By Renu Jain Chandarana
Yelllow Split Moon Lentil Pancakes (Cheela) with Cilantro and Mint Chutney
Making a moong daal (lentil) crepe is a great way to gently introduce lentils into your diet if you aren’t too keen on making soups and curries. My parents make all sorts of crepes – never the ones made from an egg batter because as vegetarians, we don’t eat eggs. They’ve used cream of wheat batters to make very quick savoury and sweet crepes; chickpea flour batters for savoury, dense crepes, and lentil batters for savoury, soft and fluffy crepes. They always serve them with an array of dipping sauces like cilantro chutney, ketchup (a kid favourite) and a sweet and sour tamarind sauce.
For me, being vegetarian means finding unique ways to get our daily protein and I’m very thankful that our Indian diet lends itself well to that with such a variety of recipes that involve a huge variety of lentils. I’m also grateful that my parents were very adventurous in the kitchen, introducing my sisters and I (and now all of our kids) to these wonderful flavours and dishes that are not found in restaurants. McCormick’s 2016 Flavour Forecast points to pulse proteins as one of the and this recipe is one that may inspire some great conversation at your breakfast table!
- Like any pancake or crepe, the first one you put in the fry pan can be hit or miss, so don’t fret if they come out too thick at first, or if the batter gets holes as you spread them. The key is to make sure the batter is cooked through, so keep the heat on medium and be patient!
- If you don’t have the time (or remember!) to soak these lentils overnight. You can soak them in the morning and make these crepes at night. I’d say 6 hours is the least amount of time they need to be soaked, but overnight is best for a very smooth batter.
- A little goes a long way with the spices so I don’t use a large quantity of each. McCormick spices offer some spices that are roasted, like the ground cumin, which really makes these two dishes authentic. As you know, Indian spices are almost always roasted before using. You can taste the nutty flavour of the lentils while the cilantro with mint chutney is so fresh tasting, you’ll want to put it on everything!
6-10 Tbsp Grapeseed or Canola Oil for cooking the crepes
2 cups Yellow split moong daal soaked overnight in water and then ground into a batter
¼ cup Finely grated carrot
¼ cup Finely grated zucchini
1 Tbsp Finely grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp Chopped cilantro
¼ tsp Club House Ground Turmeric
¼ tsp McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ground Coriander
¼ tsp McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ground Cumin
¼ tsp McCormick Gourmet fennel seed (ground)
1 Chopped de-seeded jalapeño (optional) if you’d like to add some spice
Salt to taste (I used just about 1 tsp)
Cilantro and Mint Chutney:
½ bunch Fresh Cilantro with stems
½ bunch Fresh Mint with stems
2 inches Fresh Ginger
½ Lemon or Lime juiced
½ tsp Salt or to taste
pinch Black salt (Kala Namak in Hindi)
½ tsp McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ground Cumin
½ tsp McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ground Coriander
1 Jalapeño (optional) for extra spice
2-3 Tbsp Water
- Soak 2 cups of the yellow split moong lentils in water overnight, covered in a bowl. The water should be about 2 inches higher than the lentils.
- Next day, pour the entire soaked mixture (including the water) into a blender and blend until you get the consistency of pancake batter, slightly thick yet smooth and will coat the back of a spoon. Add more water as needed to reach this consistency.
- Add all remaining ingredients (except the oil) to the batter and stir until everything is mixed – check salt level and add if you need more at this point.
- Put the mixture aside and get a griddle pan or nonstick frying pan heated on medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and spread around.
- Once the oil looks quite warm but NOT smoking, dollop about ¼ cup of the batter into the center of the pan and using the back of your spoon or measuring cup, spread the batter out using circular motions. You want the crepe to be as thin as you can make possible without making any holes.
- Let it sizzle in the pan until you see the edges getting golden brown. Take a peak with your flipper to see if the bottom side is browning.
- Flip over and add 1 Tbsp oil to the new side facing up, letting it sizzle on the pan.
- Repeat until batter is finished. Depending on how big you make them, you could end up with 6-8 crepes.
- You will likely need less oil as you make the crepes, as some residual oil will be in the pan to help them along.
- Stack and serve warm. If re-heating before eating, do not use a microwave, instead wrap the whole stack in foil paper and place in the toaster oven on the ‘keep warm’ setting for about 7-10 minutes. This will warm the whole stack without burning them and will maintain their soft fluffy texture.
CILANTRO AND MINT CHUTNEY METHOD:
- Place all ingredients except for the water into a blender (include the stems for the cilantro and mint, and the peel for the ginger if you like)
- Add 2 Tbsp of water and blend
- Check to see the consistency, if it’s too chunky or thick, or not blending well together, add another 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you have reached the consistency you desire
A global leader in flavour, McCormick & Company has been helping people create memorable food experiences for more than 125 years. Which trends are you looking forward to trying out in your kitchen?
This post was done in partnership with McCormick & Company.
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