Tag Archives: chickpea flour

Kala Chana

Kala Chana

Chickpeas are one of the unsung heroes of the legume world. (Lentils are the other). Not too terribly exciting, they demurely sit in many a pantry patiently waiting their turn. Often they are destined for hummus, other times in soups and stews. For those lucky few chickpeas, they are presented to the adventurous as besan, and maybe will end up being delicious socca or Burmese tofu. I have been known to make desserts out of them as well 🙂 These beans are taken for granted, often relegated to the sidelines. This doesn’t have to be the case! Enter Kala Chana, the venue for chickpeas to strut their stuff and shine.

Kala chana are actually black chickpeas, which are smaller and more robust than the more common garbanzo bean. I hunted them down in an Indian market, and immediately fell in love. Make no mistake – they’re still a chickpea, but with more texture and thus more presence. They also fool the eyes into thinking they’re more exotic than the garbanzo – think a black bean in garbanzo clothing! To truly appreciate this bean, I first set about finding a recipe that would really let it shine. Using the Internet, my standard Chana Masala recipe, and various other influences, I created this delicious Indian curry that is sure to satisfy all chickpea lovers out there. And convert all the ‘chickpea haters’. There’s more to the chickpea than hummus and a throw in!

This Kala Chana is a spicy Indian curry with a tomato puree base. I love using fresh tomatoes, green chilies, garlic, and onions and pureeing them first to create the curry sauce. I have also used canned tomatoes in the past, with fantastic results. The resulting puree is so fragrant you know it’ll be delicious. The tempering for this dish is cumin-seed based, with some asafoetida for sourness, coriander and turmeric for ‘curry spice’, and garam masala for a more savory taste. The green chilis and the red chili powder pack a punch, making the final product craveable. The besan (double chickpea action!) acts like a thickener, making the curry sauce have a bit more creaminess and ‘oomph’. I served it over greens, but you can be more traditional and serve it with rice and/or your flatbread of choice (Roti or naan make for great scooping vessels!). Hands down this is one of my favourite curry recipes, and one that I will keep going back to time and time again. All hail the chickpea!

 

Kala Chana

1 cup kala chana (dry) *Note: if you don’t have kala chana, substitute dried chickpeas. Just as tasty!

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 green chilis, chopped

1 tbsp. ginger, minced

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

1 tsp. canola oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

⅛ tsp. asafoetida (hing)

1 tbsp. besan (chickpea flour)

1 tbsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. red chili powder

4 cups water + as needed

salt, to taste

fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Directions:

1) Soak kala chana overnight. Rinse and cook until al-dente.

2) In food processor, puree tomatoes, chilis, onion, and garlic.

3) In large pot heat oil on medium-high. Add cumin seeds and sauté until start to sizzle.

4) Add asafoetida and besan. Stir continuously and cook until besan light brown and toasted

5) Add coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and chili powder. Stir.

6) Add tomato puree. Stir and bring to a boil. Let cook until most moisture gone and starts to darken.

7) Add cooked kala chana, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, let simmer 20-30min.

8) Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and flatbread of choice.

 


Burmese Tofu

Burmese tofu is traditionally soy-free, and uses besan (chickpea flour) instead of soy beans. Intrigued, I decided to try it out. With limited recipes to try out, all will different ratios of the same ingredients, I decided to add to the mix another recipe. With just three ingredients you can make your own tofu that is eons better than the purchased soft soy tofu. Once it has set in the fridge, you can use it just as you would any other tofu product. For the first batch, half went to a chocolate mousse recipe that turned out to be like chocolate halva, and the second half was sliced and baked in the oven along with the roasting squash de jour. Both uses were utterly fantastic, and since I have made three more batches of tofu. I don’t know how the same ingredients as for socca can turn out so different, but it’s magical what happens when you whisk the mixture! Impress yourself, impress your friends, and whip up your own tofu!

