This is a recipe inspiration from my travels to South of France where the food has North African influences. So I combined the British favourite with socca, a chickpea flour pancake. And to celebrate autumn I am making this a veggie curry.
Some of you might remember that in August this year I went in the holiday of my lifetime:). Me and at that time boyfriend packed our Mini full of birdcages, lanterns, candles and what have you and off we went south passing the length of France and then going across Italy to get to our end destination: Florence. By the end of the week we got married in an incredible venue having the most amazing party. The funny thing is that my now husband (still having to get used to the calling him this) keeps complaining that I don’t mention him in my blog posts. Well, now he should be happy:).
As a true foodie my favourite way of experiencing a country is through the food. It’s the best way to understand a country and a culture…it tells you what the land/the sea is giving , what other populations have influenced the dishes through people coming as immigrants or as migratory populations. In Nice I have experienced Socca a chickpea flour massive pancake. Eaten by itself is a bit bland so I came up with a recipe that if full of flavour…you can call it an Indian-French fusion which I think it works very well. It’s a veggie curry served with socca as a side.
As it is autumn and different kinds of squashed are in season I thought a veggie curry would be the best partner for my socca. Packed full of vitamins and also antioxidants from all that wonderful curry paste. The good news is that socca is gluten free so perfect if you are intolerant. Win win win I would say don’t you think?
So for this recipe that serves 2 you will need:
For the veggie curry:
- 1/2 squash or 2 gem squash – be a bit more adventurous and go beyond butternut squash…there are loads more varieties out there (onion squash, pattipan, pumpkin)
- 2 medium onions
- 1 organic sweet potato
- 1 small organic aubergine
- 3-4 heap tablespoons of curry paste – I have used Anila’s Dhansak Korma for this recipe; you can make your curry paste from scratch if you really want to but it’s quite laborious and not that easy to get right so there are curry pastes on the market which a perfectly fine. Just check the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t contain any sugar or preservatives.
- big bunch of organic spinach
- medium bunch of organic coriander
For socca (to make 4):
- 200g chickpea flower
- 450ml water
- few leaves of marjoram or you can use oregano – marjoram has an amazing flavour and aroma so if you can get it that will give a nice lift
- generous pinch of himalayan salt
How to make the veggie curry
Start by cutting all vegetables in 2cm chunks or big enough so you can still bite into them…you don’t want to have a mash at the end of it. You don’t need to peel anything…even if the skin of the squash you choose will be too thick you can always scoop the flesh after it has been cooked…far easier than peeling a raw, hard squash. I roasted all my veggies first with a bit of coconut oil, salt and pepper as wanted to get a nice roasted flavour but steaming them would be fine as well. It is also quicker.
TIP: if you steam your veggies cook them until firm or as Italians would say al dente. You will finish cooking them in the pan with the sauce. Also it retains more vitamins.
If you do decide to go via steaming route then leave the onions and aubergine out. Cut the onion into think slices and the aubergine into 2 cm thick pieces. Heat a bit of coconut oil in a pan and sweat the onions and aubergine until onions are soften and aubergines almost cooked. Add the steam veggies to the pan, the curry sauce and top with water until you have a slightly runny sauce. Cook for further 5 min or until the sauce is thickened. Start adding water a little at a time as you can always add more until you get the consistency that you want.
How to make socca
It’s easier than you think. Mix the flour, salt and water. It will be a bit more runnier than a normal pancake batter.
Lightly oil a pan with coconut oil and pour 1/4 of the batter. Scatter marjoram leaves evenly. When you can see it crisping on the side try to push a spatula underneath it. If it doesn’t unstick then leave it to cook further. Gently turn over in the pan as you would do with a pancake. It is more fragile and breakable than a normal pancake so I would not use your tossing technique:).
After all 4 soccas are cooke, cut into quarters and serve with squash, sweet potato and aubergine curry. Another veggie healthy dinner recipe for you to try and it’s really easy to make. Plus…who doesn’t like curry?!