Monday, April 9, 2012

Chickpea Nuggets with Escarole in Caramel Sauce

As I am writing this, I feel the urge to sneak into the kitchen to nibble on another of these chickpea nuggets. (Back again).
I have found that the food matters project makes me search for meat alternatives, while I usually just go without. I am not really one to buy fake meat or use tofu in abundance. I usually go for chickpeas, beans or lentils if I feel the need to add protein to a dish.
But for this project, I felt I needed to change this approach. For the coq au vin, I just left out the meat altogether, but doing that for another week for the cassoulet seemed kind of strange, and then this week: rhubarb sauce alone does not really sound like much of a meal. But luckily I stumbled onto this recipe for chickpea nuggets, or gatta as it is called, and new that I wanted to give them a try. They are really easy to make, but oh so delicious. While last weeks sausages need some improving, these I can really recommend. They can also be frozen (I guess, none survived to try it out), or dried as the recipe I found suggests.
For the sauce I used the escarole version Bittman suggests as a variation. Rhubarb is still not quite in season here, and I had escarole already at home. I also used a radicchio I had in the fridge. Since I stayed true to the original recipe this week, I only include the recipe for the chickpea nuggets here, please go to Camilla's blog for the whole recipe and check out what everyone else did with this recipe here. I have to say though that while I loved the nuggets, I wasn't too crazy about the sauce. It was to liquid, sweet and orangey. Something was missing and I couldn't find out what.
I also used these nuggets in a couscous dish a made earlier in the week. Cooked some couscous. stirfried some fennel and pea shoots, add the couscous to the skillet, season with a curry powder, throw in some apple and the chickpea nuggets. I liked that better than this recipe, and might make it again and share it with proper measurements.

Chickpea Nuggets
adapted from panfusine

2 cups chickpea flour
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chinese 5 spice powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
2 tsp oil
3 tsp soy sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a cup or bowl. Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until a stiff dough starts to come together. Knead the dough until it has a uniform consistency, add more flour if necessary. Form the dough into small logs. Once the water boils, carefully place these logs in the pan, turn down the heat so that the water only simmers and cook about 15 minutes, until the logs raise to the surface of the water.
Take the logs out of the water with a slotted spoon and let them dry and cool down.

Once cooled down enough so that you can handle them, cut them up into slices. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet (or more, depending on the size of the skillet) and panfry the slices until browned and crispy. I did mine in two batches. Eat them as they are, or use them in a recipe like the one I used them in.
Makes enough for 4 servings I'd say.


  1. When I couldn't find rhubarb anywhere, I did eye his escarole alternative. I don't think this was recipe was a hit for anyone; sorry! I feel as if I have been writing that a lot this morning. Sorry I picked a recipe whose ingredients were not in season. Sorry I picked a recipe that, for almost everyone, was a complete but. Thanks for making the best of it! See you next week.

  2. Yum those chickpea nuggets look awesome! I'm glad to see someone tried the escarole version--it looks and sounds delicious!

    1. I think the escarole version needs some tweaking, though. I think adding something sour would help a lot. I'd say a bit of vinegar instead of the orange juice, and then some orange zest, maybe some ginger. Or mixing some escarole with some rhubarb, to keep it a bit less tart. I think I have to try this again, I can't leave this one alone. It tasted so great in my head.

  3. Very creative! I couldn't find rhubarb anywhere so I had to settle with what I had too.

  4. Chickpea nuggets sound great!

  5. I have to admit I was not really paying attention to the ingredients and how much to use. I used way less rhubarb and my sauce was the consistency of a salsa which works nicely with other ingredients. :-) Maybe I was lucky lol

  6. It seems that in general people had mixed feelings about the sauce but I"m really loving these chickpea nuggets! I'll deifnitely be trying them!