What appeared like a weak monsoon turned into full throttle days of rains for past two weeks. The weather has turned pleasant with cool breeze and I am enjoying my days in the kitchen. What a relief from the sultry heat! Such days inspire one in the kitchen, days when the mundane needs to take a back seat or mundane needs to be transformed into something splendid. It was on one such day last week when I was planning to make besan ka chila for the breakfast when Socca just popped up, out of the recesses of my memory. I learnt about the Socca from a friend while on our trip to Europe. We were discussing about the street foods of India with him when he mentioned the Socca, a popular street food in Southern France. From his description I was convinced that it was a long lost cousin of our own desi besan chila. We tried to locate a place where we might find it in Paris but could not; apparently one needs to visit southern France to enjoy this delicious snack but visiting that part of France was not on our itinerary.

A hunt for the recipe lead me to David Lebovitz blog and I realised that it was indeed a close cousin of besan chila; only this one is cooked on high heat (broiled). I tried the socca in a skillet over gas stove and in a pan under the broiler. The broiler one is definitely better – crisp on the edges and chewy in the centre. I wouldn’t call my recipe an authentic Socca coz I have tweaked it a lot and by a lot I mean a lot. I have tried to build a recipe to cater to the taste of my family since their Indian palate is so used to piquant flavours of Indian curries; that’s why the name of this post – cheat’s recipe. My apologies to the purists but I really couldn’t help it! In fact I have taken it a step further and turned the simple socca into a pancake smeared with a mint & Bengal gram chutney and garnished with cottage cheese, mint leaves, cherry tomatoes and pickled onions. A dusting of roasted and ground cumin powder over the top and it turned in to a heavenly gluten frees ‘pizza’ (of sorts)!

It was after I entered the world of food blogging that I heard and understood the term gluten. Till then I couldn’t imagine someone being intolerant/ allergic to wheat or stuff like that. I am a north Indian and for me wheat is like a staple diet and I can’t imagine life without it. In fact in one of my initial posts, it was Balvinder who told me that I had posted gluten free recipe! But thanks to so many food bloggers who dedicate posts to gluten free diet and certain others only write and blog about gluten free food. Balvinder’s blog Simply Gluten Free Kitchen happens to be one of them. I am sure it must be of great help to those who have intolerance to gluten.

For this scrumptious and healthy pancake you would need the following,

For Pancake
1 cup Chick Pea Flour
½ tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Garlic Paste
Salt to taste
½ tsp Coriander Powder
¼ tsp Red Chilli Powder/ black pepper powder (or to taste)
½ tsp roasted ground cumin 
1 cup Water (use half of it and then add gradually according to need)
3-4 tbsp Oil
A pinch Fruit Salt (Eno)

For Mint Chutney
2 cups mint leaves
A handful of fresh coriander
1-2 green chili (mine was hot)
1-1½ tbsp roasted Bengal grams (skin removed)
1 shallot (small sized onion)
Salt to taste (I added 1 tsp)
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)

To garnish and serve:
1 tsp roasted ground cumin 
100 gms Cottage Cheese
Few leaves of mint
A few cherry tomatoes
Onion slices (slice, sprinkle with salt, add a dash of lemon and keep aside till use)

For chutney, put everything together in mixer-grinder and blitz. Keep the chutney aside.

Take the chick pea flour and add salt, coriander powder, salt, red chili powder, ginger and garlic paste. Add water, fruit salt & one to one and half table spoon oil and mix everything well together. (I beat the batter for a while.) Set aside the batter for at least one hour. 

Pre-heat the oven at 200-210 degree C. Take a tart pan (I used a 7 inch one) and heat it in the oven. When it becomes hot, add 1-2 tsp oil and pour a ladle full of the chick pea flour batter and swirl it around so the bottom of the pan is covered well.

Return the pan in the oven and bake till it gets cooked (12-15 mins approx). Now switch on only the top grill of the oven and increase the temp to 250 degrees C. Keep the pan 4-5 inch away from grill and cook further for 5-8 minutes or till the top turns golden brown and edges crisp. I believe the tip to cook will vary so please keep an eye on the socca.

Remove from the pan and spread the chutney over the top of the socca (the amount depends on personal preference). Now, grate the cottage cheese over the top. Garnish with mint leaves, sliced tomatoes and onion slices. Sprinkle some cumin powder and serve immediately. 

The hot socca was an absolute bliss on the cool rainy day with piping hot cup of tea. So do try it! 

Serves 2. 

Thanks for visiting and see you soon!