Sunday, February 9, 2014

ChickPea Fritters

Are chickpeas, like Beyonce, over-exposed?

I think they are but deservedly so.  Chickpeas are extremely versatile (again like Beyonce), but then again so are most legumes.  I use chickpeas in several ways:

  • As a dip...aka hummus.
  • As a snack...roasted with cumin and sea salt.
  • In salads.
  • In vegetable stews...kale or collards.
  • And last but not final or least, as a fritter.

I love fritters; corn, salmon, crab, saltfish (bacalao), potato, and of course bean.

Any bean can be made into a fritter.  But that doesn't mean any bean should be made into one. I think black beans, black eye (my people never use the "d" here) peas, and chickpeas are my favorite legumes to use in a fritter.  One thing you should know about really good fritter making; they taste best when fried...OK OK I promise you that I don't eat a ton of fried foods, so every once in a while, I will fry something.  So yeah, back to the fritter...

Chickpea Fritters 

These are a close cousin to the falafel.  My recipe calls for a few ingredients you won't find in  a traditional falafel; namely eggs and arugula (instead of parsley).  I also opt for a more Asian/Indian flavor profile.


Chickpeas - 1 can (if using dried, follow instructions on bag)
Arugula - large handful chopped finely
Egg - 1
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Curry Powder (any kind you like)
Corn MealOil for frying (yes frying...if you want to bake these go right ahead) - try expressed coconut oil

Mash the hell out of the chickpeas in a bowl along with the arugula.  I love mashing them together because you get to see the magic of the oils coming out of the arugula and the mixture starts to turn a gorgeous green.
Once it's the consistency of mashed potatoes, add the egg and spices; including the salt.  Be careful with coarse sea salt ya'll.  If you add too much, you'll be sorry.
Mix in the flour and corn meal last.  What you're trying to achieve here is batter that is "dough-like" but not doughy.  There's a happy medium between the disaster of your mixture falling apart in the hot oil and the unpalatable experience of a biting into a doughy fritter.  SEEK THE HAPPY MEDIUM!!! Hint - if you used more than 2 tablespoons of the flour and 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal, then you went too far.

Things you can add to the batter...
leftover rice
shredded cheese
finely chopped shallots or scallions (sauteed or not)

So once everything is combined and you feel in your heart of hearts that the batter is good (no need for perfection here.  It's just cooking), cover your bowl and let the batter sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  I like to fry batters when they're cold.  I don't know why.  Maybe one of grandmothers is telling me this...

When you're ready, get out your cast iron pan...excuse me?  Did you just murmur that you don't have a cast iron pan?  Well drop everything you're doing and go get one.  They cost like nothing hunny.  I'll wait...

Heat the pan and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan up to maybe a 1/4 of an inch (are you still complaining about me frying this dish? If you are, then feel free to pre-heat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper).

Once the oil is heated (I test by sprinkling a pinch of flour into the oil first), using a soup spoon (where I'm from we call these tablespoons), start scooping out the batter into large quenelle shapes. No need for fanciness here.  I use this term (along with the link) just so you'd have an idea of the shape.  I drop these right from the spoon and into the hot oil then mash them down a bit; gently...gently.  Depending on the size of your pan, fit as much as you like without crowding.  Flip once one side is browned.  When they're ready to take out, I place on paper towels or a rack to eliminate some of the oil.  While they're still hot out of the pan, I sprinkle just the teenie tiniest bit of kosher salt on top.

That's it!! Lemme know how they turn out.

OH!  I forgot!  Sometimes, I make a nice sauce to go on top but that's another blog post.

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