Shrimp Toast, Cheese Crackers and Donuts: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chickpea Flour Recipes | Food
Jhere are many (very virtuous) reasons to love chickpea flour, AKA gram flour, bengal gram and besan flour – just to name a few, it is higher in protein than other flours, rich in fiber, rich in minerals and vitamins, and naturally gluten-free. However, the reason why I keep it so close to me in the kitchen is rather less fair: I love its nutty, earthy and slightly “bean” taste. I use it to thicken soups and warm yogurt sauces, to make quick flatbreads – Italian plain flour or French socca, for example – and thick savory pancakes. And that makes for a truly distinctive dough, donut, or cracker, as today’s recipes hope to show.
Chickpea Flour Shrimp Toasts with Green Apple Relish (top photo)
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 prevent any softening.
Preparation 30 minutes
Marinate 20 mins
To cook 50 minutes
Serves 4 as starter
5 stale (or grilled) slices of medium thickness White breadrinds removed and discarded, then halved into rectangles approximately 8cm x 3cm
150ml vegetable oil
For the dough
105g flour (AKA chickpea flour)
For the shrimp mixture
200 g shelled raw prawns from sustainable sourcescoarsely cut into ½ cm pieces
2 spring onionstrimmed and thinly sliced (20g)
1 red pepperstem, pith and pips removed, flesh thinly sliced (10g)
2½ tbsp (10g) coriander leavescoarsely chopped
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
10g of fresh gingerpeeled and finely grated, to obtain ½ tsp.
1 clove of garlicpeeled and crushed
For the taste
50ml apple cider vinegar
40g light brown sugar
1ggranny blacksmith apple (130g)
1 teaspoon lime juice
½ jalapeno pepper (5g), coarsely chopped
2¾ tablespoons (10g) coriander leavescoarsely chopped
For the Spicy Crust Mix
35 g grated coconut
1½ tbsp coriander seedsslightly crushed
¼ teaspoon nigella seeds
Place the chickpea flour in a large skillet over medium-high heat and toast, stirring, for five minutes, until nutty and nicely browned. Reserve a teaspoon of flour, then put the rest in a bowl and gradually incorporate 200 ml of water, until a smooth paste is obtained.
To make the shrimp mixture, place half of the chopped shrimp in a food processor along with all the remaining ingredients, the reserved teaspoon of the roasted chickpea flour and a quarter teaspoon of the salt. Mix for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go, to make a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl with the remaining chopped shrimp, mix well, then marinate for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the relish. Put the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes over medium heat, until slightly syrupy. Remove from heat, then let cool and thicken for 20 minutes.
Coarsely grate the apple, add it to the pan along with all the remaining relish ingredients and a quarter teaspoon of salt, then blend with an immersion blender for 30 seconds, until pureed. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Combine all crust ingredients in a small bowl.
Now to make the toast. Use a spoon to spread the shrimp mixture evenly over one side of each piece of bread, pushing it all the way to the edges, then, working one piece of bread at a time, fully submerge each piece in the batter. Lift with a slotted spoon, drain the excess batter, then place the breaded prawns side up on a platter. Repeat with remaining shrimp coated bread and batter. Sprinkle the spice crust over the top of the breaded bread, pressing down to make sure it sticks.
Heat the oven to 150C (130C fan)/300F/Gas 2. Put the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and when hot, fry the toast spice side up in thirds times for 90 seconds. Turn very carefully, cook for another 90 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel, then transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the heated oven while you repeat with the rest of the bread.
Arrange the toast on a platter and serve with the relish on the side.
Chickpea Flour and Parmesan Crackers
These addictive, gluten-free crackers will look great on a cheese board or packed in a lunch box. They will keep in an airtight container for three to five days.
Preparation 5 minutes
To cook 1h10
Serves 4 as a snack
100g chickpea flour
50ml olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper flakes
50g of parmesan grated
1¼ teaspoon anise seedss, or coarsely crushed fennel seeds
Heat the oven to 150C (130C fan)/300F/Gas 2. Put the chickpea flour, cornstarch and oil in a medium bowl, add 150ml water and three-quarters of a tsp flaked salt. Blend to a smooth paste, then grate 30g Parmesan cheese and blend until smooth. Spread on a sheet of parchment paper large enough to cover a large baking sheet and use a spoon or spatula to spread it out as thinly as possible. The paper may acquire a wet look and wrinkle, but don’t worry about that.
Sprinkle with anise seeds and generously grind some black pepper on top, then sprinkle the remaining 20g Parmesan cheese and half a teaspoon of salt and bake for 55 minutes, until tender. are lightly browned and crispy. Remove and let cool, then store in an airtight container.
Potato and pea fritters with lemon yoghurt and spicy ghee
These make a great snack. If you want to make a head start, prepare the filling and the spiced ghee the night before.
Preparation 20 mins
To cook 35 minutes
Serves 4 as a snack
1-2 maris piper potatoespeeled and cut into 1cm pieces (200g)
Fine sea salt
30g gheeor butter
1 onionpeeled and finely chopped (180g)
10 fresh curry leavesfinely chopped
4 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
1 tbsp hot madras curry powder
50g frozen peasthawed
40g coriander1½ tbsp (15g) leaves picked and set aside, the rest finely chopped
210g chickpea flour
500ml sunflower oilfor frying
2 teaspoons date syrup
For the lemon yogurt
1 lemongrated zest, to obtain 1 teaspoon, and juice, to obtain 2 tablespoons
For the spicy ghee
1½ tsp coriander seedslightly ground in a mortar
1½ teaspoon Aleppo pepperor 1 teaspoon regular chili flakes
½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili pepper
Put the potatoes and plenty of salted water in a medium sauté pan, bring to a boil, then simmer for eight to 10 minutes, until cooked through but not broken. Drain and reserve.
Wipe out the pan, put it over medium heat, add the ghee, onions and curry leaves and cook, stirring often, for five minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and curry powder, cook for a minute or two more, until fragrant, then add 100ml water and cook for five minutes, until fragrant. almost completely evaporated. Stir in the potatoes, cook another two to three minutes, then add the peas, chopped cilantro and a quarter teaspoon of flaky salt. Mix well without crushing the potatoes too much, then remove from the heat and let cool.
Now for the dough. Put the chickpea flour in a medium bowl with 160ml of water and half a teaspoon of fine salt, stir until smooth, then cover and set aside.
Gently shape the potato mixture into 12 x 35 g balls (weigh them), then arrange them on baking sheets.
Put the sunflower oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and when hot, dip each potato ball into the batter, using a spoon or your hands to make sure they are completely covered. Carefully drop into the oil four at a time and fry or three to four minutes, turning to cook evenly, until crispy and lightly browned. Lift with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, transfer to a tray and keep warm in a low oven while you repeat with the remaining balls (also fry any excess batter).
Mix the yogurt in a small bowl with the lemon zest and juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, then set aside.
For the spicy ghee, put the ghee in a small skillet over medium-high heat and when hot, stir in the coriander seeds and toast for 30 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the Aleppo and Cashmere peppers and a pinch of fleur de sel, then set aside.
To assemble, divide the donuts among four small rimmed plates. Pour the yogurt over the top, so that they are completely covered and the yogurt pools on the plate, then pour over the spiced ghee. Drizzle the top with date syrup, sprinkle with the reserved coriander leaves and serve hot.