Monday, 1 June 2009

Chickpea Fries!

This month's Recipes to Rival is all about the chickpea, and why not - it is a pretty healthy and versatile ingredient. Well, maybe not so healthy when we make fries out of it.. but tasty!
Our choice this month was to make chickpea fries and a dip or falafels with (optional) homemade pitas. As I had already made falafels with homemade pitas this month (here), I opted for the fries.
This is one recipe that I didn't expect to turn out, even as I was making it. A porridge of sorts is made on the stove with chickpea flour, then spread out and chilled, then gingerly sliced and fried... and voila! You get fries. Amazing.
They are tasty little fries. The recipe makes for a fair amount of dishes, but it is worth doing at least once, just for the experience of it.

Mark Bittman, How To Cook Everything; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Neutral oil, like grapeseed, corn, for greasing and frying
1 cup chickpea flour, sifted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Grease a baking sheet or pizza pan with a rim and set aside. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Gradually add the chickpea flour with a large pinch of salt and pepper, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce to a gentle bubble, stir int he olive oil and cook for just a minute.

2. Scoop the chickpea mixture onto the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Let cool for a few minutes and then cover loosely with parchment or plastic. Refrigerate until chilled through, about 30 minutes (but up to a day, covered tightly, after it's completely cool).

3. Put 1/8 to 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, cut the chickpea flour mixture into 3 x 1/2- cutter). Gently put batches of the fries into the hot oil, rotating them gently for even cooking and browning on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Drain the fries on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt, lots of pepper and a good dusting of Parmesan if you like. Serve hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

I served the chickpea fries with a simple tartar sauce, the kind that I do to taste.
Into some good quality mayo.. throw some minced shallot, one minced clove of garlic, zest and squeeze of lemon, capers and cornichons, chopped fine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Easy peasy. Add fresh herbs such as parsley or dill, if you wish.