Of all the things that I thought might run out during the times of Corona Virus, flour wasn’t one of them. Or eggs. I did eventually locate both; a bakery near me is selling paper bags of it at the front of the shop prohibition era style. I assume isolation has got everyone baking! Tis a great home activity.
I noticed that there was still an abundance of gram (chickpea) flour in all the shops near me, when I could find no wheat flour. It is not good for traditional loaves of bread (no gluten for the rise) but is an extremely versatile flour to cook with and is great for flatbreads, pancakes, cakes (particularly brownies) and as a batter for vegetables.
It has a very pleasant nutty taste and a sticky texture when water or other liquid is added to it, which makes it a great food glue if you do not eat eggs, or you cannot find eggs. When either shallow or deep fried it has a very light and crispy texture.
If you have the time, prepare the gram flour batter the night before you want to use it and leave it out for up to 24 hours. It should become a little bubbly and thicker at this point, which will improve both the texture and the flavour of your batter when you cook it. If you cannot leave it out for the 24 hours, let it rest for at least 2 hours near a warm radiator.
I have made this lovely herby ‘frittata’ a few times, which is inspired by the lovely Iranian omelette ‘kuku sabzi’. You can sub herbs for potatoes, cauliflower or whatever you have to hand. If using hard vegetables, boil them before adding them to the onion and garlic, so that they are softened and will cook at the same speed.
If you cannot find barberries (although I would say these more niche ingredients are easier to find than the staples right now!) use chopped up sour cherries or raisins soaked in some red wine vinegar. Or just leave them out.
Serve with a crisp salad and some olives and a whipped yoghurt dip or white cheese. Also nice with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and some extra olive oil.
Time – 24 hours for batter to rest, preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes.
Serves – 4
- Large mixing bowl
- Frying pan
- 100g Chickpea / gram flour
- 150g Water
- Mixed herbs – 100g parsley, 50g dill, 50g mint, 50g coriander finely chopped
- 3 green onions, white and green part finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic finely diced
- 2 tbsp barberries
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- Olive oil (75-125ml for cooking plus extra for drizzling)
- Mix the gram flour and water together in a bowl, whisk and leave in a warm place for 24 hours (or at least 2 hours)
- Warm approx 75ml of olive oil in a frying pan (you might need to increase or reduce that depending on the size of your pan. The bottom of the pan should be well covered and the oil should be about 1/2 cm high)
- Add the spring onions and garlic to the pan and fry gently for approximately 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
- Add the spices and mix well
- Add the finely chopped herbs, the barberries and the salt to the batter and combine well
- Tip the onion and garlic into the batter and combine. Let it all rest together for a few minutes
- If the pan looks a little dry, add some more olive oil and warm gently
- Give the batter another mix in the bowl before pouring into the pan
- Fry for approximately 5 minutes on each side on a low to medium heat. Check the colour of the underside and once crisp and golden, put a plate on top of the pan and flip the frittata on to it so that the cooked side is up and visible.
- Slide the frittata back into the pan to cook the underside for approx 4-5 minutes
- Check the underside and once golden, flip on to a plate
Serve immediately whilst hot and crispy
(this does also reheat well if you save some for later!)