Italian street food, I initially thought it was an oxymoron. Nope, they sure have it, and as always, it depends on the region. ‘Panelle’ or Sicilian Chickpea Fritters is one of the most popular ones in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily. Sometimes, they also serve panelle as appetizers, but personally, I feel it’s more fun to eat them while walking – and then having some pistachio gelato afterwards. YUM! 😀
Panelle can be eaten as it is, you do not need any dipping sauce to enjoy it. But, for maximum enjoyment, you must eat them while they’re still piping-hot! Some people sprinkle sea salt on them, but I think that if you have properly seasoned it (to your liking) while cooking, then you can just pop them in your mouth as soon as you can handle them. 🙂
The main ingredient for Panelle is chickpea flour, and since that is quite hard to find here in Stockholm, I decided to make my own. I bought dried chickpeas and just put them in a blender (in batches). The initial sound is deafening! Nah, I’m just being a drama-queen. 😉 Of course, the sound would be loud, but it will only last for a few minutes. 🙂 If you decide to make your own chickpea flour as well, make sure you strain the flour and put the bigger granules (or powder?) back in the blender. It’s an awful feeling when you bite on a big chunk of still ‘quite’ solid piece of chickpea. 🙁
By the way, it’s also common to eat panelle between two buns, like a sandwich – and for some reason, it works too. It’s delicious! 🙂 Don’t knock it till you try it! 😀
- 3 cups water
- 200 grams (or 1 & 1/2 cups) chickpea flour
- 1 & 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- pepper, to season
- vegetable oil, for frying
Mix chickpea flour with water in a medium sized pan and whisk. Make sure there are no lumps.
Put pan with the mixture in medium-low heat. Keep stirring the mixture until the consistency has slightly thickened (like polenta or porridge), but not too thick that you can barely mix it. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley.
Take the pan off the heat and continue mixing for a minute.
Pour the mixture on a tray (or any flat surface) and spread a thin layer (about ¼ inch thick). Set aside until the mixture has cooled and hardened a bit. This normally takes an hour for me.
Cut the hardened mixture into triangles.
Heat vegetable oil in a medium sized pan. The oil should be EXTREMELY hot and enough to submerge the triangles.
Fry the panelle in batches and turn them occasionally. Once all sides turned brown and slightly puffy, take them out of the pan and put them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.