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Chickpea flour is also known as Besan and gram. A good substitute for wheat flour for those with gluten intolerance, it has other nutritional virtues and it tastes delicious.

This is street food and is still sold on the streets of Nice and Marseille in southern France. The pancakes are about 20 cm/8 inches wide and are good for parking things on – a fried egg or some bacon bits or as I did recently a spoonful of leftover green pepper and aubergine ratatouille.

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170 g/6 oz chickpea flour

400 ml/14 fl oz/1½ cups sparkling water

60 ml/2 fl oz cup olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tbsp rosemary leaves

olive oil for frying

  • Shake the flour gently through a sieve into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the water and whisk it in until you have a smooth runny paste.
  • Add the oil and whisk in.
  • Add pinches of salt and pepper plus the rosemary.
  • Leave to soak for 20–30 minutes.
  • When you are ready to make the pancake, heat a swirl of olive oil in a 25 cm/10 inch frying pan.
  • When the oil is hot, put a tablespoonful of the stirred mixture in the pan and let it spread.
  • Cook for a few seconds until you can ease the pancake loose with a spatula.
  • Now you have to turn it over–be bold!
  • Practice makes perfect and anyway the first attempt, if not completely successful, will be edible.
  • Cook the pancake a further few seconds and remove from the pan.
  • Both sides should be a golden brown.
  • Add a few twists of the pepper mill on each.
  • Add what you will and serve with a green salad.

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