Chickpea Pancakes

Chickpea Pancakes are high protein savoury pancakes that make a nutritious snack or a meal suitable for Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free and Vegan diets.

Chickpeas are legumes that have a diverse range of uses in cooking aside from their regular inclusion in tasty vegetable stews and curries. Ground into flour called besan, gabanza or gram flour, they are versatile in baking. With their distinctive flavour they are often combined with a number of other flours to replace wheat flour in Gluten Free baking.

As pancakes, the nutty bean flavour is utilised for a savoury dish. I prepare them in a crêpe style that you simply flip, fill and fold. This is particularly easy when you use a non-stick frying pan.

The photo illustrates the pancakes, flavoured with cumin and filled withSpiced Potato and Peas. This makes a substantial meal suitable for many diets. The options for filling are endless. Try a lighter alternative such as steamed greens with soft cheese (not Dairy Free or Vegan); or provide contrasting textures with a chopped salad of tomatoes, celery, avocado and spring onion.

A variation is to serve these pancakes as a nutritious, high protein dessert. Add a little sugar, honey or maple syrup and spice such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom to the mix, and fill the cooked crepe with stewed fruit.

For smaller American style pancakes, reduce the quantity of water to 3/4 cup and add 1 tsp baking powder immediately before cooking (using Gluten Free baking powder where necessary). For light pancakes, try Ottelenghi’s variation using yeast, baking powder and egg. (Not suitable for Egg Free and Vegan diets.)

Diets for which Chickpea Pancakes are suitable:

Diabetic, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.


Preparation: 5 + 15-20 mins (rest the batter)| Cook: 3-5 mins each| Serves: 3-4

100 gm (1 cup) chickpea flour (besan, gabazana or gram flour)
1 cup warm water*
1 tsp cumin (optional)**
1 tbsp oil (More required when not using a non-stick frying pan.)


SIFT flour and spices into a bowl.
ADD 1/2 cup water and whisk until the better is smooth. (A hand whisk is adequate to create a smooth batter. Using a spoon will achieve the same result but with more effort.)
ADD the remaining water.
REST the batter for 15-20 minutes.
HEAT 1/2 tbsp oil in a frying pan to a medium heat (20 cm/8 inch pan I find a good size), pouring off any excess oil.
POUR 1/4-1/3 of the batter into the frying pan swirling so the batter covers the entire pan.
COOK for about 1-2 minutes until the bubbles appear. The edge of the pancake will release easily from the frying pan enabling the pancake to be turned.
TURN/FLIPthe pancake and cook on the other side for 2-4 minutes. (The time will be dependent on the heat of the top plate which you may wish to lower after the first pancake. The pancake should be a very light brown colour – as it darkens further it will become crisp and will not fold as easily.)
PLACE the cooked pancake on a plate, cover and keep in a warm place as you cook the others.
Chickpea Pancake - cooking
TO SERVE, place each pancake on a plate, top half with filling and fold the other half over to make a half moon shape.


– WithSpicy Potato and Peas
– Mushrooms and Blue Cheese (not Dairy Free or Vegan)
– Steamed greens with soft cheese (not Dairy Free or Vegan) or tofu.


* Cold water may be used although the batter needs to be rested for 30 mins or more. Substitute water with milk or non-dairy milk for lighter and fluffier pancakes.
** Flavour the pancakes with herbs or spices to complement your meal, eg cumin, paprika, turmeric or thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, coriander or garlic.


– Sweet Chickpea Pancakes. To the chickpea flour and water add a mashed banana and grated nutmeg. Serve with fresh or stewed fruit, yoghurt (soya yoghurt for Dairy Free and Vegan) or coconut cream.

Other recipes using Chickpea/Besan Flour

Shiro Wat, spicy humus

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