chickpea flour

This recipe comes from “Plenty” by our new favorite cookbook author, Yotam Ottolenghi. He writes that a good friend first cooked this delightful dish for him as a variation of pissaladière using “socca” dough for the base, a chickpea flour based creation. Like all the pics in the book, the one for this was so mouth watering that I couldn’t resist trying it.

socca fresh from oven with tomatoes and onions

socca fresh from oven with tomatoes and onions

To me, the socca was a lot like pancake batter. So it was really easy to use. The little cakes firm up a lot more than buttermilk flapjacks though. I was able to make six large cakes but didn’t have enough tomatoes for the topping. The recipe calls for 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes. I think three or four cups are really needed; or perhaps reducing the batter ingredients in half would work, too.

Ottolenghi's socca with tomatoes, onions and sweet pepper garnish

Ottolenghi's socca with tomatoes, onions and sweet pepper garnish

Ottolenghi’s socca with tomatoes and onions

3 to 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
5½+ tbsps. Olive oil
3 medium white onions, cut into thin rings
2 tbsps. Fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper
½ tsp white wine vinegar
1¾ cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
2 egg whites
sautéed sweet peppers for garnish

Preheat oven to 275F.

Spread tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil. Roast in oven about 30 minutes to slightly cook. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add 4 tablespoons olive oil, onion rings, thyme, some salt and pepper in a large pan. Sauté on medium high for about 20 minutes until onions become translucent and somewhat golden in color. This took longer for me than Yotam indicated. When finished, add vinegar, adjust seasonings and reserve.

Place chickpea flour, water, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt and some black pepper in a bowl. Whisk together. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Fold flour mixture into eggs.

Raise oven temp to 325F.

Line some baking trays with wax paper. Brush with olive oil. In a small frying pan, add a bit more olive oil and some batter. Cook about three minutes on a side at medium heat. Once both sides are done, place on prepared baking sheet. When all cakes are done, bake for five minutes.

To serve, divide onions evenly between cakes then top with roasted tomatoes. Drizzle with more olive oil. Add some sweet peppers as garnish.

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chickpea falafel

by Stevie on January 14, 2011

I was so proud of myself after successfully making this chickpea falafel. (Is that plural or singular? Do you say “falafels” or “falafel” if you’re referring to more than one of these savory balls of goodness or what? Maybe it is like the word “shrimp?”) Falafel is something that I’ve eaten often and really enjoyed.

chickpea falafel

chickpea falafel

There was this great hole-in-the-wall place in the East Village in New York called “Damascus Falafel” that made these incredible falafel sandwiches called, you guessed it, “Damascus Falafel” that had a few of these lovely balls tossed together with tabuli salad, hummus, baba ghanoush, olives, preserved peppers, feta, tahini dressing all wrapped together in an oversized pita bread. It was wonderful!!!

Making them from scratch seemed like a whole different thing. I used the recipe in Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey. Najmieh says that falafel is/are originally from Egypt, which I didn’t know. I would have guessed… Damascus? Joumana from T of B agrees though her account makes the attribution sound less than certain.

Silk Road Cooking describes two kinds of falafel: those made of fava and those from chickpea. Supposedly the priests refused to eat those from chickpea and would only dine on the ones made of fava. That’s news to me as I thought that they were all with chickpea. But that’s just more of my falafel naivety. In fact, T of B just published an exciting version with green beans. Her other version has a mix of fava and chickpea.

Here is another recipe, and another, and one more.

chickpea falafel

2 cups chickpeas (dried that I rehydrated)
1 cup roasted chickpea flour
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp tahini
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coriander (I didn’t have this so left it out)
1 tsp cumin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fresh dill and/or cilantro

oil for frying
sesame seeds

Place everything except frying oil and sesame seeds in food processor. Pulse until you get a paste. Pour falafel mix into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to a day.

When you’re ready to make the falafel, heat oil in a deep pan. Shape falafel into walnut-sized balls. If the dough is too soft, add more chickpea flour (I had to). Roll balls in sesame seeds. Press them into rounds. Gently place in frying oil and cook about three minutes per side. Remove form oil and let drain in a dish covered with paper towels.

Serve with hummus, baba ghanoush, yoghurt sauce or however you want. I made a lot so froze and re-heated them in the over later. They were perfect.

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