Burmese Tofu

1½ cup besan (chickpea flour) (Note: Other bean flours may work too!)
4 cups water
pinch of salt

Directions:
1) Grease a 9×13” pan. Set aside
2) In heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together chickpea flour and salt.
3) Slowly add water, whisking continuously to ensure no lumps.
4) Turn burner onto medium-high heat. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens, approx. 7-8min. Mixture should be the consistency of thick pudding.
5) Pour into greased 9×13” pan. Smooth top, and let cool. (Note: Other size pans would be neat! You can shape your tofu to whatever you want!)
6) Chill in fridge for 30min-12h. The longer it chills, the firmer it gets.
7) Cut into slices and use!

Options: use as a soft tofu, in baked goods, in mousse, slice and bake for tofu strips … when used in mousse acts just like silken tofu. To make your own tofu strips, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place tofu strips on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with seasonings (optional), and bake at 375oF for 20-30min. Remove from oven and enjoy! The outer layer will be crisp and the inside is gloriously creamy. I freeze them for portable snack options.

Step-by-Step Pictures:

                     

1) Whisk together all ingredients

Burmese Tofu1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Continuously whisk on medium-high until reaches consistency of thick pudding (Note the whisk tracks!)

Burmese Tofu2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Pour into 9″x13″ pan and smooth. Let set.

Burmese Tofu - Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Burmese Tofu Sticks, with a sprinkle of black pepper. Yum!

Burmese Tofu Sticks


Veggie Burgers: A Formula

The “Salsa” Veggie Burger

The burger is quite possibly the most recognized American contribution to the culinary scene. McDonalds has done a formidable job infiltrating every corner of the globe, so you can get your McD’s made the exact same way from Japan to Italy to Topeka, Kansas. I am not a fast-food fan, and had my last fast food experience on a Junior High field trip. I have nothing against homemade burgers however, and love them’ deconstructed’ (aka. no bun!).

I have experimented with various permutations and combinations of veggie burger. I’ve changed up the protein (from beans to almonds to sunflower seeds), the grain, how to cook them, what vegetables to add (if any), baked vs. pan cooked … you name it, I’ve tried it. I came across this burger recipe and am now convinced that it is the best burger recipe to date. Unaltered it results in delicious curry burgers, but it’s easily customizable to whatever mood you’re in. Above is this recipe tweaked for a “salsa” burger. I’ve also used this as a base for beet burgers, zucchini burgers, and lentil burgers – all delicious! The recipe can be found on Food Network Canada here: Boon Burger’s Buddah PattyIt is compliments of Boon Burger, a restaurant in Winnipeg, Canada which serves the best vegan burgers I have ever had. The restaurant was featured on Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, which is the Canadian version of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. If you are ever in Winnipeg, be sure to check out Boon Burger. But until then, satisfy your burger craving with this toothsome, filling patty that surpasses all others!

Tips to Change Flavours:

The Legume: You can use whatever cooked bean you wish in this recipe. Black beans lend a more ‘southern’ flair; lentils and black-eyed peas are a neutral background that let your other flavours shine through; chickpeas add a middle-eastern or Indian flair; edamame for an Asian burger; or you could substitute the beans for the same volume of mushroom/walnut/almond meal!

The Vegetables: The best way to add vegetables to burgers is to grate them first. Squeeze out any excess water if they are particularly watery, like zucchini. Vegetables that I have had amazing success with include beets, carrots, zucchini, squash (butternut or acorn), sweet potato, or diced mushrooms.

The Binder: If tomato paste doesn’t match your spice flavour profile, tahini, 1-2 tbsp. chickpea flour, or more beans/grains also work. The binder helps hold the burger together, but I have found that if you use the food processing technique in this recipe the burgers hold well with or without the binder.

The Grains: Rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, barley, bulgur wheat … really any grain you want! Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Instead of potato flakes/bread crumbs, I usually increase the amount of grain and add 1/4 cup cornmeal or sprouted grains. The cornmeal/sprouts helps act as a binder while giving the burger a bit of texture.

The Seasonings: Season to your mood! Put in as much or as little as you want. These burgers are infinitely adaptable, so whatever strikes your fancy just throw it in! I really like the combination of thyme and beets, chili spices with black beans, curry spices with lentils/chickpeas and carrots, wasabi ginger burgers with edamame, and fresh herbs with zucchini. That’s the beauty of food processor recipes – virtually everything tastes delicious!

