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Savory Chickpea Pancakes with Curry Leaf Chutney

Photo by Roger Winstead
Photo by Roger Winstead

When my husband and I recently hosted Vaidya Smita Naram in our home, she taught me to make a classic yet simple and intensely delicious Ayurvedic dish: chickpea pancakes with curry leaf chutney.

Dr. Naram is a world-renowned pulse master and Ayurvedic physician, a pharmaceutical herbalist and nutritionist — and she also happens to be a marvelous cook. She has a successful restaurant in her panchakarma clinic in Malad, India (outside Mumbai), so I couldn’t have been more excited about spending some time in the kitchen with her. And we did have fun! Not a meal went by that one or the other of us wasn’t saying “wow!” I was thrilled that she loved my American approach to Ayurvedic cooking, and I loved learning to make this traditional dish that I’m sharing with you today.

Pancakes made from chickpea flour are an excellent protein supplement to any vegetarian meal. People of Indian descent often eat a savory meal for breakfast, though I prefer these pancakes at lunch or dinner as a filling accompaniment to a vegetable soup or dal. (We tasted the pancakes for the first time as a side to asparagus soup.) Eating foods made with chickpea flour can be easier to digest than eating the hard legumes if you have vata problems. Another benefit is that chickpeas also help regulate blood sugar.

Enjoy these savory chickpea pancakes with a mild chutney to delight your senses!




Preparation Time: About 10 minutes plus griddle time
Makes 8 small pancakes


Enjoy these easy-to-make pancakes as a meal or a delicious protein side dish.


1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon Fine Ground Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt
1 cup water
1 small zucchini, grated
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup tightly packed fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of ½ lime
Ghee, sunflower, or coconut oil for cooking

1. Pre-heat a griddle or large non-stick pan (ceramic or cast iron) on medium heat.


2. Combine chickpea flour with spices in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and whisk to combine well. Add water and whisk. Add grated zucchini, ginger, and lime and whisk again. Wash cilantro well before chopping, and add it to the mixture.


3. Grease the pan with about a ½ teaspoon of ghee or sunflower oil. When the pan is quite hot, pour 1 pancake (a quarter-cup or less) at a time, dosa style. It’s best to use a round serving spoon  to pour the batter; then use the flat side of the spoon to spread and smooth the batter by making small clock-wise circles from the center of the pancake outward until the pancake is thin and rounded (see video). Cook three minutes on the first side. Depending on your pan, you may need to add a little melted ghee on top of the pancake before turning to ensure it doesn’t stick.  Cook another three minutes on the second side or until the batter is cooked through.  Serve with your favorite chutney.

2 Responses

  1. Karin Anderson says:

    Wow, these look delectable. Have you got a recipe for a potato dish to stuff it with?

    • Lisa says:

      Interesting idea! Though they really do hold up on their own. You could certainly roll them up with sweet potatoes (healthiest!) or white (tasty but not so great for people with insulin resistance or others watching carbs.) I won’t be posting white potato recipes but have a sweet potato hash I’ll post later this spring.