I really like french fries. I like french fries way too much, I want to eat them all the time. I like them with stuff on them, I like them unadorned. I want to order them any time I see them on a menu, I have to hold myself back occasionally and order something an adult might eat. I also wanted to make them at home, and I have tried and failed. I have tried lots of different ways with very little success. Complicated methods that involve triple cooking, parboiling and freezing several times. I have tried frying quickly in super hot oil and more slowly in merely quite hot oil. I have tried the strangely convincing cold oil method that Cook's Illustrated lulled me into believing in, and then dashed all my hopes. I have still never made amazing, crispy fries at home.
Enter chickpea fries, or panisse as they are called in France, which are very easy to make at home and fill the french fries niche perfectly: salty, crispy and highly dippable. Traditionally these would be deep fried in olive oil, but deep frying is such a pain, and stinks up your house. I roasted these in a hot oven with a little slick of oil and they were beautifully crisp with puffy, pillowy soft insides. You can call them panisse if you are serving them at a dinner party and fries if you are serving them to a toddler. Or me.
These are slightly healthier (or a lot healthier, depending on how you assess the healthiness of potatoes and chickpeas) than potato fries, so eating a whole bunch of them doesn't give me the guilt hangover of eating a load of french fries. I mean, they are basically hummus. You can't feel too bad about eating hummus can you? No, you can't.
Chickpea flour might be tricky to find, but I have had good luck in most big grocery stores, or in Indian or Mediteranian groceries.
Adapted from the New York Times
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp each, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper
- finely chopped parsley
Bring water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Slowly add in chickpea flour, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat until very thick, like the texture of wet cement.
Pour batter into a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for at least an hour, or overnight if you wish.
Pre-heat oven to 450°F. Cut the set batter into batons, squares or whatever shape you like. Batons are good for dipping though. Roast in hot oven in a little oil, turning fries after about 10 minutes, or when the bottoms are deep brown, and cook about 10 more minutes. Serve sprinkled with salt, pepper and parsley and dip in spicy aioli.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayonnaise to make the whole recipe vegan)
- 3 tbs lime juice
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 clove finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl.