Bryanna Clark Grogan

Bryanna Clark Grogan

Posted March 20, 2010

Published in Food, International

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Read More: besan, chickpea flour, panelle, panelli, panisse

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I love chickpeas and chickpea flour. One of the tastiest, cheapest, easiest snacks (or sides) in the world is an ancient recipe from Southern Italy, called panelle or panelle di ceci (panelli or paneddi in Sicily). They are also popular in Southern France, where they are known as panisse. They are basically a street snack, often eaten inside of a bread or roll. Evidently, the recipe is of Arabic origin, which makes sense when you think of the origins of chickpeas and the influence of Arabic cooking on Southern Italian cooking.

Wouldn't it be great if this kind of a snack became popular here in North America as a "takeout" snack instead of "popcorn chicken"? Well, we can dream! Fancy restaurants have been serving these, but that's not really where they belong! They are so easy to make and so delicious, and so open to different seasonings that they would make great street cart food!

In the meantime, make them at home! They are basically chickpea flour (besan in Indian stores) and water, with a few seasonings! Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

My version is still pan-fried, but with much less oil than usual. They still have a nice crust and olive oil taste!

Printable Recipe


Double or triple this if you like!

2 cups water
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
smoked paprika
crushed garlic
dried red chili flakes
chopped Italian parsley
chopped fresh herbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
lemon wedges for squeezing
vegan mayonnaise with some vegan pesto whipped into it
vegan aioli (garlic mayonnaise)
a good, simple homemade tomato sauce
Romesco sauce (this is Spanish, not Italian, but yummy!)

Oil an 8" square pan lightly with olive oil and set aside.

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the chickpea flour so that it doesn't form lumps. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the oil, salt and pepper. Coolk for another minute or so, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens.

Spread the hot mixture evenly in the loiled pan, smoothing the top. Refrigerate until the mixture is solid.

Loosen the edges and turn the square out onto a cutting surface.

Slice the square into 16 "fingers".

Heat the last tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Brown the "fingers" in the last 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Sprinkle with salt, if you wish (or other seasoning of choice) and serve. Best hot, but even good cold!

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
 148.7 calories; 49% calories from fat; 8.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 487.3mg sodium; 194.6mg potassium; 13.3g carbohydrates; 2.5g fiber; 2.5g sugar; 10.8g net carbs; 5.1g protein; 3.2 points.