My new discovery/obsession in the kitchen is chickpea or gram flour. I have some new and exciting recipes coming up in this series that will change the way you eat! First: these protein-rich falafels that are the perfect vegan, gluten-free, whole grain patties with authentic flavor but no difficult-to-find ingredients.
There’s nothing new about besan or chana atta – it’s widely used to make chilla or pudla (who came up with that word?!), a flavorful Indian snack-time or breakfast crepe. What’s innovative about this (and the upcoming recipes) is that I’m using it with new, non-indian flavors. This protein-rich falafel recipe is the easiest – no chickpea soaking required, no elusive ingredients.
A couple of notes about the process:
Chickpea/gram flour has a nutty flavor and water-absorbent properties. Scientifically, they’re actually different: chickpea flour is made of garbanzo beans; gram flour (what we know as besan) is ground gram lentils. You can use either – the properties and taste are practically the same. Because of its water absorbing properties, if you make this in advance and refrigerate it, it turns into a gummy, almost play-doh like texture. Instead, for best results, stir together the ingredients just prior to cooking. Similarly, avoid blending all the ingredients together in a mixer (the same thing happens). It is a few minutes of additional stirring but it’s worth it! The falafel mixture you have pre-cooking will be more wet than your normal burger patty mixture. As you cook it on a medium-low flame and flip it, the patty gets cooked resulting in the ideal texture. If you still feel the dough is too wet, you can coat each one by lightly dipping them in a bowl of a few tablespoons of chickpea flour.
While these falafel patties are tasty, the flavors are lighter so I’d recommend serving with a hummus or spicy, garlicky yogurt dip topped with extra virgin olive oil. You can also pair it with a salad and feta for a light and healthy meal. Let me know how you make these protein-rich falafels your own! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, on Instagram (hashtag #theindiaedition), Twitter or Facebook.
- 50g dry quinoa, cooked
- 2 handfuls parsley (approx 25g)
- 2-3 bulbs of green onions (approx 60g)
- 1 green chili, deseeded
- 50-60g chickpea or gram flour (besan)
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp pepper or to taste
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 tbsp oil (any oil with a high smoke point)
- In a mixer/blender, pulse the parsley, green onions, green chili and lemon juice.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Add 2 tbsp of chickpea flour (approx 10g) at a time, stir and repeat. The mixture won't be a dry dough-like texture - it will be more wet. You may not need all 50g of the flour depending on how dry/wet your mixture is. Don't make ahead and refrigerate or blend everything together in the mixer - these steps result in a gluey falafel.
- Form small patties (approx 1.5 inch diameter) and coat each one with sesame seeds (optional).
- Coat a pan with oil and cook falafels on medium-low heat, turning once browned.
- Serve with hummus, yogurt dip, salad, etc.