Plate by David Walters
I am mad about hummous, and could eat it every day (in fact, I usually do). It's extraordinary that chickpeas - which, face it, taste as dull as ditch water, especially if they've been been boiled to buggery and then tinned - can be transformed, with the addition of just a few sparky ingredients, into a paste that is so zingingly delicious. But it's their very blandness and flouriness that makes these little legumes such good carriers of flavour, and they really come into their own when paired with pungent spices and fresh herbs.
These aren't really fritters, because they're not deep-fried: they're more like griddle cakes. Whatever you want to call them, they're very quick and easy to make if you have food processor fitted with a metal blade. Watch them closely as they fry, as they turn from golden brown to charcoal in a matter of seconds.
When I was imagining this recipe (it's usually when I'm lying awake and fidgeting in the middle of the night that my thoughts turn to food) I thought it would be interesting with grated halloumi cheese, for extra texture, but my local shop doesn't stock it, so feta had to do, and it did well.
Feel free to use dried chickpeas, if you have the patience to boil them. I don't.
Chickpea and Feta Fritters, with a Mint and Paprika Dressing
2 x 250g tins chickpeas, drained [garbanzo beans]
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
half a white onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp (5 ml) Tabasco sauce
1 T (15 ml) tahini [sesame seed paste]
finely grated zest of half a lemon
the juice of a lemon
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
½ cup (125 ml) chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh coriander [cilantro]
3/4 cup (180 ml) white flour
2 tsp (10 ml) powdered cumin
milled black pepper
100 g feta cheese
vegetable oil for frying
For the dressing:
5 T (75 ml) olive oil
the juice of a lemon
a pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika
3 sprigs fresh mint
Put the chickpeas, garlic, onion, Tabasco, tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and whizz to a paste. If the mixture is too stiff for the blades to turn, break an egg into the chute of the food processor. Now add the parsley and coriander and press the pulse button a few times so that the herbs are finely chopped but not puréed. When the mixture looks smooth, tip it into a mixing bowl and add the remaining two eggs, the flour and the cumin. Mix very well. Crumble the feta cheese into the batter and season with black pepper and more salt, if necessary. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 140°C and put a ceramic platter in to warm. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Using a spoon, drop blobs of batter (about 20 ml/4 tsp each) into the hot oil. Fry for about a minute, or until golden brown and crusty underneath, then flip over and cook for another minute. Drain on a piece of kitchen towel and place in the oven while you fry the rest of the fritters.
To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients, except for the mint, and decant into a little bowl. Just before you serve the fritters, strip the mint leaves from their stalks, slice into fine shreds, and stir into the dressing.
Serve the fritters piping hot, with the dressing as a dipping sauce.
Makes about 30 fritters. Print Friendly