Besan or chickpea flour pancake – a vegan omelette

What is Besan?

Besan, commonly known as gram flour or chickpea flour, is often used in Indian cooking for batters and as a thickening agent in soups and curries.

Rich in protein, low in calories and robust on flavour, it forms the perfect body for a vegan pancake / omelette. Popular in the north of Indian as besan cheela, this dish makes a fantastic addition to a vegan or  heart-healthy diet.

To make 6  medium-sized pancakes, you will need,

3/4 cup besan

1 1/4 cup water

Salt

Pinch of red chilli powder 

A pinch of coriander powder (optional)

A pinch of chaat masala (optional)

A handful of chopped veggies ( onion, tomato, bell peppers)

A few leaves of coriander / cilantro, chopped

A pinch of caraway seeds (ajwain) or cumin seeds.

Canola or vegetable oil

Method of preparation:

1. Buy besan / chickpea flour at any Indian or South Asian grocery store. Measure the besan. Add it into a bowl. Whisk in the water till a smooth batter forms.

  1. Chop the veggies. Add them in along with the salt, red chilli powder, caraway seeds / cumin seeds and herbs. At this stage add coriander powder and / or chaat powder and / or green chilies if you like. besan  pancake, chickpea pancake 

2. Mix into a uniform and slightly frothy batter. besan pancake, chickpea flour  pancake 

3. Heat a skillet. Coat with a thin film of oil. Make the pancake over medium to high heat. Flip midway to ensure that both sides cool well.

Serve stand alone with yogurt or chutney.

 besan pancake, chickpea flour  pancake 
Or use as wrap: 

 besan pancake, chickpea flour  pancake 
 

Easy Breezy, not-so-cheesy, fish Quesadillas 

By Mini Kolluri

  

As a Canadian mom, I often feed my daughter quesadillas – much easier to make than the other toddler favourite pizza and much less effort. My quesadillas are not authentic Mexican but they are layered in their composition and have a depth of flavour that makes them both comforting and delectable. And what’s even more awesome is that they achieve their flavour without compromising too much on nutritional value.

There’s whole grain goodness, a lean protein and plenty of vegetable and the cheese is but a binder and a bait for the little ones. For the fish quesadillas we are about to make I used wild tilapia, mostly because my daughter eats them with enthusiasm but feel free to use other white fish that could have higher omega-3 content and lesser scope for contamination.

For two medium-sized fish quesadillas,

You will need:

Two whole grain tortillas

A generous handful of mild cheddar, Monterey Jack or mozzarella or ideally a mix of at least two

One tilapia fillet or other white fish

Half an avocado

Lime juice

A little onion and tomato, diced

A few leaves of cilantro, chopped

Salt

Ground Pepper

A small pod of garlic

Three tablespoons of all-purpose flour

Oil

Method of preparation:

Marinate the fish in salt, pepper, lime juice and a dab of minced garlic. Let it soak up flavours for about half an hour. If you are in a rush, use it immediately.

Then, dust a cutting board with flour. Place the fish on the flour and press lightly so it gets coated on one side and then the other with flour. 

Coat a skillet with oil and heat. Once it’s hot enough to seat the fish, place the fish in and cook over medium heat. Flip the fish in about two minutes to the other side. Once both the sides are golden brown, take the fish out and place over a tissue and gently remove the excess oil. The fish should be crisp and golden brown.

Dice up a little onion, tomato, avocado and cilantro. Shred a handful of cheese. Turn on the skillet again. If there isn’t oil in the pan, add a tablespoon of oil and spread with a ladle. Add in the tortilla. Place diced fish, veggies, herbs and cheese in layers on the bottom half of the of the tortilla. Fold to form a semicircle. Press lightly with a plate. Flip and cook till both sides brown slightly and the cheese melts. Cut in halves and serve.

 healthy quesedillas, kid -friendly quesedillas,   fish quesedillas, tilapia quesedillas