Thursday, 27 February 2014

Sticking with the Good Stuff

Pane in Padella di Farina di Ceci, Zucchine & Erbe Aromatiche, con Cipolla Caramellata
Herb, Zucchini & Gram Flour Pan-Bread & Caramelized Red Onion

I love gram (chickpea) flour... I love the infinite number of things that can be made from it... I love the way smells deliciously of chickpeas as it cooks and I love the way that whatever you prepare from it always has a nice, glossy sheen to it... but I do kinda hate the way it can tend to be very, very sticky!

Having said that, as with most things, it is simply a matter of practice and of getting a feel for things to be able to do them in a more effortless way. And as I have a couple of colleagues who have attempted dishes with gram flour and failed, tragically, to have good results... I decided to try out a little something and share it with you all, that is totally quick and easy and guaranteed to work- with no trouble or stickiness at all!

Rather than make a flat-bread this evening, I decided to make something a little more voluminous and substantial. As it can tend to be a little dense at times, I decided to keep the "bread" softer and moister than usual by adding grated zucchini and a little baking powder into the mix. Along with plenty of herbs- parsley, tarragon and oregano as you can see, a couple of eggs, about 1/3rd of a chili pepper, plain yogurt and a little cinnamon and nutmeg to round it off nicely. Simple stuff- but good stuff!

The first thing I did was to finely chop the parsley and tarragon, the same with the chili pepper (after removing the seeds!) and grating the zucchini coarsely. I seasoned with salt and in retrospect would advise you to be pretty generous with the salt, as the gram flour seems to need quite a bit- especially as there is the sweet zucchini in the mix here.

I then stirred all of the dry ingredients into 4 tablespoons of gram flour, until they became nicely coated. This reduces the forming of lumps quite considerably, which can only be a good thing! It also helps to get that finely chopped chili pepper nicely integrated and evenly spread within the mix, as it would probably simply sink to the bottom of the bowl otherwise... don't you just hate it when that happens?

Next came the 2 eggs, which were easy to stir into the mix as it was nicely and evenly prepared in advance with the flour, zucchini,herbs and chili pepper. I simply stirred everything together with a wooden spoon- no need for whisks or gadgets here- thank goodness! As convenient as machines can be, they can still take longer to get set-up than the time it takes to simply do things by hand!

Once the eggs were broken and stirred in, I added the yogurt- just a couple of tablespoons and then worked everything together until it became a lush, yellow, shiny and colorful batter... nom-nom-nom!

The last ingredient I added, was a tablespoon of baking powder, just to help keep the mixture nice and fluffy and to keep the finely ground gram flour from becoming, as I already mentioned earlier, too heavy and dense.

I then poured the batter into a small non-stick frying pan and placed it on the stove top, turned on the oven to get it nice and ready and hot for baking and got busy doing the fun stuff. I let the batter set in the frying pan and then put it into the oven to finish baking. I had the temperature set at 300°F and let it bake away for the next 15 minutes or so- and of course in the meantime, I kept busy by caramelizing those wonderful slices of red onion to make them nice and soft and sweet...

I like to pop my sliced onion into a small saucepan, with a little water and a pinch of salt. When the onions begin to soften, after 5 minutes or so, I add a little sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, a little pepper- and a little more water, so that all of these things dissolve nicely and boil down with the onion...

After around 15 minutes in the oven, the bread was ready, firm and fluffy, gold-brown and shiny and delicious! And with a lovely aroma of roasted chickpea and herbs, this was a pretty irresistible affair, I will tell you!

I called this a "bread"- although it is not a bread at all... in fact it is more like a cross between a frittata and pancake to be honest. And to be perfectly honest- it was much more delicious than either of those! But don't take my word for it- just make your own and you will find out!

I didn't need to add anything to this to enjoy it, other than the caramelized onion, which kept everything tasting pleasant and juicy. With the mixed herbs and the hot chili coming through- it was a pretty much perfect combination for you right there!

So I hope you give this a go- even if you have had problems in the past and have  despaired at the stickiness of gram flour. Because this way you will have no problems at all and will have fun along the way... word!


  1. With salad, not with onions, but simple and delicious!

    Mille grazie!

  2. You can enjoy it any way you want Zizibe :-) Glad you like it!