TACO TIME, PUDA-STYLE

 
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In celebration of my trip to LA and the spring season (which I must confess is more like an excellent summer for me here on this side of the pond) and after enjoying delicious Mexican and Tex-Mex out here I decided to enjoy some East by West style soft tacos.

Pudas, or pudlas as they are known in northern India, are easy Indian-style vegetable pancakes which feature in East by West the cookbook as the most delicious pizza base alternative. Thinning out the easy-chickpea flour batter makes for yummy soft tacos which I dare say I find tastier! Like all pancake mixes it’s an art rather than a science so experiment with the first pancake you cook and by the 3rd you’ll be getting on a roll. Enjoy your choice of taco toppings/fillings - I’ve kept this really simple, left out the tomatoes and toned down the chilli a bit. Try this recipe below for some sunny spring LA vibes:

INGREDIENTS

For the bases:

  • 120g (1 cup) gram flour

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin, or more to taste

  • 175ml (¾ cup) water, plus more

  • 115g (1 cup) finely shredded green cabbage or carrot

  • 6 tsp melted ghee or coconut oil for cooking

For the taco toppings:

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder

  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • Pinch of black pepper or chipotle pepper

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • Your choice of protein e.g: 1 block of tempeh, diced/ 4 eggs/6 egg whites or homemade ricotta/paneer from East by West ADD LINK

  • 2 tsp ghee (or coconut oil)

  • Toppings: sliced avocados, chopped coriander, shredded carrots, shredded lettuce or other greens

  • To serve: lime, cut into wedges, finely sliced fresh coriander and a dollop of almond milk mayo

METHOD

  • Finely grate the vegetables - this will make for a thinner pancake or taco

  • To make the bases, mix the gram flour, cumin and salt, asafoetida, nigella seeds and Dosha churna spice mix (if using). Slowly add the water and whisk to make a smooth batter. Add the grated courgette and chopped coriander and mix well.

  • Place a ceramic-lined or seasoned cast-iron frying pan on a medium–high heat. Test to see if it’s hot enough by sprinkling a few drops of water on it — the water should sizzle right away. Pour 3 tbs of the mixture onto the pan and spread quickly and evenly with the back of a spoon. Starting from the centre, spiral the batter evenly outwards to form a thin circle.

  • After a few minutes, the batter will start to lift up at the sides - quicky turn it over, allow to cook a little longer and then set aside. Test the pancake by folding it in half - if it’s still a bit thick then add more water to the mix.

  • Repeat for the remaining batter and then place the puda tacos in a warm oven while you make the filling..

  • Combine all the spices and the salt in a small mixing bowl

  • Fold through or rub on to your choice of protein and then saute on a pan in the ghee - set aside

  • To serve, place the tortillas onto a serving plate - spoon a strip of protein mixture on each tortilla. Add toppings in any combination. Accompany with fresh lime wedges to squeeze on top. Fold in half to eat as soft tacos.

Tips - for another Mexican influence try the Black bean soup with avocado and lime on page 169 in East by West. If you don’t digest raw very well at this time of year then sauté the grated carrots and shredded greens first.

 
Jasmine Hemsley