In a previous post, I mentioned how I am always watching to see what my son likes to eat when we are dining out and then recreate healthier versions of these foods back at home. I also mentioned that this isn’t particularly easy because we don’t eat out very often and when we do my son usually orders the same things over and over again. So I was pleasantly surprised last week when after enjoying lunch at peacefood cafe, one of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood, my son said he really liked the chickpea fries and asked me to try making them at home. I was so excited! I had another cooking project I could embark on as well as another food I could add to my son’s developing palate.
After a little research, I happily discovered that chickpea fries are pretty simple to make and with some experimenting came up with a combination of ingredients that results in pretty amazing tasting chickpea fries. In fact, I was a bit blown away when my son told me that he liked them A LOT better than the ones a peacefood cafe and almost ate them all before I even had a chance to take a picture! You see, my son is usually my toughest critic so this was truly something to celebrate!
Before I share the health benefits of chickpeas, I want to talk for a minute about cooking oil. All cooking oils have a smoke point, the temperature at which the oil begins to burn. When oil is heated past its smoke point it no longer smells or tastes good and toxins and free radicals are created that are harmful to your health. That’s why it is extremely important to choose an oil that has a high smoke point when cooking at higher temperatures as we are doing here (and as I did in my last post). For high-heat cooking, refined avocado oil is my favorite choice. It is high in monounsaturated fat (the “good” fat), full of antioxidants and vitamin E and has a smoke point over 500 degrees F (one of the highest smoke points of all of the oils). Avocado oil can be hard to find in markets but it is well worth the effort and you can also purchase it here.
I’ll conclude with a few health benefits of chickpeas. Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are full of protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate and vitamin B-6. And chickpea flour, made from grinding dried chickpeas into a fine flour, is naturally gluten free. The protein and fiber in chickpeas help regulate blood sugar and maintain a healthy digestive system. The fiber also helps lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and ease inflammation which is good for heart health.
These chickpea fries are a delicious treat (crispy-on-the-outside with a creamy, satisfying interior) that are also good for you. Enjoy!
- 1 cup of chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
- 2 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken broth if not making vegan / vegetarian)
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of pink himalayan sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Add the chickpea flour, broth, paprika, salt and black pepper to a medium pot and whisk to combine.
- Whisking constantly, bring to a boil and then cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick, about 3-4 minutes.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and let cool to room temperature.
- Cover with plastic wrap and gently press down on the mixture.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- When firm, the mixture will look a bit like a cake.
- Remove the chickpea cake from the pan and cut into 1-by-4-inch fries.
- Add 1-inch of avocado oil to a large, deep pot over medium-high heat.
- Add one fry to the oil to test if it is hot enough - the oil should bubble immediately.
- Working in batches, place the fries into the hot oil, turning when browned (it takes about 2-3 minutes).
- After all sides have browned, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- They are best served hot.
- Serve with ketchup, tomato sauce or aioli for dipping.