Try Chickpea Flour — You’ll Like It!

panisses

I like experimenting with different ingredients when I cook, so naturally I wanted to try recipes using garbanzo, or chickpea, flour. It’s a nutritional, gluten-free powerhouse loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

You can make the flour yourself if you have a heavy-duty blender such as a Vitamix. Just add some dried garbanzos to your blender, pulse the garbanzos (they will dance around) until they are broken apart, and then blend until they’ve reached flour consistency.

Sift them through a flour sifter or a fine sieve to get the hard little bits that didn’t grind up. You can also find garbanzo flour at some grocery chain stores, Indian or Italian food stores, your local health food store, or online at Amazon. I made my own and also purchased some in the bulk section at a local health food store.

Garbanzo, or chickpea bean, flour has many different names throughout the world. In Indian cuisine, it is called besan when made out of unroasted chickpeas and chana when made of roasted chickpeas. It is called ceci flour in Italy.

I recently purchased Camilla V. Saulsbury’s informative book “The Chickpea Flour Cookbook: Healthy Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Recipes to Power Every Meal of the Day.” Her recipes are easy to make with available ingredients — and delicious!

Camilla was gracious enough to let me use some of her recipes for this blog post. Be sure to buy this beautiful cookbook of Camilla’s!

I decided to make her panisses (chickpea French fries) and chickpea beer bread. My husband and I devoured the panisses, which I chose to fry rather than broil. They were delicious! The beer bread was made using Firestone Union Jack IPA, and you can taste the hops. I’m sure the taste would be different depending on the beer you chose to use. The texture of the bread was light and airy.

panisses2 Panisses (Chickpea French Fries)
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
Olive oil for greasing pan, frying or broiling
1 cup (120 grams) chickpea flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions:

  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square baking pan with olive oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Whisk in 1 cup of the water and the olive oil until blended and smooth.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the batter. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes, until the batter is very thick. Immediately pour and spread it into the prepared pan; use a spatula dipped in warm water to smooth the top.
  4. Cool the mixture to room temperature then place in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 1 hour or for up to 24 hours. Invert it onto a cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch-wide batons.
  5. There are two ways to cook the panisses. To fry them, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot (add a small test piece to skillet; it should bubble immediately), add about a third of the fries, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown; turn them over with tongs or a spatula and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, until deep golden brown. Transfer the fries to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; repeat with the remaining fries, heating more oil in the pan as needed.
  6. Alternatively, to broil the panisses, position the broiler rack in the oven 8 inches from the heat source. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and place it on the rack to preheat, 3 minutes. Using an oven mitt (sheet will be very hot), remove the sheet from the oven. Arrange the panisses on the sheet. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and flip the panisses over with a spatula. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes longer, until the other sides are golden brown.
  7. Season the panisses with salt and pepper and squeeze the lemon wedges over them. Serve hot.

(Note:) In my haste to try these French fries, I forgot to season with the salt and pepper and the lemon! They were delicious served with Traina sun dried tomato ketchup.

chickpeabeerbreadChickpea Beer Bread
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) chickpea flour
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 (12 oz.) bottle beer (gluten-free)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the beer to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 43 to 48 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then release to the rack to cool.

 

Tip:

Do not open the beer until you are ready to mix the batter to avoid any loss of carbonation — the bubbles help to give this yeasty bread its light and airy rise.

 

Note: Camilla has five different variations of the bread in her cookbook and they all look delicious!