did you know that you can bread things with chickpea flour?
india knows it, and they call it gram or besan.
the french know it, and it is called socca.
spain knows it, and it is called garbanzo.
i’m sure other places know it, too.
i just found out.
last night, i used garbanzo flour to make battered and fried cauliflower for a tapas dinner brian and i hosted. i was inspired by a recipe i saw on tastespotting with awesome variations for different regions. unfortunately, i can’t quite find the link to this guy’s original recipe, so i’ll give him anonymous props.
we had our parents over. the menu was pretty awesome, but i gotta say: the star of the show was first and foremost the cauliflower. the crispy batter was full of rich flavor, unlike flavorless wheat flour batters. the batter held up really nicely, both in the pan and after frying. i have experienced many wheat based batters that scatter in the pan, or cook off of the food, or simply pull apart from the food when you try to bite into it. not this stuff. the batter was thick enough to stick to the cauliflower, and fried up really evenly. the cauliflower plays a somewhat neutral role in this recipe, so feel free to substitute carrots, mushrooms, whatever you desire. i think this may even work well for a fish batter.
to follow our “spanish tapas” theme last night, i made a smoky romesco sauce to dip the cauliflower into. i can think of nothing that would accompany the cauliflower than this perfect sauce. a little sweet, a little smoky, a little salty,… just perfect. the almonds are a must, by the way. some make romesco with crusty bread crumbled into the puree, but i prefer the tradition of almonds. they add buttery depth and texture to the sauce.
i am thrilled about this recipe. it has been years since i have had anything battered. i feel like i’ve been let in on a little secret! lucky this is lower in sugar and quite healthier than traditional breading. this opens up a whole new world of breading everything to me. think of the possibilities… breaded meats! breaded veggies! breaded cheese cubes! yyeeeeesssssss!
for the batter:
1 cup garbanzo flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
tbsp fresh thyme
pinch of dried chilis
1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 head cauliflower, cut into quarters, then 1/2″ thick slices
in a huge bowl, combine all dry ingredients together (except for the cauliflower, duh). separately, combine all wet ingredients. pour wet ingredients into dry. stir stir stir. if batter seems rather thick, thin it out with more milk. taste the batter, and season as you wish. i found myself adding more salt.
throw a few pieces of cauliflower into batter. be sure they are evenly coated. i gave mine a few dips and stirs to ensure even coating.
pour about a cup of sunflower oil, or other high heat tolerant oil into deep cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed fry pan. allow oil to heat up quite a bit, about 310f. if you don’t have a thermometer, the oil will bite back when you splash water into it.
a few pieces at a time, carefully drop coated cauliflower into hot oil. fry for one minute or so, then flip. when pieces are golden brown, drain on paper towels and serve right away. no one likes soggy batter.
1 cup almonds
1 cup roasted red peppers
1 roasted ancho chile
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt
3 or 4 raw cloves of garlic
zest of a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
method: in food processor, puree all ingredients until they form a sauce. serve with anything that you want to taste delicious.