Saturday, 11 April 2015
Half confounded, half amused, for a moment I just stood staring at the three bags of sweet potatoes that had just been delivered to my door. I often order my grocery online when the weather gets a little hostile over here and especially the bulky items like potatoes and non-dairy milk cartons. Otherwise, we do all our groceries on foot. Although, a 20-minute walk (each way) in freezing sub-zero temperatures or even just above zero with wind chill is not always a pleasant trip.
A few weeks ago, I thought I was ordering three sweet potatoes (amongst other grocery items) but I was quite bemused when I got three bags instead. Very strange, as I had put the same order before and received just three sweet potatoes. The store must have had a glitch on their system or the staff misunderstood, which really happens every now and then with online grocery shopping.
For the high-carb vegans out there, this would probably have been a normal order but for my case, as much as I love sweet potatoes, I do not consume them in such vast quantities in a short period of time. It is just the two of us here and unless I incorporate the sweet potatoes in recipes, Kevin does not eat a whole lot of them on their own, that is plain baked or steamed.
Creative mode: ON; I knew I had to use them in any way I could! Pre-cooking a few at a time and storing them in the fridge, ready to be used, helped me along the way whenever creativity would strike; it had better struck everyday lest the sweet potatoes would go bad before I'd have a chance to use them up. Starting with sweet potato bread, I moved on to incorporating a little bit in mashed form in sauces. By the way, I remembered a recipe I wanted to try and adapted it to my taste; it came out brilliant. I have now adopted the habit of adding a little sweet potato puree in most sauces and it does a fantastic job both for a touch of sweetness and as a thickener. Steadily, I managed to use up two bags pretty quickly.
Well, every cloud has a silver lining and I soon came up with a few new recipes that is worth keeping and re-using. One of them being these vegetable pancakes. Savoury pancakes are quite a regular brunch at the Lovlie Cocoon, especially on weekends. Adding a couple of dollops of sweet potato mash to the batter made a tasty difference. The pancakes turned out fluffier on the inside with just the right hint of sweetness and slightly caramelised on the outside for a satisfying crispiness. Kevin asked for more and we made these pancakes three days in a row and even had them for dinner; I decided it was time to share the recipe.
Altering the vegetables with what you have on hand, makes this recipe very versatile. In this version, I am using carrots and spinach but feel free to substitute with other vegetables like cabbage, kale, bok choy, any other greens or scallions, anything really.
Vegetable Pancakes with Carrot, Spinach and Sweet Potato | Vegan + Gluten-free
Ingredients (about 10 pancakes depending on what size you make them)
1 cup [100g] chickpea flour (also known as gram flour or besan)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup [180ml] water (adjust at the end if you feel the batter is a little stiff)
1/3 cup [65g] cooked mashed sweet potato
1 cup [50g] coriander leaves (cilantro), finely chopped
2 cups [180g] carrots, grated
1 cup cooked spinach (lightly wilted, from 4 cups [100g] fresh spinach)
Salt to taste
Oil for light brushing when cooking
If you are using fresh spinach, start by wilting them in a skillet. Then cut into small pieces.
In a large mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, salt, turmeric powder and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
Add the water and whisk well to remove any lumps.
Add the cooked mashed sweet potato and mix well into the batter.
Now add the chopped coriander leaves, cooked spinach and grated carrots.
The consistency of the batter is rather thick with all the vegetable well "glued" together. You may adjust the water with a few more tablespoons if you feel the batter is too stiff.
Heat a non-stick frying pan or skillet on medium. Lightly brush the pan with a little oil.
Laddle some of the batter on the hot pan and spread the batter around to make a rather thin pancake.
Cook for 3 minutes on one side then flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip again and cook for a final one minute. Then remove from the pan and place into a serving plate.
Repeat for the rest of the batter.
Notes: You may make larger pancakes if you want to cook up the batch more quickly. Then you may cut them into quarters or even smaller bite size pieces and serve as finger foods or party nibbles.