Socca – How can something so ridiculously simple taste so outrageously good?!

In Spain we can easily buy chick pea flour as it’s used to make Tortillitas de Camarones, little deep fried “pancakes” made with the tiniest prawns imaginable. They are so very, very good. My previous experience of cooking with chick pea flour (or gram flour, garbanzo flour or besan) was in Indian cookery to make bhajis.

In my search for other uses, I kept coming across recipes for Socca, a chickpea flour pancake, usually cooked at high heat in the oven in a small cake tin or tray. I also found a version in my wonderful River Cottage Bread Handbook which was cooked in a frying pan. Perfect for summer when you want food you can cook quickly without using the oven. We ate this with Chargrilled Aubergines in Tomato Sauce – tearing up pieces of the pancake and dipping. Fantastic if you enjoy sharing dishes and are not too proud to slurp and lick your fingers!

Socca (1)

Ingredients (per pancake)

  • 100ml chick pea flour
  • 100ml water
  • A good pinch of salt
  • Olive oil for frying

Mix the flour, water and salt together and leave to stand for a few minutes. Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and heat until it sizzles (this pancake is meant to be oily, so go on, be heavy handed with the oil!)

Pour the mix in, it should be thick in the pan and cook until it starts to char on the edges. Flip it over and cook the other side. Serve immediately and imagine you are eating it sitting in a bustling bar in the South of France sipping an ice cold beer and watching the world go by from under the brim of your slightly battered panama hat….

On Thursday morning we’ll be heading off down the mountain and driving north across Spain. Hopefully we’ll get our heads down for the night near Bordeaux and onwards Friday morning towards Calais and an early evening crossing to Dover.  Then we go west to our little home in Bexhill. Just for a few weeks you understand, we have a Golden Wedding Anniversary to celebrate with my parents and walks along the beach with the pups. We will enjoy the last of the beautiful English summer before we head back to our mountain home for the September fiestas. I’ll still be checking in here, but perhaps not as often as usual. See you when we get there!


62 thoughts on “Socca – How can something so ridiculously simple taste so outrageously good?!

  1. This is on my list of things to make and try! I’ll be using your stove-top method and my cast-iron skillet. Safe travels through Spain and thanks for sharing your recipe with us.

  2. They sound great – I should make them, having been born on pancake day!
    How funny, I’ll be getting up at 5 am on Thursday to fly to Barcelona.
    Have a good trip 😉

    1. We’re almost crossing each other mid journey – mind you, by the time you get to Barcelona we’ll probably be somewhere around Madrid! Have a wonderful trip, Pancake Dog 🙂

  3. Also on my list of things to try! I found some in reduced for clearance and picked up several bags. I’ve had Trinidadian roti, which is also made with chickpea flour. It was so fragrant!

  4. I’ve not heard of socca but know enough that if you say something is delicious, Tanya, it most certainly is! Now I have to see if I can find some chickpea flour. I hope you and Big Man have a safe trip and wonderful time in your home away from home. Buon viaggio!

    1. Funnily enough when I looked it up on Wikipedia it says it’s of Italian origin and is call Farinata! I am going to try it with ordinary flour too – am guessing it will be like a tortilla with lots of olive oil 🙂 Just packing and starting to load the car for an early start tomorrow. Even the pups have had their personal visit from the vet to make sure their passports are all in order 🙂

  5. I knew I should have brought more besan back with me from Mauritius! Can’t believe I cannot get it here, along with 00 flour it seems! The “disadvantages” of living in a small town I guess.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  6. How does everything you show here look so delicious? I will have to look out for this flour next time I am in Birmingham (lots of more ‘difficult to find’ ingredients are easy there with its fabulous mixed population!)
    Safe journey, and enjoy the party 🙂

  7. I haven’t had socca since last in Nice and have never made it…must give it a try. Have a wonderful time in England enjoying the last of summer. 🙂

    1. I don’t think I had ever tried them but the sound of them really appealed and I’m so glad I’ve now “discovered” them! Looking forward to our trip (just taking a little break from getting organised) and I think the weather is going to be lovely 🙂

    1. The prawns are in another (Spanish) recipe Tortillitas de Camarones which uses chick pea flour as the base for a batter and teeny tiny prawns about the size of the white of a fingernail which are used whole in their tiny soft shells with parsley and garlic. So…a little different from socca but they share a similar base with the flour 🙂 Will have to post a recipe for the Tortillitas soon!

  8. I had no idea chickpea flour existed! It sounds fantastic, as I’ve been wanting to find a way to make wheat-less tortillas (the Latin American kind). Do they sell garbanzo flour in the U.K. as well?

    Happy anniversary to your parents, and enjoy the English summer with your family! 🙂 The weather here’s been glorious! Even this California gal is happy 😉

    1. Michi – is that you?! Hope all is well with you and D-Man! Chickpea flour is easy to buy in England as it is used a lot in Indian cooking – it’s called gram flour here. We’re here in England now and enjoying time with the family 🙂 Do let us know your news….

      1. Hi! 🙂 Yes, it’s me! I’ve moved over to a new domain since my last one was hacked into. I’m grabbing this one with both hands this time!

        Thank you! Gram flour – I’ll look for it.

        D-Man and I have just moved again. We’ve been in Cambridge two weeks now! Are you and Big Man nearby?

      2. How wonderful – and how exciting to be in Cambridge! We’re in Bexhill which is a little seaside town on the south coast, so a good few hours away from you. We’re here for 2-3 weeks but will be back in the autumn for 3-4 months…maybe one day we’ll meet up! Do hope life is treating you both well 🙂

  9. Oh, these pancakes look yummy and simple enough to make:) Having just visited Rajasthan, I must mention their high use of chickpea flour in Rajathani food, the delightful ‘Gatte’ are chickpea flour dumplings with many uses in curries…It’s is a great gluten-free option!

  10. Ooooo I always have chick pea flour in, as you say for Indian dishes, now I have an excuse to try something else and not have to have the oven on 🙂
    safe travlels and hope to see you x

    1. I don’t think it would work as you need a dry flour – perhaps you could grind dried chick peas if you can get them? But it’s always worth trying to puree canned ones and seeing how it turns out!

  11. Sometimes the simpler something is the better it tastes. Have a ball, see you when you decide to return tanned, sozzled and ready to chat 🙂

  12. I have made socca once before, but the recipe was a bit different and I like the looks of yours much better! I will bookmark it and give this a try very soon…have some chickpea flour in the pantry already. The aubergines look amazing, too. Hope you have a lovely trip and an even lovelier celebration with your folks, Tanya!

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