Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Savory Spelt Indian Crepes

Commonplace but hardly unassuming, the trio of scallions, cilantro and green chili peppers add unusual depth of flavor to these crepes.

Spelt is a nutritional powerhouse, an ancient grain new to most home kitchens. If you don't care to use it, substitute a mixture in equal parts of all-purpose and whole wheat flours.

The elusive, fleeting tang of the crepes derives from a dollop of yogurt in the batter.

A well-seasoned iron skillet is the best Western cooking tool for making Indian crepes outside the East. Failing that, at least a non-stick skillet must be used.

The finishing flavoring agent - a heady melange of dried chilies, mustard seeds and curry leaves fried in oil - floats atop a large pot of sambar. The sour, spicy legume stew is the standard accompaniment to these sorts of crepes in South India, for example, uttapams and dosas.

Spelt crepes with sambar, basmati rice and cilantro and mint chutney.

Delightfully crispy on the outside, smooth and soft inside, the crepes surprise with the unexpected burst of freshness from the green chilies and scallions.


SPELT INDIAN CREPES

In a mixing bowl combine well: 1/2 cup spelt flour, 3 very thinly sliced scallions, 1 T. finely minced hot green chilies, 1-2 T. minced cilantro leaves and stems, a large pinch of turmeric powder and salt and black pepper to taste.

Now stir in 1 T. plain yogurt (whole milk preferred) and 7 T. water. Yes, just count them out. If the mixture is too thick, which is unlikely, add another tablespoon or so of water.

Set aside while you heat just a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil in a small iron or non-stick skillet. Heat the pan slowly over moderate heat. When the oil is heated, add 2-3 T. of the batter to the pan, spreading out as thinly as possible in a circular motion. Cook until browned on one side, carefully flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. 

A few things that can happen:

1) The crepes are browning/burning before cooking through? Reduce the heat.
2) The crepes are sticking to the skillet and can't be flipped? It's possible you're turning them too soon. It may also help to drizzle in a bit more oil.
3) The crepes are remaining too wet and raw on top? You haven't spread the batter thinly enough. Try again; with these, the second time's the charm.

Serve hot or warm with chutney as a snack or as part of a more complete Indian meal with sambar or any sort of dal or bean dish. A raita, or even plain yogurt, is a perfect condiment as well.


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