- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- makes 12 pudlas, enough for 4 to 6 people
Until not so long ago, pulses—the dried seeds of legumes like beans, peas, and lentils—had a bad reputation: relegated to the health food category and generally seen as a bit “worthy”—the food of hemp trouser-wearing hippies. Now, thanks many people eating less meat but searching for new sources of sustenance, deliciousness, and protein, pulses have been put in the spotlight. This is their moment and your chance to get better acquainted with them.
In India, pulses have been eaten since the dawn of civilization, by rich and poor alike. In part, this is because they’re a cheap source of protein, containing up to twice as much as most grains—but also because they are so versatile. Some pulses, like the chickpea, can be ground down to a flour, which is then used to make quick pancakes or batter for fritters like bhajis; others can be cooked to a rich silky dal or thrown into a salad or street-food for texture.
Every Indian household has their own way of cooking pulses, and regional variations are vast. But there are some dishes that Indians agree have risen to the premier league. This pudla recipe is one of my favorite pantry go-tos and Gujarat’s favorite pancake. Pudlas are made using chickpea flour and yogurt and have a wonderful deeply savory flavor. Eat them plain, with just a spoonful of pickle and a lick of yogurt, or stuffed with mushrooms, lamb, spring onions, tomatoes, or any other filling you like.
This recipe is from my book Made in India (Flatiron 2015). —Meera Sodha
plus 2 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
whole-milk yogurt, plus more for serving
1 3/4 cups
serrano chile, finely chopped
(1¾-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
garlic cloves, crushed
Unsalted butter, for cooking
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour and yogurt with a fork to combine. Slowly drizzle in the water, stirring constantly, to make a smooth batter with the consistency of heavy cream.
- Add the chile, ginger, garlic, cilantro, salt, baking powder, and turmeric and thoroughly mix to combine.
- In a medium (ideally 8-inch) skillet, use a crumpled paper towel to rub a thin layer of butter around the pan. Heat over medium until hot.
- Spoon in a small ladleful of batter (around 3 tablespoons) and tilt the pan so the batter coats the bottom. More often than not, pudlas don’t form into nice round pancakes, so don’t worry if your batter stops short of the edges of the pan.
- Cook for about 30 seconds, then lift up to see if it has browned on the underside. If so, turn the pancake and continue to cook for another 30 seconds before shuffling onto a plate. Carefully rub the pan with butter again and repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve the pudlas with yogurt alongside.