I have this thing for crepes. They are like the most fun food.
I recently went to a Vietnamese restaurant with my new boss and she ordered a Vietnamese crepe…mindblown. Never had I ever heard of such a thing. I tried to act composed because it's a new job and I didn't want to seem like I was completely uncultured or anything. I mean, of course, I totally know what a Vietnamese crepe is. Not.
When it got to the table, I learned that a Vietnamese crepe is a giant crepe stuffed with beans sprouts + shrimp and served with shredded carrots, romaine, cilantro and some sort of delicious dipping sauce.
I just stared in awe. I know what I'm ordering at my next Vietnamese food outing.
I thought the French (or maybe the Swedish) were the crepe people?! Right!? Where the crepe is a sweet, thin pancakes filled with nutella and bananas. But no, there’s this whole other crepe-filled world out there that I was completely missing out on.
So for this recipe, I considered making Dosa, which is a crepe made from fermented rice batter. However, the idea of fermenting anything myself terrifies me. Instead, I decided to take Besan Chilla, which is typically a pancake-like dish served in India, and crepe-ify it.
Basically, I just thinned the batter to turn the usual pancake dish into a crepe dish. Many times, vegetables are added to the batter, but I kept it simple (just garbanzo bean flour + water + salt) and added a creamy garlic spinach filling. Oh, and then added a generous drizzle of the coconut curry sauce.
According to the internet (and not my worldwide travels, because I haven’t made it to India quite yet), Besan Chilla is usually served as a street food. Truth be told, I haven’t eaten that much street food. My mom taught me at a young age to never eat anything from a place without running water. So that limits my culinary street food adventures. That, and the fact that I’m a total spicy food lightweight. With an aversion to spicy foods, I haven’t eaten that many Indian curries in my life. That said, I’m not 100% confident that they use cilantro in Indian cooking. But I needed a pretty garnish and it didn’t hurt the flavor explosion that is going on here.
Now I'm going to go search for another fabulous country with another fabulous version of the crepe.
Try these savory Besan Chilla Crepes with Coconut Curry Sauce for lunch or dinner! Tweet this
Besan Chilla Crepes with Coconut Curry Sauce
Serves 2-3 (makes 6 crepes)
- Coconut Curry Sauce:
- 1 cup light coconut milk, canned
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sriracha hot chili sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Indian Crepe Batter:
- 1 ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ cup water (may need ¼ to ½ cup more)
- Creamy Garlic Spinach Filling:
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups fresh spinach, packed (or 4 large handfuls fresh spinach)
- ½ cup greek yogurt
In a sauce pan, whisk together all of your sauce ingredients over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to whisk the mixture frequently as you allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Turn off heat and allow sauce to sit while you prepare your crepes.
Make your Creamy Garlic Spinach filling by combining olive oil and garlic in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until garlic is fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add in spinach and stir until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Scoop spinach + garlic into a separate bowl. Mix in greek yogurt and salt/pepper. Cover and set aside.
Now make your crepes. In a bowl, mix together garbanzo bean flour and salt. Add 1 cup of water and use an electric hand mixer to get all the lumps out. Continue adding water in ¼ cup increments until batter reaches a consistency similar to heavy cream. It should be thinner than pancake batter. Grease a crepe pan or large sauté pan with non-stick cooking spary/butter/coconut oil. Heat over medium heat. Use a ½ cup measuring cup to pour in your crepe batter. Pick up the sauté pan and swirl the crepe batter into a thin layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes before carefully flipping to the other side. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Fill crepes with creamy garlic spinach filling. Roll up. Serve with coconut curry sauce and fresh cilantro.