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So Many Cookbooks, So Little Time

Chickpea, Chilli and Coriander Cakes

The Veg:
  • 225g dried chickpeas (about 550g cooked weight)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 small green pepper
The Herbs, Spice and Zing:
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • 2 small red chillies, deseeded
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tblsp greek yoghurt (omit for dairy free)
  • salt and pepper to taste
The Coating:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • chickpea flour (aka gram flour) or wholemeal flour or polenta for dusting
The Steps:
  • Cook the chickpeas using your preferred method. Longhand, that means soak the chickpeas overnight, drain, then cook for an hour or so until tender. I note that Delia suggests cooking the chickpeas for 30 minutes. I have yet to meet the chickpea that gets anyway tender in that amount of time without a pressure cooker being involved…
    If you do have a pressure cooker, then use that to speed things up or, if using tinned chickpeas, just drain and rinse.
  • Finely chop the onion, garlic, pepper and chillies.
  • Heat some butter in a pan (or oil if you’re avoiding dairy), add the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli and fry gently for 5-10 minutes until the veg soften and start to turn brown.
  • Meanwhile, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, then grind using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  • Add the ground spices and the turmeric to the pan and fry for another 30 seconds or so.
  • Place the cooked chickpeas and the fresh coriander into a food processor and whiz until chopped but not a puree.
  • Put the processed chickpeas in a bowl, add the cooked veg, lemon zest, lemon juice and yoghurt (if using). Mix and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Form the mixture into patties, dip in beaten egg and dust with flour. Delia suggests gram or wholemeal flour. You could also use polenta for a different finish.
  • Heat some oil in a pan. Fry the patties over a high heat until golden brown, a minute or two each side.
  • Serve with yoghurt or a yoghurt-based sauce, such as a raita, and sweet chutneys or pickles, plus salad (Delia suggests a red onion salad)
The Portions:
  • Delia says it serves 4 as a main course. I would say 3, based on the rate at which I scoffed the mixture, both before and after it was cooked!