Crepes are easier than you think! Search online for “How to make crepes” and a barrage of recipe pages are shoved on to your screen.
I love crepes. I think they are France’s gift to the world – a food fit for the nobles and the common people. You can have it on-the-go or sit at a high-end restaurant. It can be served with French creme and strawberries or sausages and onions. The combinations and permutations are endless!
In Assam, we have a version of the crepe made with rice flour. We call it pani-peetha, khula sapra or haazar mukhiyaa (a thousand faced). The names may differ, but the ingredients are the same – rice and water.
The quantity of rice may vary in different parts of the state. The Western region near Goalpara like to have it thicken and hence the batter is heavy with less water. Upper Assamese people like their batter thin and hold back on the amount of rice. However, for the sake of avoiding ambiguity, I have stuck to a fairly reasonable preparation.
Ingredients to make 8 rice crepes:
- 150 grams of any plain uncooked rice
- 2 cups of water
- A tablespoon of plain flour
- Half a tablespoon of corn flour
- Oil and butter for frying
- Half a teaspoon of salt
Wash the rice and soak it overnight in some water. This will help soften the kernels and made it easier to grind. The rice needs to soak for at least 3-4 hours for the batter.
Wash and drain the rice again to clear any impurities. Add the rice into an electric grinder along with the two cups of water. Blitz till it forms a smooth mix.
Put a few drops on the back of a spoon and draw a line through them with your finger. If the batter holds for a split second before trying to converge, the consistency is just right. If the batter holds and does not fall back, then you need to add some more water (start with a quarter cup first). If the batter does not hold and slide back together, the mix is too thin.
After you have prepared the rice-water mix, add the flour and corn flour. Stir to combine. Mix the salt in as well.
Take a very good non-stick or a ceramic pan, the kind that requires very less oil. Bring it up to temperature on full heat and brush with a little olive oil or butter.
As soon as the olive start emitting a little smoke or the butter starts turning brown, using a large bottom ladle, add some of the rice mix to the pan and turn down the heat. The ladle should hold about half a cup of the mix at a time.
The moment you add the mix to the pan, swirl it around to coat the entire flat space – otherwise, the crepe will be thick in places and thin at others. You will notice the edges of the crepe will start to curl slightly and separate from the pan. We are now ready to flip.
Now I can proudly say that I have mastered the art of flipping a crepe and a pancake. If you are not confident, then just use a spatula to turn the crepe. Cook for another 2 minutes on low heat.
In the meantime, add the fillings of your choice. I went for a traditional Nutella, honey, pomegranate and raisins filling. The fruits help cut the sweetness from the hazelnut butter and honey and adds a nice pang of acidity to the palate.
Let me know what your favourite crepe fillings are. Happy cooking!