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Did you know that chickpeas were one of the earliest cultivated vegetables? Like 7500 years ago. That would be 5491 BC. That is a long f’ing time ago.
I like chickpeas. They are healthy and high in protein, so I try to eat them in salads and stuff like that. I probably consume most of my chickpeas in the form of hummus, which is totally delicious.
However, the ladies over at Recipes to Rival told me that this month I would be deep frying chickpeas. Falafel and chickpea fries. Okay, twist my arm.
I generally try to avoid fried foods. I like to save my fried food intake for particular things that I know I love and will be worth the fat and possible belly ache that I get from too much fried stuff. A fried fish sandwich from a stand near Nick’s childhood home in PA, homemade French fries, good tempura, or fresh yeast doughnuts are all evil temptresses to me. I usually give in to them.
I debated baking these falafel and chickpea fries, but decided to just do it up right and deep fry. It had been a while since we deep fried anything anyway.
Let’s start with the chickpea fries. They have been making the blog rounds since Mark Bittman posted about them a few months ago. They are made using garbanzo bean flour. I found a bag at Whole Foods from Bob’s Red Mill. They are super easy to make. You boil water, add the flour, olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you want. It cooks up really fast and turns into something similar to the consistency of polenta. Then I just spread it out in a 9 x 13 baking dish and stuck it in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
Cut and fry. We actually made these twice. The first time we cut them pretty thick, but the second time we cut them more along the lines of a traditional French fry. I liked the thinner cut better.
These fried up nicely and were quite good. Nick nailed it when he said that they tasted like chicken nuggets. He is so right. I guarantee that if you have a bag of chicken nuggets in your freezer and you look at the ingredient list, there will be garbanzo flour or something of that ilk listed. I didn’t really think that they tasted much like an actual chickpea.
The verdict on the fries: We liked them, but they are no replacement for real potato French fries.
Onto the falafel. This was the first time I ever made falafel. I like falafel, but it is one of those fried things that I usually deem not worth the time I will have to spend burning them off at the gym. I realize that this may be because I do not have a place where the falafel is to die for. Perhaps if I find such a place, they will join the ranks of the fried fish sandwich and doughnuts.
I was surprised at how simple the ingredient list was for this as far as flavorings - onions, garlic, cumin, and coriander. I halved the recipe that was given and it still made a ton! I could have quartered it and it would have been more than enough. I did add extra of the cumin and coriander because I thought that the mixture was a bit bland.
Also, the recipe does indicate to roll the falafel balls into walnut sized pieces. For some reason I ignored that. Luckily we did a test fry of a few that came out a bit raw in the center. So I resized. If you make these, or any falafel, just remember this: small balls. AHAHAHA. I crack myself up.
These fried up beautifully and quickly and stayed together no problem. I think they look like pretty authentic falafel balls, and they were also tasty. We were going to make sandwiches out of them, but we had a little bit of a pita disaster, so that ended up being a no go.
I don’t think this is something that I will make again, but I am glad I tried it out and added it to my list of kitchen adventures.
At the very least I am glad I made these because it forced me to buy dried chickpeas. I have always been too lazy to make hummus out of dried chickpeas, but now that I have a whole jar full leftover I am going to have to. Provided that I can ever remember to soak them the night before. Stay tuned for that.
I will put up the link to the recipes I used once the lovely gals at R2R post it.