One of my favorite shows on the Cooking Channel is My Grandmother’s Ravioli. If you haven’t already watched it, here’s the premise: the host of the show, Mo Rocca, goes to a different home of a grandmother and/or grandfather each episode and learns how to cook some of their signature dishes. Along the way, he learns about their past, how they developed a love for cooking and then meets some of their neighbors and family members towards the end of the episode for a sit-down dinner. It’s less of an instructional cooking show than it is a glimpse inside the lives of families who have consciously and enthusiastically made food and signatures dishes a part of their own distinct culture and history.
So what does this have to do with the photo above? After watching an episode that highlighted a couple who made manicotti with crepes instead of pasta, I decided I wanted to try to make a crepe as well. As I watched the host attempt to make them, I wondered: can a crepe be easily veganized? Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. And with Nemo on its way into Boston, I decided I had some time to create my own version of a crepe made with chickpea flour as the base.
After making one batch that tasted bad, one that tasted good, but wouldn’t crisp correctly along the edges, then one more that was too thick, I finally nailed it with the right ratios of chickpea flour, seltzer water, tapioca flour and a little emulsified coconut milk. I then stuffed them with some mushrooms in a creamy and smokey sauce, similar to the sauce I developed for this recipe. The crepes were perfectly crisp along the edges, with a nice softer texture towards the middle, which complimented the smoky and nicely textured mushroom filling inside. I liked it so much that I not only ate it as a late lunch, but also again as a dinner the same day.
for the filling:
1/2 TB olive oil
1 large shallot, cut in half, then thinly sliced
10 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic gloves, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 or 3 TB coconut milk (skim the heavy part off the top of the can)
1 tsp coconut vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
for the crepes:
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup fizzy water
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 TB tapioca flour
1 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
a few dashes of salt
olive oil, for sauteing
chopped fresh parsley, for serving
To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saute pan over medium-low heat. Place the shallots into the pan and saute for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the mushrooms, then place a lid over the top. Increase the heat to medium and allow the mushrooms to sweat for 4-5 minutes. Remove the lid and slightly lower the heat to allow some of the moisture to evaporate, about 4-5 minutes more. Add in the garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Add in the thyme and paprika. Stir well. Scoop off 2 or 3 tablespoons of the coconut cream from the top of the can. Reserve the rest of the canned coconut milk for the crepes. Add it to the pan and allow it to melt. Stir to combine, then add 1/2 tsp of coconut vinegar to the pan. Taste and add another 1/2 tsp if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep it over the lowest heat setting possible while you make your crepes.
To make the crepes, pour out the remaining coconut milk into a bowl. Stir it until the thin and thick parts are thoroughly combined. Measure out 1/2 cup of it into another bowl, then add in 3/4 cup of seltzer water. Whisk vigorously, then add in the chickpea and tapioca flours, nutritional yeast and salt, then whisk again.
Heat a clean non-stick circular pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Spray with a little cooking spray or oil, then quickly pour a thin layer of the batter into the middle. Pick up the hot pan immediately and tilt the pan around so it is evenly covered. Return the pan to the heat and allow it to cook until the edges are slightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip it over with a spatula, then cook for only 1-2 minutes more. This should make about 4-5 medium-sized crepes.
Spoon some of the mushroom filling into each of the crepes. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh parsley and serve immediately.