Lazy Black-Eyed Pea Pancakes

by Maria Theresa Maggi on August 25, 2021

I’ve had this book since before I got the diagnosis of MS, so it has to be longer than 25 years. I remember standing in a bookstore chain that no longer exists in the days I was a Laurel’s Kitchen vegetarian and being drawn in by the lovely art and the stories and all the details in the book. I brought it home. And as you can see, I loved it literally to pieces. It is so much in a state of fall-apart that it’s impossible to turn the pages without some of them falling out. It’s no longer a “book” so much as a collection of pages between a loose cover. Though I no longer cook with butter, oil or ghee, I keep it still, primarily to remember the ingredients and process for one of my favorite recipes in it: black eyed pea pancakes.

To continue to eat these pancakes on a low fat whole food plant-based diet, I first had to find a way to cook them without oil. Over the years, I’ve tried rubbing an iron skillet with onion. I tried adding a flax egg to the batter. Each of these strategies worked, kind of. But the real key is using a good nonstick pan.  That way I can be lazy, and not rub a pan over and over with an onion and hope it works, and not add any flax to the batter. The older I get the lazier I get about food prep, or rather, I should say, the less fuss I want to make. For years, I feared skipping the step in the original recipe that instructs the reader-cook to spend time popping at least some of the soaked black-eyed peas out of their translucent jackets. I remember putting some to soak in preparation for a visit from my sister, who is a chef, thinking sitting and popping the black-eyed peas out of their jackets would be a nice relaxing way for us to spend time together. I still laugh about the fact that she exclaimed how “boring” it was, reminding me I am really the only slow miracle gal in my immediate family.

These days, though, I’ve made more bean pancakes, like Plant-Based Cooking Show’s red lentil flatbread, that requires only 3 hours of soaking and not even any draining and rinsing before they get pureed, and that has made me bolder  and more fearless. So now, instead of following the instruction in the original recipe to shuck some of those translucent jackets off the black-eyed peas, I emphasize the sentence following that instruction: “It’s okay if you don’t do them all.” In my ornery old age, I’ve amended that to, “It’s okay if you don’t do any of them.” And you know what? It makes absolutely no difference in the quality or digestibility of these flavorful savory pancakes for me.

I suppose you could top these with vegan yogurt or chutney, but I like them so much I eat them plain right out of the pan. I also like to make a small batch and use them to push my salad and starch around–they go very nice with cooked yellow potatoes or sweet potatoes and dark greens.

So here is a lazy fat free version of one of  Madhur Jaffrey’s classics. If you’re in the market for a savory pancake and you’re too lazy to shuck those translucent jackets and you don’t want to use any oil, I hope you’ll give this a try.


Lazy Low Fat Black-Eyed Pea Pancakes

(in honor and gratitude for the original recipe)

makes 4-6 pancakes

1/2 cup of black eyed peas, soaked overnight

garlic cloves (1 or 2, depending on how much you like garlic, smashed and chopped)

a slice of ginger root, chopped

a piece of jalapeno pepper, chopped (I use just a little)

about 1/3-1/2 cup of water

about 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro

a generous shake of tumeric

a small shake of black pepper

a really really good nonstick pan

Drain and rinse the soaked black-eyed peas. Put the garlic, ginger and jalapeno in the food processor and process into smaller pieces. Add the drained black-eyed peas and process with them until you have a paste. Add the cilantro, the tumeric and pepper and most of the water and process until you get a thick batter.

Remove the batter to a bowl so you can stir it each time if the liquid separates. Heat your awesome non-stick pan on medium heat. When it’s warm enough, spoon about some batter onto the pan and spread it out a little from the center with a spatula or spoon. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes, flipping when it’s done enough for it to come up in one piece on the spatula. Cook for 3 more minutes on the other side. Repeat until you have anywhere from 4-6 pancakes, depending on how big you want to make them.

You can also double this recipe. The original starts with 1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas. That makes a lot of pancakes!

It looks like  World of the East Vegetarian Cooking is still available. If you like traveling to different cultures and regions through reading cookbooks, I highly recommend it. You might end up with your own falling apart copy, as you learn and adapt the recipes.

Maria (moonwatcher)

Leave a Comment

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margaret Evans August 26, 2021 at 9:34 am

so glad that I can read your column.


2 Maria Theresa Maggi August 26, 2021 at 10:19 am

Me too, Marge! Thanks so much xo


3 Olwyn August 27, 2021 at 5:55 am

The picture of Madhur Jaffrey’s book cover brought back so many memories of Laurel’s Kitchen, Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood, Thursday Night Feasts, The Tao of Cooking and Madhur Jaffrey’s book – all still on my cookbook shelf, dogeared, splattered, written in, beloved…. I treasure them… beloved old friends that started me on my path to the whole food plant based lifestyle that has successfully brought me, pain free and healthy into my eighties. I am grateful for all they taught me and helping me through a time when to be vegetarian was difficult, awkward, weird…. thank you for this lovely simple post that brings so many wonderful memories flooding back.


4 Maria Theresa Maggi August 27, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Oh thank you for this lovely comment, Olwyn–you brought back even more memories for me with it! I’m so glad you have made it into your eighties on this healthful path! Win-win, with gratitude for all who inspired us along the way. xo


5 Veronica September 13, 2021 at 11:19 am

These sound delicious! I will have to try them. I love how you’re always able to adapt just about anything. 🙂 Regarding the bean “peeling” – to quote a meme, ain’t nobody got time for that! xo


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