Before I get to this recipe, I just wanted to give you all a head's up for next week - since Canadian Thansgiving is coming up very soon (next weekend!), my sister Natalie (from Once Upon a Cutting Board) and I both decided to dedicate our blogs to Thanksgiving all week! So be sure to keep visiting so that you can get new recipes every day leading up to Thanksgiving, starting this Sunday!
Now on to these chickpea fries...I'm pretty excited to share this recipe today because it's one of my favourite recipes out of all the cookbooks I own. It comes from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection, and with a title that I didn't understand ("Chickpea Panisse") and no picture to go along with it, I'm surprised that I didn't just pass over the recipe when I first read through the cookbook. But now I'm so glad that I gave it a try, and it has become one of the few recipes that I've actually made multiple times.
The only downside of the recipe is that you have to stir the batter constantly for about 10 minutes while cooking, so your arms will be very sore by the time you're done! But I try to tell myself that not only is the end result worth the work, but I also managed to fit in a workout while making it!
Other than the constant stirring, these are actually pretty easy to make and require very few ingredients - they're basically just made of chickpea flour. I also try to "fry" these in as little oil as possible, to keep them fairly healthy.
If you haven't heard of chickpea flour (also called besan, gram flour or garbanzo flour) you can find it at bulk food stores (I buy it from Bulk Barn), at natural foods stores, Indian markets and even in many grocery stores - check the organic or gluten-free section.
Chickpea flour has a slightly nutty taste, since it's made from ground chickpeas. I love the taste so much that I could eat these fries plain, but they are made even better when covered in salt and pepper. I also like to dip them in spicy ketchup (pictured above), which I make by mixing regular ketchup with some chili powder and a bit of curry paste. If you like mayonnaise-based dips, you could also eat these with a curried mayo dip (which is what the cookbook suggests).
Adapted from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection
1 cup water
2-3 tbsp olive oil, divided
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp chickpea flour
Heat the water, 1 tbsp of the olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Heat until the water is hot but not quite simmering.
Reduce heat to medium. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly. Continue to whisk constantly for 2 minutes, then switch to a wooden spoon and cook for 8-10 more minutes, stirring constantly. Scrape down the sides of the saucepan occasionally as you stir. The batter will gradually get thicker and will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and clump together. Once it is very thick and can hold its shape, remove the pan from the heat.
Scrape the batter into a greased square cake pan or loaf pan (try to work quickly as the batter will begin to set almost immediately). Smooth the top with a spatula. Let the mixture cool for about an hour, until it is completely set.
Once cooled, invert the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the batter into 1/3 inch wide sticks (like french fries).
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sticks to the pan and fry for about 5-6 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until they are crisp and golden. (The amount here will fit into one skillet, but if you are making a larger amount, you will need to cook them in batches, keeping the finished fries warm while you cook the rest).
Transfer onto a paper towel to remove any extra oil. Serve with lots of additional salt and pepper, and ketchup or another dipping sauce if desired.
Makes 1 serving.
Note: This recipe makes the amount shown above, which is perfect for me as a light meal. It could also serve 2 as a side dish, or you could easily increase the recipe amounts to serve more people.
These would also make a great side dish to serve with these beet-chickpea sliders, or these spinach tofu patties!