What foods are you really missing in this pandemic? I miss Cartem’s donuts, of course. I miss the truffle fries at Lift or at Joey’s, which I usually share with my BFF and a side of gossip. I miss trying out new-to-me places.
One of my favourite vegan treats in the city are the Chickpea Fries from Chickpea. I actually think they are probably doing takeout so I could get some if I wanted, but I’m hardly leaving my neighbourhood these days. I’m pretty much restricting myself to what I can walk to (and Costco). Thankfully, my neighbourhood has lots of small places where I can stock up on produce and other perishables.
Besan or chickpea flour, has been a pantry staple for me for many years now. It’s high in protein, and has both sweet and savoury applications (as anyone of South Indian or Persian descent can attest). It’s also gluten free. In vegan cooking, it makes great, creamy sauces without butter or milk. So, yeah, it’s something that’s always in my cupboard.
I’ve made polenta fries before (I loved them so much I put them in my first cookbook), but I’d never even considered doing something similar with chickpea flour until I tried the chickpea fries from Chickpea. I was immediately hooked! Soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside… these are so good.
Of course, it was the kind of treat I could only have at a restaurant, since I don’t deep fry at home, but! Then I got the Breville Smart Oven Air with an air fryer setting, and now all my chickpea fry dreams are coming true, and yours can too!
The concept here is the same as polenta, you just sub out besan for cornmeal.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup besan or chickpea flour (sifted)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Prepare a 7″ square pan by brushing it with vegetable oil.
- In a small-medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the cumin and stir. Now slowly stream in the chickpea flour, using a whisk and whisking all the time.
- Once all the flour is added, reduce the heat and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth the top as best you can.
- Place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight to set.
- Remove from the fridge when set, and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into “fries.”
- Preheat your airfryer to 400, and arrange the fries on the fryer basket. Spritz with oil the parts that don’t have any oil on them.
- Fry for 10 minutes, then shake/flip and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Remove from fryer, season while hot and serve with a drizzle of balsamic reduction or pomegranate molasses. I serve mine with vegan aioli for dipping.