The Indian state of Gujarat is home to a large population of vegetarians and consequently, there are quite a few innovative ideas and techniques employed by the cooks of this region. Take for example, the inspiration behind this recipe comes from a dish called dhokla which is usually made from a mixture of chickpea flour and some other grain such as rice or wheat that's steamed to form a savory cake like structure. The taste on the other hand is usually mildly sweet and a little acidic and people use various kind of ingredients to add flavor to the batter.
While this recipe is dhokla-inspired, I'm hesitant to call it by it's traditional name, since I've changed things so much from the original concept. For one this version is baked and the seasonings are a little different, including the use of cornmeal and almond milk. You can either make this cake as one large 9 - inch cake or make little mini versions like I did. [see the note below at the end of the recipe on how to approach the mini cakes].
I've been itching to use my kueh pans that M brought back from Singapore on his last trip. If you don't have a mini cake pan or something similar, an ebleskiver pan would work great too. Otherwise, you can follow my instructions for making an "upside-down" type cake and cut that into wedges and serve. Once you add the liquid to the dry ingredients, mix and transfer it immediately to the pan and bake. The longer you wait, the less your cake will rise.
I've used Califia Farms plain unsweetened almond milk to create the batter of the cake because it gives a richer taste to the chickpea flour.
Serve this as a snack or at breakfast. It's wonderful by itself. Store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
savory chickpea flour cake with chipotle
makes one circular 9 inch cake
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
12 fresh curry leaves, chopped
2 serrano chile pepper, minced
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
2 tsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 cup Califia plain unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp black mustard seeds
1 red Thai chile pepper, minced
For the garnish
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
1 red red Thai chile pepper optional
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F. Line and grease a 9 - inch circular baking with a sheet of parchment paper cut to size and the coconut oil.
In a large bowl, dry whisk the chickpea flour, cornmeal, turmeric powder, chipotle, salt and baking powder. Then add 1 Tbsp of the curry leaves, serrano, cilantro leaves, maple syrup, oil, lemon juice, and almond milk and whisk until you get there any visible lumps of chickpea flour. The mixture should be smooth. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.
Sprinkle the black mustard seeds and the remaining serrano pepper and the Thai chile over the prepared baking pan and then carefully pour the batter over the chiles and mustard. Cover the top of the pan with parchment paper and place it in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Unwrap the pan and discard the foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. To release the chickpea cake from the pan, run a smooth knife along the edges and then flip the pan over a serving plate. Peel the parchment paper. Garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves and the Thai chile pepper. Serve warm or cool.
Note: If you want to make mini versions of this cake, you need to adjust the recipe a little.
- Spray your min-cake pan well with olive oil or vegetable oil. Then in a similar manner, sprinkle a few mustard seeds and chopped chiles and fill it with the batter to the brim. Bake the pan uncovered [no aluminum foil] for 10 to 12 minutes until they have risen and are cooked inthe middle. Remove from oven and flip over a plate and tap gently to release while they're hot. You need the steam to help push the cakes out.
- Instead of adding the coconut oil first, I prefer to drizzle the mini cakes with warm coconut oil and then garnish the cakes with fresh cilantro.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Califia Farms. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.