Originating from Italy and a traditional street food in France Socca is a flatbread or pancake make from chickpea flour. In Nice you’ll see street food stands with large griddles cooking wafer-thin Socca pancakes, serving them piping hot, sliced like a piece of pizza, seasoned with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, beautiful when eaten with a glass of the local wine.
Socca pancakes are made from chickpea flour, often called gram flour or Besan, water and oil and made on a hot griddle or in a hot pan like a pancake. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten free and packed full of protein and in addition it also has great levels of vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium.
These simple pancakes are so versatile, great with soup or used as wraps, replacement for naan bread to soak up the last traces of your curry. You can keep the batter in the fridge and just use what you need as you need it, or, make a batch store in the fridge with baking parchment between each one so they don’t stick together and heat when needed or use cold as a wrap.
As a base batter you can add all sorts of flavours. I like to add fresh chopped coriander and lime zest to the batter then serve the socca topped with smashed avocado, sun blush tomatoes, a handful of rocket, sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of hemp oil. Delicious and packed full of goodness.
Alternatively add finely chopped deseeded chilli, roll the socca up filled with bean chilli place in a baking dish, top with cashew cheese and bake in the oven, serve with shredded iceberg lettuce. I also like to crush a mix of seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax, hemp, poppy, well to be honest whatever I have in the pantry a good helping of black pepper. I make all the mix the stack on a place with a strip of baking parchment in-between to stop them sticking and place in the fridge till needed. I use them as a seeded wrap filling them with salad and falafels with houmous or grated carrot sided red cabbage, sliced cucumber, chopped mushroom. A fabulous colourful wrap and delicious.
They also make a great base for pizza! As you can see this great little pancake is quite the hero if you can’t have bread and want something different. Try making the batter with less water to make it thick and dollop in the pan and make thicker savoury scone type bread which is great in place of a roll with soup or chilli. Add chopped or grated vegetables to the batter, remember if you are using courgettes or watery veg squeeze out the moisture before you add or the batter will be too runny.
The recipe is so very easy so let your imagination run wild. How will you eat yours?
2 cups Gram flour (often called Besan flour, chickpea flour)
2 cups water
¼ cup oil – I use rapeseed oil as olive oil has too strong taste for this recipe
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional – fresh chopped herbs, lime or lemon zest, mixed seeds, chopped deseeded chilli, dried herbs or spices, chopped olives, sliced onion, spinach, grated courgette to name a few you may want to try.
Place all the flour, water, oil salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk with a balloon whisk until fully combined. Add any optional extras and stir in to combine. Place in fridge and allow to stand for at least 4 hours to allow the batter to rest and the flavours to develop
Heat a frying pan or skillet until hot. Add a dash of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add a ladle full of batter and again swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two until set, you will see the colour change slightly. With a spatula lift the sides and release the pancake then turn over and cook the other side. Once cooked both sides and lightly browned, transfer to your plate and serve with your favourite toppings or filling. Alternatively, layer between parchment on a plate and use cold or reheat when needed. To reheat flash both sides in a hot pan. Pancakes can be kept for at least 3 days in the fridge.
By Sara Matthews