Food

Falatfel

All right, here’s my second ultra-simple recipe of the pandemic, following Heavenly Toast. It can be dinner, or a satisfying snack, in 10 minutes. My partner and I call it “Falatfel” because it’s sort of like a “flat falafel” except it really isn’t, but the name stuck for us. This similarity between this recipe and actual falafel is that they’re both made from fried chickpea batter, though here we’re making the batter from chickpea flour only (not whole chickpeas) and we’re lightly frying the batter in a skillet like a pancake instead of deep frying it. This recipe is actually closer to the chickpea pancake that is known as socca in France or farinata in Italy, where it is particularly popular in towns along the Ligurian sea.

Did I mention the recipe was simple? You only need three ingredients: 1) chickpea flour, 2) an avocado, and 3) some kind of topping. Here I’m cheating and using a pre-prepared topping that I like, a Piquillo Pepper and Artichoke Bruschetta topping distributed by a company called Émoi Foods, but you can experiment. There’s also a fourth ingredient: you’ll need to rub your skillet or griddle with some oil. I used to use olive oil for things like this, but now I’m using avocado oil since it has a much higher smoke point. Here are the three main ingredients:

Step 1: Whisk one cup of chickpea flour together with one cup of water to create a batter. If you get your chickpea flour from Bob’s Red Mill, you’ll find a recipe for “Socca Flatbread” on the back of the package, and it will say to add salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, and herbs, and it will say to bake, not fry in a skillet. When I first saw this recipe from Bob’s, I thought “I’ll do even better than that” and I added mashed fresh garlic, finely chopped onions, paprika, and a bunch of other things to the batter. I kept doing this for a while, thinking that I could make my chickpea pancakes tastier by adding more ingredients. It wasn’t till one day that I was feeling particularly tired and lazy that I decided to mix the chickpea flour and water and leave it at that, and what I found was that it’s better. You don’t need all the other ingredients. The best taste and easiest cooking you’re going to get from a chickpea flour pancake is when you keep it simple. You need two ingredients, flour and water. That’s my bold conclusion. Don’t add salt, don’t add oil, don’t add herbs or spices. Save those for the topping. Here’s what the whisking looks like, with only flour and water:

Step 2: Spread some oil on a griddle, heat it, and pour some of the chickpea batter over it, making a thin, circular layer. You can use the back of a spoon to spread the batter around. This step is just like making a pancake and it has all the same subtleties: you don’t want the heat to be too high or too low, you don’t want the batter to be too thick or too thin, you don’t want to cook it too long or too short, you don’t want to flip it too early or too late. You might need to experiment. If your batter consists of one cup of flour and one cup of water, you’ll probably find that you can make two large pancakes with it, or three to four smaller ones. Here’s what the batter looks like after being poured and spread on a griddle:

I was using a thin batter this time, and I flipped it a bit too early, so it split when I did that:

If it splits, it splits. Don’t worry. It’s still going to be delicious.

Step 3: Take the pancake off the griddle and spread some avocado over it.

Step 4: Spread some of your topping over it, and eat. Don’t wait too long! The chickpea base is tastiest when it’s still hot.

On my second try I made a round one. Here’s how it looked:

That’s it. This is really one of this simplest, tastiest recipes I can imagine. Enjoy!

PS. Another version made on another day:

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