Chickpea flour, also called besan, is commonly used in India as an alternative to wheat flour to make fritters, dumplings and spicy breads.Plus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips
Preheat the oven to 250°. In a medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour with the salt, fennel seeds, caraway, turmeric, black pepper, crushed red pepper and baking soda. In another bowl, combine the onion, shallot, garlic, chile, cilantro and ginger with the water, then add to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened but still lumpy.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Skim off the foam, then pour the clear melted butter into a measuring cup, stopping when you reach the milky residue.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a very large nonstick skillet. Add scant tablespoonfuls of the batter 1/2 inch apart and cook over moderately high heat until golden on the bottom, 1 minute. Flip the blinis and cook until set, 1 minute longer. Transfer to a large baking sheet in a single layer and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the skillet with butter between batches. Serve with the pineapple relish.