Chickpea Fries

Thursday, Jun 2 2011 Cooking!

You might have had roasted chickpeas before, but have you had chickpea fries? I discovered these tasty morsels at my favorite food cart down the street, Garden State, where they are served flecked with parsley and garnished with lemon wedges. I was shocked to encounter a food item that seemed like a novelty, was also delicious, and was something I had never heard of! These fit nicely into a food novelty category known as “foods shaped like other foods.” These foods have gotten a bad rap, but I’m all for them. They represent ingenuity and invention—and besides, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Chickpea fries are crispy on the outside and creamy-starchy on the inside, just like a really good french fry. They have a slight bean-y flavor, but pleasantly so, and are a great substitute for french fries—garbanzos are loaded with protein and fiber and a great source of iron. Having made them at home, I can say they are delicious, but even better if you go the extra step to actually deep fry them. So if you have a fry daddy, fire it up for these.

Chickpea Fries adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

1 cup chickpea flour, sifted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
grapeseed oil for frying

1. Place a square of parchment to cover the bottom of a baking sheet and set aside. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Gradually add the chickpea flour, with a large pinch of salt and pepper, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce to a gentle bubble, stir in the olive oil, and cook for just a minute, whisking to get out lumps. (If, like mine, your flour refuses to combine into a smooth paste, run it through your blender or food processor for 30 seconds, or long enough to smooth out the lumps.)

2. Scoop the chickpea mixture onto the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Let cool for a few minutes and then cover loosely with parchment or plastic. Refrigerate until chilled through, about 30 minutes (but up to a day, covered tightly after it’s completely cool).

3. Heat at least 1/8 inch of oil (1/4 inch is better) in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, cut the chickpea mixture into 1/2-inch fries. Add batches of fries to the hot oil, gently rotating them for even cooking and browning on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Drain the fries on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt, lots of pepper, and a sprinkling of finely minced parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges or a dipping sauce (I recommend harissa aioli).