TeaThere are plenty of (very good) reasons to love chickpea flour, aka gram flour, Bengal gram, and besan flour here — just to mention a few, it’s higher in protein, fiber than other flours. Rich in vitamins, minerals and vitamins, and naturally gluten free. However, the reason I keep it so close to hand in the kitchen is less righteous: I just love its nutty, earthy, slightly “bean-y” flavor. I use it to thicken soups and hot yogurt sauces, to make quick flatbreads farinata or French soca, for example – and thick savory pancakes. And it actually makes a typical batter, fritter or cracker, as today’s recipe is expected to show.
Chickpea Flour Prawn Toast with Green Apple Flavor (pictured above)
It is a hybrid inspired by Indian Besan Toast and Cantonese Prawn Toast. Pre-sliced white bread works perfectly here: Just make sure it’s stale (or toasted), to avoid any bloating.
to submit 30 minutes
to marinate Twenty minutes
cook 50 minutes
works 4 As a Beginner
5 slices stale (or toasted) medium-thick white breadCrust removed and discarded, then cut in half into rectangles approximately 8cm x 3cm
150 ml vegetable oil
for the batter
105 grams gram flour (aka chickpea flour)
For the Shrimp Mixture
200 g peeled sustainably sourced raw prawnsroughly chopped into cm pieces
2 spring onionsTrimmed and thinly sliced (20 g)
1 red chiliStem, pulp and seeds removed, flesh thinly sliced (10 g)
2½ tbsp (10 g) coriander leavesroughly chopped
tsp finely grated lemon peel
10 grams fresh ginger piecePeeled and finely grated, to get tsp
1 garlic clovepeeled and crushed
50 ml apple cider vinegar
40 grams light brown sugar
1 gramRainy smith apple (130 grams)
1 tsp lemon juice
jalapeno pepper (5 g), roughly chopped
2¾ tbsp (10 g) coriander leavesroughly chopped
For the Spicy Crust Mix
35 grams dry coconut
1½ tbsp coriander seedslightly crushed
tsp fennel seeds
In a large frying pan, heat the besan over medium-high heat, and toast, for five minutes, until walnuts and nicely colored. Set aside a spoonful of flour, then pour the rest into a bowl and gradually whisk in 200ml of water until you have a smooth batter.
To make the prawn mix, put the halved prawns in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients, 1 tsp roasted gram flour and tsp salt. Blitz for 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl to make a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl with remaining shredded prawns, mix well, then leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, enjoy. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for four minutes, until a little syrup is formed. Remove from heat, then leave to cool and thicken for 20 minutes.
Roughly grate the apple, add it to the pan along with all the other flavoring ingredients and teaspoon salt, then blend with a stick blender for 30 seconds, until pureed. Put a spoon in a bowl and keep it aside.
Combine all crust ingredients in a small bowl.
Now to make the toast. Use a spoon to spread the prawn mix evenly on one side of each piece of bread, pushing it right to the edges, then, working on one piece of bread at a time, thoroughly coat each piece of batter. Immerse in Lift with a slotted spoon, remove excess batter, then place the bread prawns on a tray with the top side up. Repeat with remaining shrimp-coated bread and batter. Sprinkle the spice crust over the top of the baked bread, pressing it down to make sure it sticks.
Preheat oven to 150C (130C fan)/300F/Gas 2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and, once hot, fry the toasted spices in three batches for 90 seconds. Flip very carefully, cook for another 90 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper, then transfer to an oven tray and place in hot oven while repeating with remaining bread.
Place the toast on a plate and serve with it.
Chickpea Flour and Parmesan Crackers
These addictive, gluten-free crackers would look right at home on a cheeseboard or packed in a lunchbox. They will keep in an airtight container for three to five days.
to submit 5 minutes
cook 1 hour 10 minutes
works 4 as breakfast
100 grams chickpea flour
50 grams cornflour
50 ml olive oil
Flaky Sea Salt and Pepper
50 grams parmesan tight
1¼ tsp fennel seedss, or coarsely crushed fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 150C (130C fan)/300F/Gas. In a medium bowl add gram flour, cornflour and oil, add 150ml water and three-fourth teaspoon salt. Mix into a soft batter, then grate in 30 grams of Parmesan and mix until smooth. Spoon onto a sheet of greaseproof paper large enough to cover a large baking tray, and use a spoon or spatula to spread it as thin as you can. Paper can get a wet look and wrinkle, but don’t worry about that.
Sprinkle with fennel and ground black pepper over top, then scatter over remaining 20 grams of Parmesan and teaspoon salt and bake until lightly golden and crisp, 55 minutes. Remove and leave to cool, then store in an airtight container.
Potato and Matar Pakoras with Lemon Curd and Spiced Ghee
These make a great snack. If you want to go ahead, make the filling and hot ghee a day in advance.
to submit Twenty minutes
cook 35 minutes
works 4 as breakfast
1-2 Maris Piper PotatoesPeeled and cut into 1 cm pieces (200 g)
best sea salt
30 grams gheeor butter
1 onionPeeled and finely chopped (180 g)
10 fresh curry leavesfinely chopped
4 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
1 tbsp hot madras curry powder
50 grams frozen green peasdefrosted
40 grams corianderPick up 1 1/2 tbsp (15 g) leaves and keep aside, the rest finely chopped
210 grams chickpea flour
500 ml sunflower oilto fry
2 tsp date syrup
for lemon curd
250 grams curd
1 lemongrated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tbsp
For Spiced Ghee
50 grams ghee
1½ tsp coriander seedslightly ground in a mortar
1½ tsp Aleppo chilior 1 tsp regular chili flakes
tsp Kashmiri chili
Add potatoes and lots of salted water to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for eight to 10 minutes, until fully cooked but not falling apart. Filter and keep aside.
Clean the pan, keep on medium flame, add ghee, onion and curry leaves and cook for five minutes, stirring continuously, till they become soft. Add garlic and curry powder, cook for a minute or two until fragrant, then add 100ml of water and cook for five minutes, until almost completely evaporated. Add potatoes, and cook for two to three minutes, then add peas, chopped coriander and a quarter teaspoon flaky salt. Mix the potatoes well without mashing them much, then take them off the flame and keep them to cool down.
Now for the batter. Combine the gram flour with 160ml water and teaspoon fine salt in a medium bowl, mix until smooth, then cover and set aside.
Gently form potato mixture into 12 x 35 g balls (weigh them out), then arrange on oven tray.
Pour sunflower oil into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and, once hot, use a spoon or your hands to dip each potato shell into the batter, making sure they are completely covered. Fry lightly in the oil four times at a time or until evenly, crisp and lightly golden, three to four minutes, turning over. Lift it with a slotted spoon, take it out on kitchen paper, take it out in a tray and keep it heated on low flame, while you keep repeating with the remaining balls (also fry the extra batter).
In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice and one-eighth of a teaspoon salt into the yogurt, then set aside.
For tangy ghee, heat ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat and when hot, add coriander seeds and sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, add Aleppo and Kashmiri chilies and a pinch of fine sea salt and keep aside.
To assemble, share fritters among four small, draped plates. Pour the curds over the top so that they are completely covered and the curds settle on the plate, then spoon over the spiced ghee. Drizzle date syrup over it, sprinkle some coriander leaves and serve hot.