Learning French has been something that I have always wanted to do, and last month we finally broke down and bought the complete Rosetta Stone set for French. At first I studied because I was excited, but that has worn off and knowing I am going to France in less than 2 months keeps me coming back to practice…Those beautiful French people kind of intimidate me, and I hear it goes a long way to know a little French !
Alas, this post is NOT about me learning French. But it is about a little French street food that can be found in the beautiful city of Nice, France.
If you have followed my photography blog, then you might remember that I posted about this little pancake a couple of months ago. Introduced to me by my Australian friend – Phoebe – I have since kept a jar of chickpea flour in my cupboard ever since. Also called Besan Flour, you can buy it at your local health food store (and I think ethnic stores), or just make your own out of dried chickpeas (if you own a blender, it’s way too easy!).
This is a gluten-free dish. Even if you are not gluten-intolerant, it is good to give your body a little break from processed flours. Chickpeas are great support for your digestive system, and can help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
FINALLY, the basic recipe :
- In a bowl, mix together :
- 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
- 3/4 Cup filtered water
- 2 Tbsps EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed)
Season to your heart desires. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. This allows the chickpea to soak and begin to ferment. Soaking nuts and grains helps our bodies to absorb more of the beneficial minerals that are hidden away in them. But, wait, didn’t you also say “ferment”? Why, yes, I did! This is a whole new world for me that offers the body a whole lot of benefits. One being those friendly probiotic bacteria we all need. Fermented foods are much easier for your body to digest and use the nutrients. More on fermented foods and their benefits later…back to socca.
TIP : I prefer to allow my little besan mixture to sit for 12 hours. I either prepare it in the morning to make a dish for dinner, or in the evening and have it for breakfast or an early lunch the next day. (What’s that? You are not one to prepare? I wasn’t either. But guess what, we can do this! It literally takes 2 minutes to do and is SUCH a fast, easy, and nutritious meal making it great for when you are traveling!).
When you are ready to cook it, just heat up a pan with some oil (I prefer to use organic, unrefined Coconut Oil for cooking – very safe and nutritious) and cook it like a pancake!
Don’t ask me how I got this one so fluffy! I haven’t been able to repeat. I think it had something to do with how long I let it ferment. When I tried to repeat it, I let the batter ferment for about 24 hours…..That was a little TOO long for my liking and I ended up throwing it away. For a sweeter taste, just top with some delicious organic plain (or even better – GREEK ) yogurt with a drizzle of local honey and you are set!
Last night for dinner I made up 2 large cakes. I planned ahead, made the basic batter in the morning and seasoned it with fresh pressed garlic, sea salt, and cracked pepper.
Try this topping, inspired by Phoebe :
- In a bowl, combine chopped red onion and diced tomatoes.
- Drizzle in EVOO and a splash of Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Throw in some Kalamata Olives if it suits you (it suits me, very much).
Once your Socca pancake is cooked…plate up! Top with greens (I like Arugula and Spinach leaves), the tomato mixture (above), avocado, feta….(really, you can be quite creative with this! I’d like to try roasted pumpkin or butternut squash on top). YUM.
Further Reading :