Food writer Laurie V. Soileau sends this lovely note about making these Cream of Wheat pancakes. Yes, cream of wheat. Don't run away.. please. It tastes good. Dont take my word for it, see what Laurie has to say –
(photos for Modern Spice by Wasabimon)
Guest Post – Laurie V. Soileau
After testing Bhide’s recipe for Cream of Wheat and Paneer Pancakes with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, I am, for once, wordless. There is absolutely not an utterance, photograph, or gesture or that could elucidate for you the pungent aroma and taste bud-titillating flavor of these hearty, savory and earthy-looking Indian-spiced pancakes. These aren’t your breakfast pancakes dripped with sticky-sweetness for a lazy Sunday morning. And they aren’t child’s play. These are cakes to make your average vegetarian entrée fall over and weep with envy and your taste buds fire in every possible configuration. You’d never know it from my photos, but these are little packages of WOW, a down-to-earth potato-like center draped in a delicate crisp-crunchy coat (thanks to the cream of wheat) but with an aromatic flavor that makes you want to jump up and shout, “I can cook Indian food!”
For me, a great dish is all about the yin and yang. I want crunchy and velvety-soft (which these are); salty and tangy (which these are); savory with a hint of sweet (right again- these are). I want enough peppery heat to make me reach for a glass of something cold, and they do just that. And, while my camera could not capture their elusive magic, these multi-textured pancakes, which
double as entrée or side dish, are a feast for the eyes with flecks of bright green chile and chunks of bright red tomato. This impressive recipe is quite simple and easy, and makes enough for dinner for four or dinner and tomorrow’s lunch for two. A trip to an Indian or international market may be required for the paneer, a firm, white Indian farmer cheese, all other ingredients are found at the local market or in your own pantry, from yogurt to cumin seed to Serrano chilies and canned oven-roasted tomatoes. Once you’ve grated a little cheese and carefully minced the chilies, the process is a simple stir. Cooking is a breeze as you simply fry these cakes up in vegetable oil in a skillet.
Modern Spice calls for a non-stick skillet, so I used my favorite iteration, the beloved cast iron. I also tested these with queso fresco in place of paneer as on my first trek I was unable to locate the Indian cheese, not quite the salute to Bhide’s Indian heritage that Modern Spice is known for, but it is a reasonable and delicious alternative. These pancakes never made it past the stove for me. While I intended to prepare a full sit-down meal for my daughter and myself, I started nibbling after the first cake was flipped in the steaming-hot skillet and never sat down. Rather than relaxing at the table, I found myself daydreaming of meals to come, flipping through the pages of Modern Spice, making notes, and handing my daughter her plate sideways through the kitchen door. She’ll forgive me. And I’ll be a better mom for it.