The Hayden household is slowly on the mend. But if I am honest I’m still not feeling tip top and more than ever I need some healing meals. I’ve got a few more days resting up at home and I’m making a conscious effort to up my game on the cooking front. Up until now, I’ve been all about comfort, which is fine for a while but I definitely need some more nutrients in my life. There has been a lot of soup, cheese on toast, and if I am really honest there has been a lot of chocolate (I know, I know, I blame all the Easter eggs in the shops. Tis the season). I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself but no amount of chocolate mini eggs are going to make me feel better (they actually make me feel worse! My jeans are definitely feeling a little snug), so it’s all about the fruit bowl and proper cooking from now on; I’ve given myself a good ol’ kick up the backside.
Today my aim was to get as much iron and as many nutrients into my lunch as possible, so I made pudla – an Indian chickpea pancake. Like with regular pancakes, pudla can be stuffed and topped with almost anything, which is what makes it such a great recipe to have up your sleeve. And even if you want to keep it light, they’re fantastic just with some chutney (mango) and a few pickles. Because they’re made using gram flour (chickpea flour) and water, pudla are naturally gluten and dairy free, but are still packed with flavour so non-allergy people won’t even bat an eyelid.
And if you can’t find wild garlic or just don’t like it? Replace it with a handful of fresh coriander, it’ll still work beautifully.
WILD GARLIC PUDLA
- 250g gram flour
- ½ green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- A handful of wild garlic OR a fresh coriander
- A thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- A good pinch of turmeric
- Groundnut oil
- 150g baby spinach, washed and chopped*
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ripe avocado
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
- Mango chutney, to serve (optional)
- Natural yoghurt, to serve
Start by making the filling. Halve the avocado, peel and discard the skin and stone, and chop into 1cm sized chunks. Cut the tomatoes, just a little bigger in size (I discard some of the seeds as I go) and pop into a large mixing bowl with the avocado. Stir in the chopped spinach, sliced spring onions, toasted pumpkin seeds and juice of the lemon. Add a little drizzle of olive oil and mix everything together really well, so it almost becomes creamy. Check the seasoning and leave to one side.
To make the batter place the green chilli, ground coriander, turmeric, grated ginger, gram flour and a good pinch of salt and pepper into a blender. Add the wild garlic, if using, or the fresh coriander. Pour in around 350ml cold water, and blitz the ingredients together, to make a thin batter. It should be thick enough that it just coats the back of your spoon, if it is still a little thick add a splash more cold water. (If you don’t have a blender, just chop the wild garlic or coriander as fine as you can and whisk all the ingredients together – it still works really well).
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees, this is just to keep your pancakes warm as you go. Place a large non-stick pan back on a medium heat and pour in a little drizzle of groundnut oil. I like to spread it around the pan with a piece of kitchen towel, to make sure it is minimal. Pour in a ladleful of the batter into the pan, just enough to coat and make a thin pancake and cook for around 3 minutes until golden on one side and then flip over. Cook for a further minute and then remove from the pan. I like to keep the cooked pancakes warm by wrapping them in foil, as a stack, and keeping them in the oven whilst I fry the rest of the batter.
When you have finished frying the pudla, serve them warm filled with the spinach avocado salad, and chutney and yoghurt on the side.
* If you haven’t got fresh spinach, feel free to use frozen. Just pop the frozen balls into a small dry pan on a low heat, and cover with a lid. Cook until completely defrosted and wilted down, and then leave to cool. Carry on the recipe as above, dressing the spinach with the lemon, avocado and tomatoes.