Savory Pancakes with Chicken Curry
I’ve had this recipe on my “To Make” list for over a year. I first saw this dish when Betsy and I took a trip to Amsterdam last year to visit her brother. I couldn’t exactly read it on the menu (because I don’t speak Dutch), but the waitress was kind enough to say two things about it: 1) it was basically a chicken curry on a chickpea flour pancake and 2) we should definitely try it.
So try it we did and it was an amazing combination. I’ve been meaning to recreate it ever since and finally got around to it last weekend.
The key to making it a bit brunchy is to make the curry sweeter than you might normally make curry. I did this by adding a bunch of mango chutney and also some brown sugar.
Savory Pancakes with Chicken Curry
Yield: Serves 4.
Chickpea Pancakes (Adapted from a Socca recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen)
I tripled the original recipe because I figured I'd screw up a bunch of them... I was right.
3 Cups Chickpea flour
3 1/4 Cups water
2 Teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 Teaspoon regular)
1 Teaspoon whole cumin seeds or 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 Cup olive oil (plus a bit more for the pan)
2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 inches fresh ginger, minced or grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons neutral oil (like canola)
3 Tablespoons yellow curry powder
2 12 ounce jars of mango chutney
1 15 ounce can coconut milk
2 Cups water
2 Cups golden raisins
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1) Start the batter first by whisking all the batter ingredients together in a large bowl. Let this sit for 2 hours at room temperature before trying to make the pancakes.
2) For the curry, chop the onion and pepper and mince the garlic and ginger.
3) Add the oil to a large pan (a dutch oven works great) over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add all the chopped veggies and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
4) Add curry powder and stir for a minute or two. If it looks too dry or starts ot burn add a bit more oil.
5) Next, add the water, coconut milk, and mango chutney to the mix. Stir until the mixture is a light, bright yellow color.
6) Add whole chicken pieces and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for about 25 minutes or until the chicken pieces are cooked through. You probably will want to turn down your heat a bit after it reaches a simmer and stir it occasionally to make sure nothing is burning.
7) When the chicken is done, remove it and roughly chop it.
8) Add the chopped chicken back to the curry along with the raisins and cook, uncovered over low heat for another 15 minutes to reduce down further.
9) To make a pancake, add a few drops of oil to a large non-stick pan, crepe pan, or griddle.
10) Add about 1/2 Cup of chickpea batter and swirl (if it's a pan) so batter is evenly distributed.
11) Cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes. It should be cooked all the way through without needing to flip it.
12) Invert your pan over a clean plate and the pancake should fall out, cooked side up. If you're using a griddle, use a big spatula to flip the pancake onto a plate.
13) Top with curry and eat immediately!
Leftover curry can be frozen or is also good on rice!
Starting the Pancakes
These are more of a crepe than a pancake and it’s not exactly like the ones I had in Amsterdam which were a bit thicker and more pancakey. There might be a way to mix this flour into a more traditional pancake recipe though and get something a bit thicker.
By the end of my crepe-making though, I realized that I could just pour on more batter and it would be like a thick crepe which worked just fine also.
Here’s the secret ingredient which is kind of hard to locate but it’s worth hunting down.
This is gluten-free so it’s not going to end up as spongy as a normal crepe/pancake. It has a lot more flavor though and works perfectly with the curry.
To make the batter, just whisk all your ingredients together in a big bowl! I used whole cumin seeds in mine. I liked the idea of being able to see the seeds in the finished pancake. It worked really nicely.
The thing about this batter is that you need to let it rest for 2 hours before using it. So definitely make this first, have a cup of coffee (or a beer) and then get to work on your curry. The curry takes probably 45 minutes to make so let the batter sit for an hour or so and then get started on the curry.
Savory Sweet Chicken Curry
I usually like my curries very spicy and very savory. I was skeptical that I would like a sweeter curry, but this was honestly one of my favorite curries I’ve ever made and it also happens to be one of the easier ones. It doesn’t have a huge amount of spices or anything.
Betsy said it was hands down her favorite curry that I’ve made.
To start it out, you’ll need to chop up these items.
In a large pan or dutch oven, add the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, peppers, garlic, and ginger. Cook this all for a few minutes until the veggies start to soften.
Then add all the curry powder! Give the curry powder a chance to cook lightly in the oil which releases a lot of flavors. As the curry powder absorbs the oil and liquids, it might look kind of dry. This is okay, but if it gets really dry, then you can add a bit more oil.
You’ll also need the below things besides the curry powder which we just used.
As an aside, I’ve used this mango chutney in a few different recipes over the past few months and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite jarred sauces. It’s very flavorful and goes with a lot of different foods (See Asian noodle salad and Mango and tuna curry salad)
Anyway, back to the curry.
Once the curry powder cooks for a minute or two, add the water, chutney, and the coconut milk and give it a good stir. It should turn a nice deep yellow. Then add all your chicken to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Your chicken should be basically covered by the curry. If it’s not then add a bit more water or coconut milk until it looks like this:
Cover this partially but not completely. You want some of the water to evaporate so it thickens as it cooks. This pot of excellence will need to simmer for about 25 minutes to cook the chicken all the way through. I used chicken thighs for this because in a dish like curry it’s really impossible to tell white meat vs. dark meat in my opinion.
If you’re one of those “I only use boneless skinless chicken breasts” people, then by all means you can do that as well.
When the chicken is cooked through, pull out all the pieces and roughly chop them. You’ll probably need to let them cool for a few minutes before you can handle them unless you have hands of steel.
You should end up with a big bowl of basically shredded chicken.
Add this back to the curry pot along with the raisins (don’t forget the raisins!) and keep on simmering this for another 15 minutes or so. It should be a deep yellow/orange color and be very flavorful and yummy. Add your brown sugar during this step and stir it until it’s dissolved.
Making the pancakes
When your curry is done and just keeping warm (make sure its on very low heat), you can start the pancakes.
In a very large non-stick skillet or a crepe pan or on a griddle, add a bit of oil and ladle in about 1/2 Cup of batter. If you’re using a pan, swirl around the batter until it’s an even layer over the pan. Cook them on medium-high heat.
Should look something like this!
Tip 1. You will mess up the first and second one of these. They are a lot harder to work with than normal pancakes or crepes. The chickpea flour doesn’t really allow for error.
Tip 2. You need to cook them for longer than you would a normal pancake. The first time I tried one, I tried to flip it when I would normally flip a pancake and it completely disintegrated. You need to cook these guys for about 3-4 minutes on the first side before you should even try to touch it. Don’t worry. They won’t burn quite as easily as normal pancakes either.
Tip 3. Cook them only on one side. That’s right. I never did successfully flip one. I just cooked it for a long time on side one, then flipped the pan onto a plate and the pancake fell out, cooked side up. Because you cook it for so long, it cooks all the way through so you don’t really need to flip it and it’s almost impossible to do anyway.
Tip 4. Eat it immediately.
This was pretty experimental but it actually turned out to be very tasty. The for-sure keeper out of this post is the curry recipe. Betsy and I also ate this over rice a few days later and it was very good. We froze some for later also because this recipe makes a lot.
So. At the end of the day. Make the curry. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the pancakes!