chickpea chips

OK these may not be entirely healthy (deep-frying anything is usually a bad idea), but if you’re craving something crispy, hot, salty and satisfying, then these are slightly healthier than deep fried potatoes and require no peeling!

Gram flour is also known as besan, or chickpea flour, and can be found in most big supermarkets in the “World Foods” aisle.  If you’re lucky enough to live near an Asian supermarket you’re sure to find it there.

Mix one mugful of gram flour with two mugs of cold water in a saucepan. Stir it over a low heat until it turns into a kind of thick custardy paste (a bit like polenta).  Pour it into a 7 inch square cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, and level it off. You’re looking to get the paste to a thickness of about 1cm.  Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature and cut it into chip shapes – experiment with different thicknesses.  When we did this, there was a 50/50 split between those who liked the fat chips and those who liked the thinner fries.

Heat some neutral tasting oil (sunflower, rapeseed or groundnut) in a deep pan so that the oil is about 5cm deep and there’s at least double that of empty space in the pan above the surface of the oil.  Deep frying is dangerous so you need to minimise the effects of hot oil splashing around.  Carefully lower a few of the chickpea chips into the hot oil – if it bubbles vigorously then it’s the right temperature.  Fry the chips until they take on a golden brown tinge. Don’t overload the pan as this will lower the oil temperature and the chips will absorb more oil.  It’s better to do this in a few batches.  Use a slotted spoon to fish out the cooked chips and drain them really well on kitchen paper. A sprinkle of salt and pepper is really all you need, but you could gild the lily by offering a spicy dip on the side!

These chips, made as above, are vegan. Gram flour is normally gluten-free, and has a higher proportion of protein than other flours.

The link below has nothing to do with gram flour or chips but will feed your soul.

GNU Terry Pratchett

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Savoury pancakes with spinach and mushrooms

Another experiment from Morgan, and a very successful one. We tried it with a spinach/mushroom filling but there are plenty of other possibilities.  Gram flour is higher in protein than wheatflour and is gluten free.  This recipe feeds 4 for a light lunch , served with a side salad.

  • 250g gram flour (flour made from chickpeas – available in most big supermarkets or Asian supermarkets)
  • 500ml cold water
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 small red chili, finely chopped
  • small handful finely chopped coriander (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • veg oil

Sieve the flour into a bowl and slowly pour in the water, whisking all the time.  Make sure the batter is free of lumps before adding all the other ingredients and mixing well.

Heat about 1 tsp veg oil in a medium sized frying pan for about a minute.  Add a small ladleful of the pancake mixture, move it about the bottom of the pan until the base is covered. When the pancake begins to bubble and set slightly on the top, flip it over carefully and cook it until the whole thing is golden. Turn out the pancake onto a warmed plate and repeat with the rest of the mixture until it is all used up.

Filling:

  • 2 big handfuls of mushrooms ( we used frozen mixed mushrooms but fresh would be even better)
  • 2cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach (again we used frozen, but fresh would also work)
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • Grated cheese, preferably a strong flavoured hard cheese like mature cheddar or Old Amsterdam
  • Black pepper

Put the mushrooms and spinach into a pan over a low heat until they are all defrosted and heated through. If necessary drain off the water.  Add in 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche, the crushed garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Keep cooking over a low heat until it’s all bubbling together.  Season with pepper (you may not need salt as you’ll be adding grated cheese).  Spoon the hot filling over the pancake and then sprinkle with a good amount of grated cheese so it melts a bit over the filling.