Quick steamed pea cakes

Quick steamed pea cakes

I Love Curry
4–6, can be halved
Jonathan Gregson

These light, fluffy cakes are a fantastic starter or teatime snack. I serve them with Tangy Herb Chutney but they taste lovely just as they are.There are special deep-sided steel plates or tins which are used in India for this type of steamed cake, but I use two small 15cm baking tins in a double steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, boil water in a wide pan, place a pudding bowl filled with water inside and place the tin on top. (If you do this, don’t use a springform tin, or the water will rise up into the batter.) If you don’t have a double steamer and need to make the recipe in two batches,make the batter up to the point of adding the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, then halve it.Then add half the raising agents to half the batter, cook, and repeat with the remaining batter.

For the pea cakes


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the tins
170g frozen peas, defrosted
5 tablespoons lemon juice
16g fresh root ginger, peeled weight, roughly quartered
2-4 green chillies, stalk removed
140g gram flour
salt, to taste
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the tarka

Quantity Ingredient
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
16 fresh curry leaves


  1. Oil two 15cm steel plates with deep sides, or baking tins. Pour about 7.5cm water into the base of a double steamer or a wide and deep saucepan (see recipe introduction). Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the peas, lemon juice, oil, ginger and chillies to a smooth paste with 120ml water. Stir in the gram flour and salt. Taste to check the seasoning. Stir in the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and divide between the oiled tins. Carefully place them in the steamer, cover and steam on a moderate to high heat for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  3. Remove from the steamer and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the tins and turn the pea cakes out on to a plate.
  4. Heat the oil for the tarka in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. When they are popping well, add the sesame seeds and, once they start to colour, the curry leaves. Stir for five seconds, then spoon evenly over the cakes. Cut the cakes into diamonds, squares or wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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