Farinata is a traditional pancake made from chickpea flour that originated in Tuscany. It is a delicious alternative to pizza and is often flavoured with fresh herbs and olive oil. Chickpea flour, otherwise know as Besan or Gram flour, contains 8 times as much folic acid as wheat flour and is also a good source of Thiamine, vitamin B6 both needed to regulate appetite and mood, plus iron, magnesium and phosphorus for healthy blood circulation, muscles and strong bones. Plus it’s a very cheap way to get these nutrients when on a budget, without having to take an expensive supplement.
The recipe is extremely simple – consisting of very few ingredients. 1 cup of chickpea flour and 2 cups of water need to be whisked together with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt, and then left to stand at room temperature for 3 hours (or over night).
Traditionally baked like a pizza, you need a very hot oven to cook the Farinata. So pre-heat your oven as high as it will go (gas mark 9, 240C, 475F), for one hour before baking. Use an oven proof heavy duty pan and place it in the oven to warm through.
Once you’re ready to cook, remove your pan from the oven (using oven gloves), coat the pan with olive oil and pour in 1 cup of your mixture which should sizzle and start cooking immediately against the hot pan. Quickly scatter a layer of your chosen topping (olives, sage, rosemary and fried onions) and place in the top shelf of the oven for 12 minutes. When it is cooked through transfer to the grill for 2-4 minutes until it is golden brown. Repeat with the left over mixture. Serve warm with any thing that takes your fancy – a few salad leaves or sliced tomato. Or perhaps some avocado or hummus dip. It’s filling, yet light and nutritious, as well as easy on the budget.
I buy my chickpea flour from an Tahmid supermarket on Cowley Road, but any India supermarket will stock it at around £3 per kilo.
This recipe is very frugal.
1 cup of chickpea flour = 80p
Olives = 30p
I used sage and rosemary from the garden
1 onion = 5p
Olive oil = 10p
Total = £1.25 for 4 people
+ £1 for salad leaves and avocado