This is the kind of dish that can easily be done in stages. The carrot hummus can be made a day or two in advance, and the pancakes can be mixed and formed and refrigerated until you’re ready to cook them. The feta salad is optional if you’d rather just serve the pancakes with the humus, or you could even sprinkle the hummus with crumbled feta by itself rather than make the salad. I started by making the hummus. I chopped some carrots into small pieces and boiled them until tender. The carrot pieces were drained and added to the blender with olive oil, rinsed and drained canned chickpeas, some chopped garlic, lemon juice, tahini, ground cumin, and salt and pepper. The mixture was blended until smooth, and I added just a bit of water for a softer consistency. With the hummus done, I moved on to the pancakes. Grated carrots were mixed with finely chopped onion, green chile, and I used one red chile as well, crushed cumin and fennel seeds, ground coriander, chopped cilantro, baking powder, chickpea flour, semolina, salt, and some water. Olive oil was heated in a skillet, and the thick batter was spooned into it in little cakes which cooked for a few minutes on each side. The recipe is written for making four to six cakes, but I made smaller cakes. For the salad, a dressing was whisked together with sherry vinegar, water, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon, and minced garlic. A mix of watercress, shiso, and sprouts is suggested, but I used pea shoots, onion sprouts, and cilantro leaves. Those were tossed together with chopped, segmented orange slices, sliced almonds, and crumbled feta. The dressing was added, and the salad crowned the dollop of hummus on each carrot pancake.
There was a lot to like about this from the crispy, little pancakes to the pretty color of the hummus with carrots and the mix of added flavor from the salad on top. I would have enjoyed each of the three parts separately, but all together, they made a special dish. With so many interesting flavor combinations and ways to adapt the recipes for what’s in season, I’ll be reaching for this book often.
Carrot Pancakes with Hummus and Feta Salad
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from The Modern Vegetarian.
This recipe is perfect as a light lunch, snack or starter. It also makes great party canapés, as it can be prepared in advance. The salad is entirely optional.
For the pancakes
1 1/2 cups / 150g carrots, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup / 100g chickpea flour (or besan or gram flour)
1/4 cup / 50g semolina
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 - 3/4 cup / 150–200ml water
3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
For the hummus
6 large / 400g carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups / 200g chickpeas, cooked (canned will do)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin
For the salad
a bunch of watercress, thick stems removed
1 orange, peel and pith removed, cut into segments
1 bunch shiso (or any micro) sprouts
1 bunch coriander sprouts (or coriander leaf)
12 mint leaves, torn
1 1/2 cups / 50g alfalfa sprouts
1/4 cup / 25g sliced almonds, toasted
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup / 50g feta cheese, crumbled
For the dressing
5 teaspoons / 25ml sherry vinegar
5 teaspoons / 25ml water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. To make the pancakes, mix all the ingredients, except the olive oil, together to form a thick batter. Heat the oil in a small non-stick frying pan until hot, then spoon in about a quarter of the batter and fry until golden on both sides. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 4–6 pancakes in total. Leave to drain on a wire rack, and then keep warm in the oven.
Cut the carrots into thin slices, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting tin, add 200ml water and roast for 20–30 minutes until softened. While still hot, put them in a blender with the remaining ingredients and whizz to a smooth puree, adding a little water if too thick. Season again if necessary and refrigerate until needed. If you prefer, you can boil the carrots instead; just cook until tender and follow the recipe as above.
To make the salad, mix all of the salad ingredients and toss together well. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season to taste. To assemble the dish, reheat the pancakes in a warm oven, place on individual plates and top with the carrot hummus. Dress the salad with the sherry dressing and place on top of the hummus.
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