These burgers freeze really well, and don’t turn crumbly when you reheat them. They are excellent hand-held on-the-go meals, sure to satisfy your appetite for a while. If the thought of eating a patty straight doesn’t appeal to you, instead of forming burgers spread the burger mixture on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and top with standard pizza toppings. Bake the ‘pizza’ to the burger specifications, and now you have portable all-dressed burgers! So get creative and enjoy these burgers!

Note: Above I have the “salsa” burger with black beans, tomato paste, cornmeal, and chili spices. I served it over a fresh salsa salad, made of diced tomatoes, green bell pepper, jalapeno, and chopped cilantro sprinkled with lime juice. Delicious!


Fusion Pizza: Sweet Potato Crust with Kale and Vegetable Curry

The Moroccan Fusion Pizza was such a success I decided to create another fusion pizza! I had some sweet potatoes that had been languishing in the fridge for too long, and were begging to be used before they became a new life form. I remembered reading a recipe for sweet potato biscuits, so I decided that if you could make biscuits out of sweet potatoes, you can make pizza dough! This thought process led me immediately to crunchy kale, because nothing goes better with sweet potatoes than kale. (Except maybe black beans). Unfortunately for my fridge, I had stocked for my original weekend plan of Vegetable Curry, and now with the change of plans those vegetables were looking forlorn and forgotten. So I made the curry anyway, and topped the pizza creation with a nice spicy, saucy, vegetable curry. The result? Fantastic! These fusion pizzas are the way to go! Unexpected flavours when you say the word ‘pizza’, these heavily topped flatbreads are mouth-wateringly delicious. And as an extra bonus, you will have curry leftovers for lunch the next day.

For the vegetable curry topping, I used this vegetable curry recipe. It is very quick to throw together, and I found the idea of making a fresh tomato puree sauce unique. The tomato puree sauce is a new culinary trick that I will keep in my back pocket for other opportunities – it would make a great salad dressing, dipping sauce, or even a cold soup like gazpacho! For the vegetables I used all leftover and forlorn veg in my fridge. This version had extra cauliflower, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and carrots. I added broccoli to the mix, because slightly charred broccoli is perhaps more delicious than slightly charred kale. But only slightly. The curry was delicious on its own, with layers of flavours reminiscent of Northern Indian curries with a nice kick at the end. The only improvement I would make would be to add some red lentils to simmer with the tomato puree sauce for extra creaminess and a bit of protein. 

As the curry already had a tomato sauce, I skipped the sauce step of the ‘flatbread + sauce + toppings’ formula of a pizza. Instead, after baking the crust I lined the base with a healthy amount of kale, and then added a mound of curry. This technique was excellent and far exceeded expectations. The kale near the edge of the pizza turned nice and crispy, and the centre pieces became soft and marinated with that delicious curry flavour! The crust itself was one of the best I have ever had. The dough is quite sticky, and parchment paper here is worth its weight in gold. The crust comes out still soft with some crispy edges, and is almost nutty in flavour, thanks to the quinoa flour. It would be delicious on its own as a flatbread, focaccia, or even baked a bit more for some breadsticks used for dipping vessels! Plus, it’s orange. Who doesn’t like coloured food? With the kale and curry topping, it is one of the prettiest pizzas I have ever made!

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, cooled (approx. 1 large sweet potato)
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup spelt flour (chickpea flour or more quinoa flour would also be delicious!)
1 tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
1) In large bowl, mix all ingredients together
2) Spread onto parchment lined cookie sheet
3) Bake at 400 dF for 10 min.
4) Allow to cool slightly, then add toppings.

5) Once pizza topped, bake in oven 20 min. Allow to cool slightly.
Slice and serve!

Bet you can’t eat just one!

