Saturday, April 19, 2014

Healthy Lentil Crepes

Letter # 2

Dear Blog,

Wonderful thing happened last weekend that I would love to share.

I am a scientist. Most of my friends are scientists. My husband is a scientist. My very own sister and her husband are both scientists. So, you see, I don't often talk to non-scientists about science. I did once try to explain to my dad what my research is. After about 15 min, he asked me again - "what do you do?" I figured, he did not understand me at all. My PhD adviser used to always say that scientists must be able to explain their work in words that even their grandmother will be able to understand. As simple as it sounds, it is quite a difficult task. See, if your understanding about anything is deep, it is quite a virtue if you can explain it in few words or a few simple sentences without using technical words. For example, if you know a lot about electronics- and if I ask you the question "How do smart phones work?" or if you know a lot about economics and I ask very naively "How does stock market work?", you are a genius in my mind, if you can explain to anyone in a few sentences without using any technical words. Well, I am going on about this because, last weekend, I volunteered to be put up to this test. I, along with my colleague, talked to the general public about what we do as a scientist. It was a lovely experience. From undergraduates looking for a career path to above 70 years old enthusiasts visited my lab to peek into our daily work. I was nervous at first. But, as I started to talk about things I find exciting and interesting, I saw it reflected in their eyes. And you know, how I know that they understood what I said, they asked me questions which made the lab tour so interactive. It was very rewarding.  I can't believe that I have now volunteered to talk about science to general public now on a regular basis. I am excited. And nervous. But more excited.

And by the way, I research is in the area of breast cancer.

Love,
Not-so-crazy-scientist (Thank you, The Big Bang Theory - for making us look so not-crazy and sociable!)

P.S. I love "The Big Bang Theory"

P.P.S. I wonder when I laugh at their jokes if I am laughing at them or they are laughing at me! Hmm.

Now to the promised recipe-


 These lentil crepes are made with almost no oil. They are soft, and fold so beautifully.



You need (for about 10-12 crepes)

¼ cup yellow lentils or Moong/Mung dal
¼ cup rice flour (I used Bob's Red Mill's brown rice flour)
¾ cup water
½ inch ginger
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch of turmeric (optional)
one or two drops of oil

This is how I did it-

Grind the lentils to a smooth paste with ¾ cup water and the ginger. Add all the other ingredients and mix well to make a smooth batter. Taste for salt.

Put your griddle on medium heat. When you griddle is ready, add just one or two drops of oil in the middle. With the help of a clean paper towel, spread that oil all around the griddle. The paper towel will soak most of the oil, but that is what makes these crepes healthy. DON'T throw the paper towel away.

 
Use an ice-cream scoop to pour batter in the middle of the griddle. Use the bottom surface of the ice-cream scoop to slowly spread the batter in circular motion starting from the middle to make a thin crepe. If you find it difficult to spread, lower the heat, so that you get more time to spread before the batter cooks.

Cook the crepe for about  30s to a minute depending on how much heat you are using. When the bottom surface of the crepe is cooked, it will come off the surface cleanly when you flip it. Cook the other side for another minute or two.

Before you pour batter again for the next crepe, just wipe your griddle with the paper towel that soaked up that drop of oil in the beginning. Continue with the wipe, pour, flip with the rest of your batter.

Enjoy warm savory lentil crepes with any curry or some indian pickle or just by itself with some ketchup. They are rich in protein and very filling.









27 comments:

  1. These look just lovely! And interesting what you say about being able to describe your job succinctly to people! I always find that I can never work out what my uncle, who works with computers, actually does for a living, no matter how many times he explains it to me:p

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    1. Thanks Shonalika. I know, I have one friend who is in finances and I have never understood what he does. But, that does not stop me from asking him, what he does, every time we meet. Fortunately (for him), that's not too often :)

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  2. oh i've always wanted to learn to make these! Thank you!

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    1. Great! Give it a try and let me know :)

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  3. I totally know how you feel about trying to explain science to non scientists!! It's hard!
    Anyway. I am dying to try these! Do you think red lentils would work?

