Besan flour–otherwise known as chickpea flour, gram flour or garbanzo bean flour–has become a coveted staple in my household. Almost every single day I make a quick meal using this versatile flour. Somehow, though, I missed the buzz about chickpea fries that seemed to be happening a couple of years ago… from folks like Mark Bittman, Martha Stewart, and even Oprah. Where have I been? I’m not sure either, but I promise I am never going back to that isolated place. Not after getting a taste of these crispy gems.
I admit, I’m not big on fried foods… really much at all. I have to eat fried stuff in extreme moderation because it jives badly with all the nutritious stuff (like raw veggies!) that my belly loves the most. But, if I ever have the craving for a few greasy french fries… I’ll probably reach for my bag of besan rather than my basket of potatoes.
These guys brings back memories of restaurant fries from my childhood: flavorful and crunchy with no need for dipping sauce. However, they do pair nicely with a blend of spicy mustard, a little Vegenaise and chili garlic sauce. Very nicely.
They are slightly more involved than your average fry, though. First you have to cook the batter and let it chill in the fridge until it firms up, almost like polenta. But after that, it’s smooth sailing. That is, if you’re not terrified of hot grease. In which case, it may be a tad more difficult for ya.
It’s great to make the batter and have it chilling in the fridge the night before so that you’ll have them ready to fry up the next day.
Besan Fries ~ Vegan & Gluten Free
- 1 1/4 cups (191 g) besan/gram flour
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups water
- oil for frying
- Line standard sized baking sheet with saran wrap or parchment paper.
- In medium sized bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients along with the minced garlic until well blended.
- Gradually stir in water and use whisk to stir vigorously to remove all lumps.
- Pour batter into large saucepan and cook over medium to medium- low heat. Stir continuously with a whisk ensuring that no lumps form in the batter. This will give you quite a nice workout in your arm as the mixture thickens. Embrace it. It should take about 6 mins or so for it to thicken up, and about 8 minutes total for the batter to cook completely. If the batter begins to thicken too quickly, reduce heat slightly. Again, it is imperative you stir this batter the entire time. Don’t walk away, not even for a few minutes.
- Once the batter becomes thick like soft polenta, or a porridge, remove from heat and immediately spread onto saran wrap or parchment paper lined sheet.
- Spread into a rectangle so that the batter remains about 1/2 inch thick.
- Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours. It is essential that the batter is chilled thoroughly, or you’ll have a hard time frying these guys up.
- Once the batter has firmed up a bit, bring about 1 1/2 inches of cooking oil to 360 degrees over medium-high heat. You can also use a deep fryer. Drop a tester piece of batter to see if oil is hot. It should begin to fry up immediately when the oil is ready to go.
- Use a sharp knife to cut small rectangles (or whatever shape you’d like) for the fries. Then one by one, pull back saran wrap and remove a single fry and gently drop it into the hot oil.
- Fry these in batches until all have been cooked. I returned my uncooked fries back into the fridge while the others were cooking to keep them cool.
- Cook until they are a golden brown on each side (about 4 mins or so) and place onto fabric or paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Sprinkle with a touch more black pepper and chili powder. Serve alone or with your favorite dippin’ sauce.
Diet type: Vegan
Diet (other): Gluten free