About a month ago, I stumbled upon a tasty looking plate of snacks. Anna had eaten some chickpea fries at some place in America. These chickpea (or garbanzo) fries looked ever so appealing and got me excited. I just knew I wanted to try them. Obviously, I wasn’t going to jump on a plane, book a table and eat out at this place, the next best option for me was to follow the recipe. Unfortunately she did not have the recipe for them, I also learned later that I wasn’t the only one coveting a recipe for them.
I am not the most confident person in the kitchen, but I thought to myself, as a person who has grown up eating and loving various versions of spiced pakora aka onion bhajis (South Asian chickpea flour fritters) surely I should be able to create some in my own tiny kitchen. Well I set about challenging myself a few weeks ago and am delighted to report that they were a resounding and tasty success.
These chickpea chips were a really good. A nice change from the usual potato variety. I would describe these chickpea chips as a cross between the South Asian spiced pakora and the Italian farinata (chickpea pancake). We had them over a few days, on the first day I just baked them in the oven. On another, I deep fried them in sunflower oil. I actually preferred the deep fried ones, they were much more golden, crisp and even better, had crunch. I wouldn’t eat too many of these though as the soft doughy centre could sit heavy on the belly. I would suggest serving these chips or fries with a light green salad and some red onion rings; or even with a vegetarian chilli. You could even slice them into cubes and call them 'chickpea tofu'.
In the above picture, I have accompanied the chickpea chips with a homemade Jalapeno tomato sauce, which literally just took moments to make with a food processor. I have one regret, the way I have presented the chickpea chips here. I've presented this way before, you may remember the polenta chips. It just does not do justice to these tasty chickpea finger snacks.
If your not keen on the spices and herbs I’ve used, please feel free to vary the spices and herbs to your taste, minced fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, garam masala, paprika would all work, maybe even, Mustard powder(?).
Chickpea Chips and Fries
You will need a 11 inch by 7 inch tin
½ litre water
1 teaspoon cumin, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon chilli flaked
1 tablespoon coriander (or parsley), minced
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
150g chickpea flour
Sift the chickpea flour if it is lumpy.
Bring the water to a boil, the reduce the heat and begin whisking in the flour and the spices and salt. Stir continuously over medium heat until the mixture thickens, keep whisking otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook this way until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pot.
Pour the hot mixture into a non-stick or lightly greased tin.
Allow to cool. I baked the slab in the oven for 20 minutes, (You can skip this step if you wish and leave it in the fridge overnight to set, but I didn’t want to risk that just in case it did not set). When set, turn out the chickpea slab onto a chopping board. Cut the chips into whatever size you wish: fat chips or slender fries or 'chickpea tofu' cubes.
For a healthy version, lightly coat with olive oil and bake in oven gas mark 6 for 20 minutes; or for a fast food version, deep fry in sunflower oil, wait until the chickpea chips or fries float to the top, they will turn gold a little. Eat and enjoy immediately. These are best eaten warm.