Fainá (Chickpea Flour Pancake) with Provolone Cheese

This twice-baked cheesy chickpea pancake becomes lightly crispy after a quick pass under the broiler.

Fainá (Chickpea Flour Pancake) with Provolone Cheese

William Hereford

Active Time:
20 mins
Stand Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 55 mins
6 to 8 servings

Fainá is a savory chickpea flour pancake that originated in Italy, but is popular in Argentina, where this recipe is from. In this recipe for Fainá with Provolone Cheese, a cheesy version of the chickpea flour pancake from the Buenos Aires restaurant El Preferido, the Fainá is twice-baked to achieve the perfect texture: a crispy top and tender, custard-like center.

The foundation to this dish is the chickpea flour-based batter. It is prepared by whisking together chickpea flour, salt, water, sunflower oil, and olive oil and letting it rest so that the flour fully hydrates. At El Preferido, they sometimes incorporate the Indian spice blend garam masala and pimentón (dried, ground chile peppers), which can be added to taste if desired. But if you prefer a milder flavor, the pancake is just as tasty without the added spices. After the batter rests, it is mixed with shredded provolone cheese and baked in a cast-iron skillet until just set. Then just broil pancakes wedges to achieve the crispy cheese crust.


  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (about 6 ounces) (see Note)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 cups water, divided

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 7 ounces provolone cheese, shredded (about 1 3/4 cups)

  • Garam masala and pimentón, to taste (optional)


  1. Whisk together chickpea flour and salt in a medium bowl, and gradually whisk in 1 cup water, whisking until mixture is completely smooth. Whisk in remaining 1 cup water, sunflower oil, and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil until well combined and a thin batter forms. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let batter stand at room temperature 4 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in top third position. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet; swirl to coat bottom and sides of pan. Whisk cheese into chickpea batter, and pour into prepared skillet. Bake in preheated oven until just set and mixture no longer jiggles in the center, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 20 minutes, allowing fainá to continue to set.

  3. Increase oven temperature to broil. Cut fainá into wedges, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil fainá until browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with garam masala and pimentón to taste, if desired. Serve immediately.

To make ahead

Fainá can be prepared through step 2 up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. To serve, let fainá stand at room temperature 30 minutes, then proceed with step 3.


Chickpea flour, sometimes labeled garbanzo bean flour or besan, is made from dried ground chickpeas and can be found at most grocery stores.

Suggested pairing

Floral, lively Argentinean white: Dos Minas Torrontés

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