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    1. Thank you Marlies. I totally agree it's hard. Anyways I have never tried with red lentils but I can't think of any reason why it shouldn't work. Give it a try and let me know.

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  4. Do you cook or soak the lentils first?

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    1. No, I don't. I am not so good in planning ahead these things, so I started with dry lentils. They get cooked when you make the crepes.

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  5. What device do you use to make the batter smooth (blender, food-processor, or mortar and pestle, etc.)? I guess I just can't picture dried lentils having a smooth consistency without soaking them first, unless you have some sort of industrialized grinder.....

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    1. I use my Magic Bullet blender to grind dry lentils with water to a smooth paste. But, you can always soak them first and then grind them, which will definitely be easier, but adjust the water accordingly.

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  6. Mine did not came out as glamorous and fluffy as the ones on the picture, but with a bit of practice I think I can get there.
    Making the paste of lentils did not work so well. I had visible parts of lentil in my crêpes but you are right: they cook while baking. So my crêpes came out tasty. Thank you.

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    1. I use my magic bullet blender to grind the lentils to a smooth paste. I agree, a little practice does help to make better crepes. I am so glad you liked them.Thank you.

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  7. my hands are weak can I use my food-processor in stead of mortar and pestle ?

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    1. Do not use a mortar and pestle even if you have strong hands. It will take forever to get a smooth consistency. I use my magic bullet blender to grind the lentils to a smooth paste. You can also use food processor. You may even soak the lentils ahead of time to ease the grinding process but note to adjust the water accordingly. Crepes made with a coarse paste of the lentils will have a different texture but will taste as good.

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  8. Wondering if these could be used as tortillas?

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    1. These crepes are thin and soft and tear easily. So, they will not be able to hold anything as a tortilla does. But, otherwise they can be enjoyed like a tortilla.

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  9. Do you use the lentils dry or cooked?

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    1. I used dry lentils and grind it to a smooth paste with 3/4 cup water in my Magic Bullet grinder. You may soak the lentils ahead of time to ease the grinding process. The lentils get cooked when you make the crepes.

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  10. Just made these with red lentils and made my brown rice flour from scratch since I didn't have any. Very tasty ! Only made about 6 crepes though (6 inch diameter), but won't have any problems doubling the recipe next time. Thank you !

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    1. I am so happy to hear that you liked them. Thank you for letting me know that red lentils work equally well. I'll try red lentils myself next time :) Thanks!

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  11. This is a lovely recipe! As a kitchen scientist of fate, today I was experimenting with vegan cuisine, indian cooking in general and lentils specifically. I love dal, but was trying to make a lentil burger suitable for satisfying my non-vegetarian husband's appetite for beef. After several modifications to the original recipe, I gave up and rather than waste the tasty and nutritious batter, decided I would make it into lentil crepes. I felt so clever (!) and searched the internet to see if anyone else was doing the same thing - and was very pleasantly surprised to find Smita's images online, and that although I had never heard of, nor tasted Cheela or Dosai -there it was! An innate universal connection between all peoples and food throughout all the ages. How wonderful you are working in breast cancer research. Thank you!

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    1. I am sorry your lentil burger didn't work and I am so happy that you turned them into crepes. I hope your husband liked them. I can totally connect with you on the feeling clever thing. It happens with me all the time. Thank you for your wonderful words.

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  12. i just made these! They're so yummy but they came out more like a roti.. I struggled to distribute the batter thin enough.. i guess it will take practice :(. thank you so much for this recipe :)!

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    1. Thank you Nidhi. Yes, it does take a little practice but this tastes good either way. I am so happy you liked it :)

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  13. Love this recipe. Can this batter be stored in the fridge for 2 days with the ginger mixed in? I've tried similar recipes without ginger.

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    1. Thanks Maria. I have stored this batter with everything mixed in overnight in the refrigerator but never more than that. You can always store the batter without the spices for a few days and add the spices just before you make the crepes. Keep in mind to store the batter in an airtight container so that it doesn't dry out. Enjoy!

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