Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year, New Cookbook ...

After all the rich holiday food, I find I'm craving two things: soup and chicken. Naturally, I combined the two and made chicken soup on Monday ... but you can't possible need a recipe for that, right? Besides, the soup I made was a charming cheat and I've divulged enough of those lately that I think I'll keep this one to myself.

What I really want to talk about today is ... chickpea flour. And, more specifically, why I felt the need to buy a great, big, heaping bag of it when I have no earthly idea what to do with it?! Anyone? Anyone? ~cue cricket sounds~

Yeah, I thought as much. It seemed like a good idea at the time, yet there that chickpea flour has languished, mocking me every time I open my baking cabinet, low these many months. Fortunately, my sister-in-law, K, gifted Mama Diva with a copy of The Wine and Food Lover's Diet on Christmas and while paging through it I came across a number of recipes which included chickpea flour. Color me intrigued. I bought a copy for myself.

Catchy title, no? I mean who doesn't love wine and food?! I do. I do! Now, I'll be honest with you, I haven't read through the entirety of the diet plan - frankly it bored me. I think the basis is sound and entirely compatible with the South Beach Diet, but I grew tired of reading the phrase "The Wine and Food Lover's Diet" over and over and over again. Can we get an edit here? Perhaps interchange the relentless self-promotion for, I don't know, something like "this diet" or "my plan?" Eh, maybe I'm too picky and, really, I digress because the diet isn't really my point. My point is that this book is chock full of healthy and delicious looking recipes and I'm eager to explore it more fully.

Last night I finally put that forlorn chickpea flour to good use in adapting one of the book's dishes. I substituted chicken breasts for the turkey tenderloin called for in the recipe, and added some additional seasonings to the flour. The results were magnificent!

Pumpkin Seed Chicken:
  • 4 skin-less, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1/2 cup of chickpea flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a dash of poultry seasoning
  • a dash of good quality paprika
  • one egg, beaten with 2 tsp. of water
  • 1 cup of coarsely ground toasted pumpkin seeds
  • some extra-virgin olive oil
  • one lemon, cut into wedges
Mix the chickpea flour, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and paprika together in a shallow baking dish or pie pan. (I probably used about a 1/2 tsp. of the poultry seasoning and paprika.) And place the ground pumpkin seeds in another shallow pan or dish. Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl. One piece at a time, dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned chickpea flour to coat, shaking off the excess. Then dip them in the egg and turn them in the ground pumpkin seeds to coat well. Continue until all of the chicken has been coated.

Heat some olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, in a large heavy-bottomed or non-stick skillet over medium high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook until browned on the first side - roughly 3 or 4 minutes - turn and cook on the second side until well-browned and cooked throughout - approximately 3 or 4 more minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Remove cooked chicken to paper towels to drain off the excess oil and serve, garnished with a wedge of lemon for sprinkling over the chicken at table. Enjoy!

As written, this recipe will serve four. I purchased some whole, toasted pumpkin seeds and used my mini food processor to grind them for the coating.

What a great introduction to this yummy new cookbook! This chicken was so moist and tender. The chickpea flour lends a nice, savory flavor and the pumpkin seeds really give it crunch ... quite similar to fried chicken. I loved the addition of lemon and the husband and I gave it two thumbs up. Delish! I served it with some roasted asparagus, topped with walnuts and Parmesan cheese - and I'll tell you all about that ... tomorrow.

For now, do you have any recipes that include chickpea flour? If so, please share ... curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!

4 comments:

cheryl said...

I bought some chickpea flour at a middle eastern market about 3 years ago and it's still sitting unopened in my cabinet. I have no idea if it's even fresh anymore, but if is, I'll now I have at least one recipe I can try!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Nooo, Cheryl, say it ain't so! My next step was to beg *you* for chickpea flour recipes ... c'mon, you know you like requests. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I've been reading daily for a good while now and had to comment on this one - chickpea flour is also known as gram flour, and is a common ingredient in Indian cooking. It's used as the main ingredient in the batter for pakoras (Indian fritters) and also the crunchy savoury sticks that are found in Bombay Mix. And I almost forgot, it's a key ingredient in Indian sweetmeats.

Once you know the basic recipe for pakora batter, as with tempura batter you can ring the changes with any kinds of vegetables, ground meat, fish and seafood.

Here's a good recipe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/indianfoodmadeeasy/
recipes/episode_4
/vegetablepakoras.shtml

And I was going to recommend the next site as a good place to go for Indian (well Bengali regional)recipes more generally, and lo and behold, the current recipe alludes to gram flour. However try this Indian sweetmeat recipe instead...

http://www.quickindiancooking.com/
2008/06/23/
decadent-sweets-for-unconventional-people/

Try the BBC food recipe search for more interesting ways to use gram flour.

S

The Diva on a Diet said...

S - thank you, thank you, thank you! I appreciate the links and will certainly check them out. I happen to love pakoras ... yet never considered making them at home. I had some wonderful zucchini pakoras at a local Indian place this past summer and would love to recreate them. Great idea. Many thanks for popping into the comments and passing on the links. :)

Come back soon!