Chickpea "Tofu"

Chickpea "Tofu"

My first exposure to using chickpea flour like this came in a Burmese snack recipe that’s spiced with turmeric and dipped in a ginger soy sauce, which sounds amazing, right? Then I looked into other ways I could use this and found out that Italy and the South of France have a similar snack! In France, it’s called panisse and it’s typically found cut and pan-fried into strips like fries, then dipped in something like a garlic aioli. Also amazing, right? 

I also found a traditional recipe that requires a LOT of water and a couple rounds of soaking or sitting overnight. The first recipe I tried had me done in less than ninety minutes and my end result seems to be exactly like the traditional method. So lucky for you, I’m demoing the ninety minute version of this process! 

Chickpea Tofu - Panisse
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more for pan
1 cup chickpea flour
1 teaspoon seasonings (*optional: turmeric, or powdered garlic & onion)
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

Lightly oil an 8x8" baking dish; set aside.

Whisk flour, seasonings if using, salt, and 1 cup water in a large saucepan. Let sit 10 minutes to hydrate, whisking occasionally to break up any lumps. Whisk in 2 more cups water. Heat over medium-high, whisking often to prevent lumps from forming, and bring to a simmer. Cook, reducing heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer and stirring with a wooden spoon (be careful to avoid any spattering as the tofu cooks), until very thick and beginning to stick to bottom of pot, 6–8 minutes. At this point, there should be a thin film on the bottom of pot, which means you are there.

Regarding heat settings, on my stove, high heat is a “six,” so I’ve got my heat set at “four.” If it looks like the mixture is trying to boil versus simmer, then lower the heat to keep the bubbles at a minimum.

Pour into prepared baking dish and smooth top. Let cool until set, 30–60 minutes (you can speed it along by placing dish in fridge). You can also use a muslin cloth to line the dish you’re using. I’ve done it both ways and they both turned out the same way.

Once it’s set, you’ll flip it out of the pan and onto a cutting board and cut it into squares or long french-fry-looking things.

Now you can leave your panisse or chickpea tofu like this. It has an eggy texture, like a creamy omelet so you can use it in place of eggs in some instances.

But the fun part is frying it! Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Carefully add half of tofu and cook until golden and crisp, 2–3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining tofu and oil.

They look firm, but what you’ll end up with through this process is a thin, slightly crispy skin and a soft, creamy center.

Something else to try is baking them on low heat, like you’re dehydrating them, but I believe they will just crumble rather than get crispy.

However you decide to spice and serve your chickpea tofu, it’s a very interesting ingredient to experiment with and see how you can adjust it and supplement with it. I plan on using it as a snack or appetizer with enticing dips or spreads. But I’m sure my vegan friends will try substituting regular tofu with it! So enjoy my friends!

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