 


Fusion Pizza: Chickpea Flatbread with Moroccan Curried Tomatoes

Pizza. A simple concept of a base, a sauce, and toppings. Fiercely debated as to who invented the dish as we know it (the Italians vs. the USA), the definition becomes hazy when authenticity is claimed. I do not claim any of my pizzas to be authentic, and believe that the base can be a tortilla shell, the sauce a spinach-asparagus puree, and toppings from artichokes to that carrot that has been in your crisper for an unknown amount of time. From fancy to clean-out-the-fridge, it’s all pizza to me!

This creation I am calling Moroccan Pizza. It is based off of two recipes in the Millennium Cookbook by Eric Tucker, which is very quickly rising to challenge Veganomicon as the standby cookbook of choice. The crust is the Chickpea Flatbread (page 7), and the topping is the filling for the Moroccan Filo Crescents (page 114-116). The Chickpea Flatbread was extremely easy to prepare and was quite tasty by itself. It would make a great addition to a hummus and baba ghanouj platter, easily rising to the challenge of a dipping vessel! The texture of the flatbread was slightly rubbery however, which although tasty I don’t know if I would eat it alone. The Filo Crescent filling was definitely the star. The Curried Tomato Sauce is nothing short of genius, and the chickpea flatbread soaked up the wonderful flavours to savoury perfection, without becoming mushy! The additional filling is a tagine of eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. Gloriously paired with the curried tomatoes, this pizza was a sure-fire winner. (The Filo dish is the image on the front cover, so you know it must be a star of the book!). The best description I could give is the best curried eggplant-tomato tagine you have ever had, with the pita bread already soaked with the flavours while maintaining its function as a utensil. Delicious down to the last bite, this pizza – and its components – are all now favourites!

Like other Millennium recipes I have reviewed, you can use the Google Book Preview to scroll to the Chickpea Flatbread (page 7) and Moroccan Filo Crescents (page 114-116) recipes. To cook the pizza, I made the flatbread, and allowed it to cool. To help with the flavour saturation, I stabbed the top with a fork a couple of times before topping with the curried tomato sauce and the tagine. I then baked it at 400 dF for 20 min. Enjoy your Moroccan Pizza experience!


Injera Adventures

Stack of injera!

For my Ethiopian Feast I went all out – including making my own Injera. Google quickly told me that injera should be fermented, and is traditionally made with teff flour. Apparently in North America the starter is often a mixture of teff and wheat flour, which is not the classic method. More Google searches quickly eliminated many of the injera recipes that didn’t involve fermenting the starter or used wheat flour. Finally, I stumbled upon this recipe: http://chefinyou.com/2010/02/ethiopian-injera-recipe/.

I followed the directions almost exactly, and the injera turned out fantastic! I find it amusing that you have to ‘feed’ the starter and if everybody knew that fermenting starters made your apartment smell like a brewery everybody would be doing it! I made some minor adjustments at the end, because I ran out of teff flour. My Cole’s Notes method is below:

Day 0 – In a bowl, mix 3/4c. water, 1/2c. teff flour, 1/8t. active yeast

The injera adventure begins!

Day 3 – Stir and feed the starter 1/2c. water, 1/3c. teff flour. The kitchen should start to smell like a brewery!

Pre-feeding

Post-feeding

Day 5 (right before bed) – Stir and feed the starter 1/2c. water, 1/3c. teff flour. Almost done waiting!

Pre-feeding

Post-feeding

Day 6 (VERY early in the morning) – Using 1c. of the starter (I had 2.5c. total), feed the starter:

Pre-feeding

7c. water

4.5c. teff flour

1.5c. chickpea flour (besan)

1c. buckwheat flour

1t. salt

Post-feeding ... almost there!

Day 6 (6h ish after feeding) – Cook the injera! I used my biggest fry pan (~20cm diameter) and 1/3c. of batter for each injera, for a total of 33 injeras. The cooking instructions in the recipe are fantastic!

After final ferment - ready to cook!

I thought these injeras were better than those in restaurants. The ones in restaurants are good only as a scooping tool, and don’t taste great by themselves. Not only are these injeras fantastic scooping tools and compliment the dishes, but they also taste great by themselves! They also freeze great, making future Ethiopian feasts easier!


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