Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chickpea Fritters

So good i wonder why i am not making it more often.
I told you already about pakoras and here i go again with fritters. Though the procedure is a bit different here because the chickpea flour has to be cooked before making the fritters.
In Italy the recipes with chickpea flour are localized mainly in Sicily and Liguria, that i know.
Does Portofino ring a bell with you? Near by you get Farinata. In Palermo instead you find Panelle. They are almost same. Today i made Panelle, maybe not the classic recipe but my version of chickpea fritters.
Chickpea/garbanzo flour, called besan here, is also a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine.

  • Chickpea flour - 200 g
  • Water - 600 g
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of Soda Bicarbonate [Baking Soda]
  • Minced parsley or fennel seeds [optional]
  • lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil

    Make a fluid batter with chickpea flour, stirring in water while whisking to break lumps. Then add salt, pepper and soda bicarbonate. I always make the batter several hours before cooking and i keep it out of the fridge.

    1. Place the batter in a large nonstick pan on low heat and go on whisking and stirring until it gets thick and without lumps (not so easy). It may takes ten to fifteen minutes. Towards the end add the minced parsley o fennel seeds.
    2. Spread it on a dish or on a clean marble/wood surface, as thin as possible [though mine was rather thick] and let it cool. Spreading thin was not easy, but anyway the thickness is also good.  As alternative you can pour the batter into a square wet tupperware, wet because it will be easier to unmold when cool and firm.
    3. Cut into very thin squares [the traditional Panelle shape] and deep fry both sides until golden brown. I actually do shallow fry in hot extra virgin olive oil and i am happy with the result.
    4. Place the fritters into white soft bread with a squeeze of lemon, i mean make a sandwich because this is the best way [the only way] to appreciate the taste. 
    Mafalda, a sicilian type of bread, is the proper one, but baguette could be also a choice close to perfection. Please do not eat without bread, at least try it once with a soft white bread. I love to break rules but not this one about bread and panelle [pane e panelle].

    I can't say these are traditional Panelle, but for sure i am going to make them more often. I don't even drain the excess oil on paper towels, somehow they need to be greasy to taste better with the bread.


    1. they look really great, unfortunately I don't like the chickpea flour taste : (

    2. Really? not even Farinata, the real one in Savona?

    3. I like I like I like very much ... mmmmmmmmm

    4. I truly liked only the wheat flour one! : )

    5. Okidoky baby, well, at least "i" get something here that's highly available, cheap [except for the oil] and just right for my teeth.

      Enrica ma tu le hai mai fatte le panelle? Credo che tu ti riferisca alla Farinata che ti piace tanto, ne?

    6. looks good
      will try it on a rainy day
      too hot for fried stuff just now for me
      i'm wondering if you could also make 'em sweet for a change

    7. Just the idea makes me gasp in horror like dressing spaghetti with tomato ketchup and grated milk chocolate. You know i don't have a sweet tooth.
      But yes of course you can, in fact in India you get Besan Laddu - Puran Poli - Sonpapadi - Mysore Pak - Besan ki Burfi, and i am sure much more, all with besan as the main ingredient.
      But then i would fry them with ghee, adding cardamom for the Indian version and cinnamon for the Italian.

    8. Exactly, Chamki, I thought of a sweet alternative because we do a lot of sweet stuff with roasted besan
      n of course then one would use ghee n cardomom/cinnamon etc
      but use your recipe process

    9. I am sure the amount of ghee will be so much less if you use the panelle recipe.
      Good, when are you making them?

    10. in the monsoon? no thanks, not again, i already made it today and i have to say that my first reaction was so right. My brain was screaming no no no and there was a reason.
      Once my maid was wondering if green chili can be added to basil pesto and i said no, it will destroy the taste, now you are wondering about sweet panelle and that is basically the same thing.
      The fact that today my Indian guest liked the sweet panelle doesn't make them good.
      I was supposed to get squids today and i got nothing, the sweet was so much worse than nothing, i go to celebrate nothingness.

    11. ha ha ha Chamki Chamki Chamki
      Ah the sweet panelle way to nothingness, wonderful
      I celebrate too, now no need to cook panelle in monsoon, heh heh



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