The UK’s only dual qualified derm and nutritionist has a quirky but nutrient-packed recipe that your skin (and tastebuds) will love

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OK, admittedly these don’t look like your average pancakes, but they pack a nutritional and skin-enhancing punch far greater than the ones you smother with maple syrup. Plus they work equally well for breakfast or lunch.

Green Chickpea Pancakes with Mushrooms and Kimchi are the creation of Dr Thivi Maruthappu, Britain’s only dual-qualified consultant dermatologist and nutritionist. The London doctor has just published her first book, Skin: Your 4-Step Solution To Healthy, Happy Skin (Piatkus, £11.99), which unpicks the links between what we eat and the health of our skin. It’s packed with delicious, nutrient-packed dishes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) for optimal skin health. And, as someone with a busy job and three children, Thivi is big on quick options, which is music to our ears.

So, what’s cooking, Thivi? “Green chickpea pancakes with mushrooms and kimchi are a popular breakfast dish known as besan chilla. They are naturally vegan and made with chickpea flour, which is widely used in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, where it’s often referred to as gram flour. This is my version, stuffed with mushrooms and probiotic-rich kimchi, but sauerkraut is an equally microbe-enhancing alternative. This is a feast for both the taste buds and the gut microbes - gut health and skin health are closely intertwined.”

Green Chickpea Pancakes with Mushrooms and Kimchi

Serves 2 


  • 100g chickpea flour
  • 275ml water
  • A handful of spinach
  • A handful of green herbs (I like coriander) 
  • A pinch of salt 
  • 1 tbsp olive, coconut or avocado oil, plus extra for frying 

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  •  1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 250g mushrooms (I like chestnut), sliced 
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tbsp kimchi per pancake
  • Salt and ground black pepper 


  1. Combine the chickpea flour, water, spinach, herbs, salt and oil in a blender until you have a relatively thin, smooth batter. Leave this to rest for 5 minutes. 
  2. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and then coat the pan with a thin layer of batter. It should take only a minute for the batter to set and its surface to bubble. Flip the pancake and, once cooked through, slide it onto a plate. Repeat this process until you have finished your batter. 
  3. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium to low heat and cook the garlic and mushrooms for 10 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Fill the pancakes with the mushroom mixture, sliced avocado and 1 tbsp kimchi per pancake

Skin Food (Piatkus, £11.99) by Dr Thivi Maruthappu is out now