Make Suvir Saran's Savory Indian Crepes with Tomato-Shallot Chutney, Available This Valentine's at Devi
Suvir Saran, the New Delhi-born executive chef and partner at Devi, is hosting a Valentine's brunch this coming weekend. The $25 prix fixe include two courses and a cocktail. Or you can always stay in with your honey and try to replicate one of the dishes at home. He shares the recipe for his Savory Indian Crepes with Tomato-Shallot Chutney, otherwise known as cheelas.
"The smell of cheelas is the best way to wake up in the morning," he tells us. "It doesn't matter where I am, I always crave them. This combination of flavors is so perfect and savory with the herbs, spices, and onions, you want to make sure that you get as much chutney on the crepe as you can with each bite. And, with a recipe as simple as this one, it would be an easy way but impressive way to wow your loved one this Valentine's Day."
Suvir Saran's Savory Indian Crepes with Tomato-Shallot Chutney
For the crepes: 1 cup chickpea flour (besan) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon carom (ajowan) 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3/4 cup water 1 jalapeño (cored and seeded if you prefer a milder flavor), finely chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, carom, and cayenne pepper. Add in the water (the batter should look like a thin pancake batter), and set the batter aside for 30 minutes.
For the chutney: 1 tablespoon canola oil 4 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped 2 teaspoons kosher salt 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped 1 jalapeño (cored and seeded if you prefer a milder flavor), finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
While the batter rests, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the shallots and salt, and cook until the shallots are transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, jalapeño, and cilantro, then cover the saucepan, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the tomatoes are very saucy, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the chutney is thick and jammy, another 6 to 8 minutes. Set it aside while you make the crepes.
To assemble: Gently stir the jalapeño and cilantro into the crepe batter, trying not to create any bubbles. Heat a medium nonstick skillet or griddle over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. You'll know when it's hot enough when a few droplets of water sizzle on the skillet. Working quickly, pour 1/4 cup of batter on to the center of the skillet and spread into a large and thin circle with the back of the measuring cup or the back of a spoon (do it quickly; the batter cooks fast!). Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of canola oil over the top of the crepe. Cook the underside of the crepe until browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until it's dry, about 30 seconds. Serve with a generous scoop of chutney, and eat hot.
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