Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chickpea Fritters with Red Onion and Parsley

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of anything called a "patty." Perhaps it's the foodie in me, but I don't consider them to be real food. My grandmother used to make "meat patties" and even at the age of six I found it odd, concluding that they must have been made of some random mystery meat that failed in its efforts to be a full-fledged burger. But perhaps Gram just knew this fundamental truth: calling something a burger sets certain expectations that, if not met, will invariably make the eater feel let-down. And few things are more devastating to an Italian grandmother than someone being disappointed with her cooking.

Personally, I love veggie-type things smashed together in a (for lack of a better word) patty, as long as they aren't being passed off as burgers and have a more inspiring moniker. And I have no doubt that if I told the Bear I was making garbanzo-burgers, bean patties or any other such thing for dinner he would have surprised me with "just-remembered" dinner reservations.

Chickpea Fritters, however, seemed to intrigue him. Ironically, Italians find anything that smacks of the American South to be "exotic" - I love that. And he loved these.

Sneaky Vegan Marketing 101, my friends: never underestimate the power of presentation and packaging.

Chickpea Fritters (Patties) with Red Onion and Parsley
From my favorite Turkish cookbook
Makes 8-10

400g/14oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and thoroughly rinsed
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed (or ground cumin)
2 teaspoons ground corriander
1-2 teaspoons paprika (or kirmizi biber if you have that)
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped (optional)
rind of 1 lemon (optional)
all-purpose flour (for dusting)
salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, pound the chickpeas with a potato masher. This is a bit of work so if you prefer, you can process them into a paste in a food processor or blender. Just be sure not to puree them - the paste should be pretty dry.

Bind the mixture with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then beat in the onion, cumin, corriander and paprika (or kirmizi biber) with a wooden spoon. 

Next, add the parsley, dill and lemon rind and season with salt and pepper to taste. I'm afraid I said the dill and lemon rind are optional because we didn't have any and these were still yummy, but they would probably be even better if your kitchen is better stocked than mine.

Using your hands, mould palm-sized portions of the mixture into balls and flatten into, ahem...patties. Make them whatever size you like. Dust the little suckers with a sprinkle of flour and fry them for 2 minutes on each side in a non-stick pan (I used a grill pan) with the remaining olive oil. Drain them on paper towels before serving.

Arrange the fritters (now that they're fried I can call them that!) on a large plate and serve them hot or at room temperature with some sliced red onion, chopped parsley, lemon wedges and garlic yogurt on the side. Or tuck them into pita pouches with the garnishes - a good one for kids. 

I happened to be on a Turkish cooking kick last week so I served them with Aromatic Rice-Stuffed Peppers (recipe coming soon). They also store well in the fridge for several days (I stored mine unfried) and they're great for quick meals during the week. I had one the next day with the leftover rice (shown above) and made an awesome last-minute leftover dinner out of the rest.

Whatever you decide to call them, these puppies rock!


  1. These look yummy! I've been looking for an alternative to the oh so famous chickpea cutlets without wheat because I just recently found out I'm gluten intolerant. Do you think these would be good if I dusted them with cornmeal instead of flour?

  2. YES try it! Or you can probably even skip it. The one in this photo was actually "undusted" since I pulled it out of the fridge for a last-minute leftover lunch and I couldn't be bothered to drag out the flour bag for a little sprinkle :)

  3. Or you could try chick pea flour?

  4. Fabulous fritters! :) These look scrumptious!


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