Zucchini Pancakes with Sweet & Spicy Tomato Sauce

An unexpected power cut for the entire day- the same day when I had scheduled for making these pancakes, made it extremely challenging for me to make them and then photograph them before the daylight was gone. Power cuts are not a very common thing in Pondicherry (my current base), so we don’t have any backup for that. SO, I was stuck in a dark kitchen and uncharged camera batteries. BUT it all worked out eventually- by the end of the day I was a happy camper as not only did I get my shots in time the pancakes turned out to be pretty yummy too!

Zucchini Pancake is a pretty common/popular dish and everybody probably has their own family recipe for it- I made my version by introducing some Indian flavors and by serving it with a tomato sauce. I added fresh cilantro leaves in the sauce and coriander powder in pancakes with caramelized onions. The flavors really blended well with the zucchini and feta. I also added some carrots to make the pancakes a little sweeter.

However, the star of the day was Harissa! I made the Harissa sauce a few days in advance and stored it in jar in the fridge. I had made the sauce for this dish in particular but ever since I made it, I’ve been using it to spice up all kind of dishes. It has this nice smokey flavor and it does a really good job in spicing up all kinds of sauces and stews. I think its a super handy thing to have in your pantry. Since its a paste of chilies- just a teaspoon of it goes a long way!

I later made this sweet tomato sauce (super fast to make) to go with the pancakes and just added some Harissa to up the heat level. It gives the pancakes such a nice balance and I always like it when you have a contrast of color on your plate.

Serves 4 people (appetizer) 
Cooking time 30 min

Things you will need:
For Harissa Sauce (make in advance and store refrigerated in an airtight jar)
red chilies (grilled and skin peeled)
dried red chilies (stems removed, soaked in hot water for 4 hrs)
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic
olive oil

Put everything in a blender and pulse to form a smooth paste. Pour into the jar and top it with some olive oil. It will stay in your fridge for up-to a week and a half to two.

For Tomato Sauce
4 medium red tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbs jaggery or dark brown sugar
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbs harissa
1 tbs olive oil
handful of fresh cilantro- roughly chopped

In a saucepan heat olive oil, throw in the garlic. let it cook on medium high for 15 seconds the add the cumin seeds- cook for another 15 seconds and add the chopped tomato. Mix everything well, add salt, jaggery, vinegar and harissa… cover and cook on low for about 10 to 12 min- till everything starts to combine together to form a pulp like mixture. Add cilantro and turn the heat off.

For the Pancakes
1 large zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbs butter
2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
oil for frying

In a sauce pan, heat up the butter and stir fry onions till it starts caramelizing. Add the coriander powder to it and cook for another 30 seconds, turn the heat off. Keep aside and let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add grated zucchini, grated carrots, feta cheese, caramelized onions, flour and salt. Mix everything well.
Heat up some oil in a frying pan – you want to shallow fry these pancakes. Cook the pancakes till it turns golden brown on each side. Serve with the tomato sauce.