Chickpea pancake (Pudla) with Parma ham, the Indian classic meets an Italian delicacy.

The Parma ham is optional, this being an experiment we made with our usual chickpea pancake recipe. However, it was so delicious and combined with a fresh green salad, I thought I'd post it as the example of our take on this famous Indian bread alternative.

Organic Chickpea pancakes with home-grown salad

We eat chickpea pancakes on a regular basis, they make a tasty accompaniment to all kinds of snacks, main course and supper dishes. I was intrigued to marry, what might be thought of as a distinctly Indian, Gujarati 'bread' with an Italian artisanal ham but actually there is a tasty Tuscan flatbread also made from chickpea flour.  'Cecina', baked or shallow fried, also found in the cuisine of the Côte d'Azur, in particular Nice, is said to date from Ancient Rome. It's a bread we have often in the Winter with soup and I will be including the recipe here when the temperatures begin to drop!

A word about Parma ham and other deluxe items

For people who live simply, we include some unusually luxurious items in our organic homesteader/smallholding lifestyle, these being Parma ham and Jambon de Paris, quail eggs and a whole range of seafood. How do we do it? Well the latter two are easy, we raise the quail ourselves and live by the sea, in a major French shellfish area, where gleaning from the ocean bed is pretty much a way of life. 

La baie de Mont Saint Michel
With regards to the ham, that is gleaning too, of sorts, for when people are paying top dollar for an item they want the best cuts. So the little bit at the end of the ham, and I say that advisedly as in many cases it weighs around a kilo, is sold off by our organic butcher as a talon or heel and at a fraction of the price.

Organic Parma ham heel
Prosciutto di Parma or Parma ham, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a raw, naturally air-cured leg of pork. Sea salt is the only preservative used and it can take from one to three years to cure. To find out more there is a film available here
Parma ham is eaten raw as an hors d'oeuvre but it is also a fantastic cooking ingredient.

Organic Parma ham heel unwrapped

As you can see once my talon is unwrapped I have an elegant sufficiency for so many recipes. The skin, I hang on the tree for the birds, that is unless my chickens get there first and pull it off the branches!

Basic chickpea pancake


Chickpea pancakes (Pudla) organic ingredients


140g (5oz) sifted chickpea flour
A generous pinch of sea salt
250ml  water
5 cloves of garlic
1 medium (red) onion

Oil or butter for cooking

Chickpea pancake batter organic recipeMethod

Put flour and sea salt into a bowl. Slowly add the water whilst mixing, so as to form a smooth batter. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion and add to mixture. Leave to stand for at least half an hour.

Adding the Parma ham


Organic Parma ham cooking
Slice and chop a small quantity of ham. To bring out the flavour,  sautée for a few minutes and add to batter.

As an alternative to this try adding fresh turmeric root, chopped and  sautéed, along with other spices such as coriander, chillies and black pepper.

Chickpea and parma ham pancakes organic recipe

Melt cooking fat in a frying pan, I use certified sustainable organic palm oil. Depending upon the size of your pan, ladle in sufficient batter to form one or two thin pancakes, about 125mm (5") diameter. Leave to cook for approximately three minutes. Lift the edge of the pancake to test if it is cooked, it should be a golden brown in colour. Flip over but add additional fat to cook the second side, as these pancakes are butter-hungry!

Chickpea pancakes frying organic recipe

Once cooked, set aside in a warming drawer or low oven. We added a freshly picked salad from the garden dressed with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and raw apple cider vinegar.

Organic Chickpea pancakes (Pudla) Indian bread alternative.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions and share.

Hope to see you here again for another recipe from an old farmhouse in Normandie,


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© 2014 Sue Cross


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