be fun to have friends over and serve the crepes with a variety of fillings. Love the recipe. I especially love the recommendation of adding chopped herbs to the batter. Thanks, Clotilde :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      My pleasure, Mary Sue!

  • Jenn

    I’m not quite sure from your description–would this work for sweet crepes? You say to fill them like classic crepes, but my husband will only eat them filled with dulce de leche. And I’m sure I can’t eat a whole batch by myself!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’ve only tried them with savory fillings. I’m not entirely sure the chickpea flavor would work with dulce de leche, but you can certainly try! I’ll note that the batter will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, so you can make a few meals out of it.

  • Barbara

    Hello,

    If you leave it out to ferment, do you just leave it covered on the countertop? How long would you leave it?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’ve yet to try it so I can’t give specific directions, but the plan would be to leave it covered on the countertop, and wait until small bubbles appear at the surface. This should happen within a day or so I imagine, though it would probably depend on the temperature of the kitchen.

  • http://grocery-shopping.casaveneracion.com/chickpea-chana-garbanzo-hummus-split-peas-and-chickpea-flour/ Connie

    Love chickpeas too. We love soups made with pureed chickpeas. Made farinata with chickpea flour recently, I had no peg and wasn’t sure what the “correct” texture for farinata is though.

  • Victoria

    As a parent of a toddler who eats gluten free and dairy free foods – this sounds like a wonderful addition. I can’t wait to try this. Thank you so much!

  • http://mrsredbootsfood.blogspot.com/ Annabel

    PS It’s pancake day in the UK next week, so your recipe is very timely. Might well try it….

    And I have just pre-ordered your new book from Amazon – can’t wait!

  • http://mividaenverdura.blogspot.com Scarlett

    Using the exact same ingredients (minus the cumin), we here in Argentina make “faina”, a thing you eat with pizza. Never thought of it as a local thing. The only difference is we cook it in the oven and it’s not as thin as a crepe.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      How interesting! Can you clarify what you mean when you say you eat it with pizza? Do you mean like pizza, or is it actually served with pizza?

      • http://mividaenverdura.blogspot.com Scarlett

        It’s served with pizza. People usually place it on top of the pizza or as a kind of “side dish”. Click there for a picture, the little thing on top is what we call faina.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Fascinating — thank you!

  • Joan

    Clotilde..I’m a big fan of the chick pea..in particular using chickpea flour to make dosa…we are spoilt because we’ve a few fabulous Indian restaurants nearby…easy to have someone else make them;-)

    Maybe Milan was having a Jackson Pollock moment…beets are such beautifully coloured things!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You made me laugh with the Jackson Pollock comment. :)

  • Kristin

    These crepes look so simple and so endlessly fillable!

    Though I’ve not tried the recipe myself, I wanted to mention a recipe I recently came across in Naomi Duguid’s beautiful new book ‘Burma: River of Flavor,’ because it also uses chickpea flour. It is a ‘tofu’ made (from what I remember) with just the flour and some water ( and salt?). The mixture is left to thicken and set in the refrigerator, and then cut into cubes and rectangles for use in salads, etc. Sorry I’m a bit sketchy on the details, but I had to mention it!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds great, Kristin, I’ll look it up!

  • JC

    I just made a batch of these. The well-seasoned cast iron pan didn’t seem to be doing the trick, so I changed to a teflon coated pan and it was fabulous. I tried savory fillings including tahini, red peppers and jalapeno sauce, but my husband tried apricot jam and loved it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Lovely! Thanks for reporting back!

  • http://revessurpapier.wordpress.com Rachel

    I had something very similar (minus the cumin) at Balthazar in New York last week – they called it socca on the menu but it was thin and crisp-edged and much more like a crepe. It was filled with cavolo nero that had been sauteed with currants and pine nuts – an excellent combination that I highly recommend!

    I myself have only ever used chickpea flour to make farinata, which is easy and delicious (and lends itself to many variations in terms of the vegetable toppings). There’s also the hybrid of socca and pissaladiere in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, which I’ve not tried yet but is definitely on my to-do list.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the additional ideas, Rachel!

  • http://www.prospecthillforge.com Carl West

    In my local Indian stores in the US, I’ve found that ‘Gram’ flour can be chickpea _or_ any of a variety of other legumes.
    Read the ingredients before just grabbing it off the shelf.

    That said, I’ve had good luck with Black Gram flour in place of chickpea in GF pancakes.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s good to know, thanks Carl!

  • http://Www.thewhimsicalwife.com Melissa darr

    Oh what a great recipe and super healthy too. I’ve got a packet of chick pea flour in the dark corners of my cupboard and now I can make something yummy with it.

  • MM

    Made this the other night and it was fab! What a versatile dish, a good “clean-out-the-fridge” type!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Wonderful to hear, MM, thanks!

  • http://www.foodwinefashion.com Food Wine Fashion

    You combined three of my favorite things in this recipe, and I would have never thought of that (crepes, beets, hazelnuts)! I also have a bit of a gluten sensitivity so although I don’t mind/don’t love chickpeas I think this may be a good solution for me. Thank you :)

    -jessica

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      My pleasure! I love the pairing, and hope you’ll let me know if you try it.

  • http://mrsredbootsfood.blogspot.com/ Annabel

    Oooh – looking for my Ash Wednesday stew recipe (I do know how to make it, but wanted to double-check something!), I have just found my own chick-pea flour pancake recipe from 2011! I had totally forgotten I’d made them! This year I did buckwheat (sarassin) as I seem to be out of gram flour.

  • http://www.neulasia.blogspot.com sylvï

    thank you for the fermenting tip! i’ve been making similar style pancakes for a few weeks now, i’ll have to try leaving the batter to ‘mature’ next time.
    i like them with both sweet and savoury toppings/fillings, but if going for a dessert type thing, adding some almond or other nut flour in the mix takes it a notch more in that direction.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The nut flour idea is excellent, thank you.

  • Sue

    I’m a little late to this forum, but we made the crepes and topped them with a mixture of steamed butternut squash, minced ginger, chopped celery, cumin and turmeric – it was sublime. Thank you so much for your recipes – I’m an American married to a Frenchman (from Burgundy), and every time I make a dish from your website or books, he swoons.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m so pleased, Sue, thank you! And your topping sounds delicious indeed.

  • http://www.fancypear.com Dani Raykova

    Clothilde, I made these crepes and added some chopped scallions into the batter. They came out fantastic! Filled some of them with baba ganoush and the rest with hummus. After cooling the crepe texture reminded me of corn tortillas. So next time I may use them for making fish tacos.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for reporting back, Dani, I’m delighted you enjoyed them! Fish “tacos” sound like a fabulous idea, and I hope you’ll let us know how they turn out.

  • http://www.fancypear.com/ Dani Raykova

    Used the leftovers to make wraps with baked salmon, lettuce, avocado, cillatro,and lime-olive-oil dressing. Yum!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Fantastic idea, I’ll have to try that!

  • Gerald

    We let the batter ferment overnight (or longer, depending on the temperature)outside the fridge and then it keeps for many days in the fridge. Be sure to put the jar in a tray because it will sometime bubble over due to the bacterial action. You can feed the culture by adding garbanzo flour and water as you remove the batter for frying. We almost always have a half-gallon glass jar in the fridge, ready to go. You can eat the resulting pancake or crepe either sweet with jam or syrup, or savory. We like it with kimchi. The fermentation process removes any beany taste and produces a richly flavored sour batter that has a much more interesting taste than the freshly made unfermented batter. Try it!

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