Sunday, October 15, 2006

chickpea flour & memories of gibraltar

many years ago i ate something at a friend's house made by "savta", my friend's moroccan grandmother. served as a snack item, i found it to be delicious. i really didn't think to ask much about it at the time as this was many long years ago. food was food at that time, something you ate and i didn't exactly have discussions about recipes amongst my gang of friends. one thing i did know was that it had a spanish name and was made from chickpea flour — not your standard "north american" staple.

recently i spoke to a friend and she mentioned this item by its name which i had long forgotten. "calentita", that's it! my friend told me that it was a specialty of gibraltar and was a snack item she used to eat after school. as i confess to knowing next to nothing about this place, i was surprised to discover it was of italian origin and was a "national dish". read this short article for the details. i also found a reference to this dish under the name karantita which says it is of algerian origin. if you understand french it is interesting to read. whatever its origin, it is delicious. for recipes from gibraltar and the calentita [basically the same as what i am posting here], check out the heritage magazine published in gibraltar itself. to learn more & view photos about this famous place, visit gibraltar's official site.

here is the simple recipe for calentita. it really is a "nothing" recipe. it relies on very basic ingredients quickly thrown together, all of which do not look like they will result in much of anything.

after baking, you get a thin product which is cut in squares and lightly sprinkled with fresh black pepper. the consistency of the calentita is that of a thicker baked chickpea layer topped with a thin, custard like top layer.


makes 1 small 8" x 8" calentita [you may double this and bake in a larger pyrex]


1 c chickpea flour
2 1/2 c. water
1 egg
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground cumin, opt.


in a large bowl, sift chickpea flour with salt & cumin, if using. do not skip the sifting step. slowly add water and mix thorougly with a whisk. set this aside on your countertop for 4 to 6 hours.

preheat oven to 350F. and oil a pyrex on the sides and bottom. add about a tbsp of oil to do this and don't drain it. place the pryex in the hot oven so it heats the oil well.

add the egg and the remaining oil to the chickpea mixture and beat again.

remove the pan from the oven and CAREFULLY add the chickpea flour preparation to the pyrex and replace it in the oven for approximately 1 hr to 1 hr 10 min. or until the sides are crispy and the top is golden brown. the calentita will look not fully cooked on top. that is how it is supposed to be. it will firm further as it cools.

remove and let cool. cut in squares and serve with a sprinkling of fresh black pepper.
for more information about the little chickpea, read this article near the bottom of the page. you will see there are two types of chickpeas — desi & kabuli [indian names]. both the above recipe and the following ones use the "kabuli" southern european/middle eastern type of chickpea [garbanzo] flour. here is more interesting information.

three different european items using chickpea flour are the provençal socca & the ligurian cousin [and predecessor?] of calentita called panissa and the ligurian pancake called farinata.

one company which i really like is bob's red mill. this company offers high quality flours [most of which are kosher, i believe] and there are recipes and further information about each product on the website.

* * * * *

2 recipes using garbanzo flour [in hebrew] are for panella and delicious looking cauliflower fritters encased in a chickpea flour batter. i may try this one and translate after if it is good.


chanit said...

It's new to me this dish, I've never use chickpea flour. can I make the flour in my kitchen?
אני מתכוונת אפשר לטחון חומוס יבש במטחנה בבית שיווצר קמח? נראה טעים ומעניין.תודה רבה

trupti said...

This is certainly a different way of using chickpea flour....we use it a lot in Indian cooking for making pakodas/fritters and spicy pancakes....but had never seen this before! thanks for sharing.

Cheers from Newfoundland,

burekaboy — said...


yes, you can make it but it is easier just to buy it! לכי לשוק-יאללה

what kind of grinder are u using? it has to be ground into a קמח flour - -יכולה להראות לי באיזו מכונה משתמשת?:-)

i hope you try it you will like it, i am sure. ta'am me'od mizrachi.


thanks for stopping by and your comment. you are right, it is quite a different use for chickpea flour. i wonder if there was any indian influence behind this preparation besides its ligurian [italian] roots.

i actually made this from besan [chana] as this is all i had on hand at the time and it worked well. i have to try it again using garbanzo flour and see if there is a difference.

don't talk to me about pakoras or i will run and make some and later regret i ate all that deep-fried goodness!! ;p

chanit said...

זה מזכיר טעם של פלאפל? יש לי מטחנת קפה קטנה, כזו שטוחנת פולי קפה או תבלינים.. זה יהיה טוב?

burekaboy — said...

b'diuk. ken machzir ta'am shel felafel aval "not exactly".

hoshev sh'at y'chola l'nasot litchon otam kachah, aval lo batuach sh'yiyeh chazak midai. hagargarim homos hem kashim v'yevashim nora. b'emet yoter kal liknot et ha kaymach me'ha shuk. tachanti pam ehat b'blender v'zeh halach aval it scratched the plastic v'lakach harbeh zman. t'nasee im kamah gargarim v'tir'ee.
you will have to use a strainer to make sure it's only flour after you grind it.

ha computer mfagher hayom. az ani kotev b'eengleesh letterz.

ra'eet et ha matkonim b'ivrit sh'samti lematah?

Anonymous said...

Have you got round to trying "panelle"? I'd like to mention that it is a Sicilian recipe (lots of Jewish influence there, I hear), specifically from Palermo. They are flat savory chickpea flour fritters eaten with bread, and they make a delicious snack. I just discovered your blog today through Arabic Bites. All the best, Adriana (living in Brussels).

burekaboy — said...

hi adriana :) - welcome and thanks for your comment and visit.

in answer to your question, yes, i have tried panelle [but haven't posted anything about it]. i quite like it. LOL, probably too much. all those fried fritter things are SO good :))

glad you found your way here through arabic bites! hope to 'see' you again.