Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chickpea Flour Omelets

Chickpea flour - also known as besan, gram flour, and garbanzo bean flour - is the magical fairy dust of the vegan kitchen. Not only is it packed with protein and other good stuff, it has a rich, nutty taste that lends itself to brunchy things like frittataspancakes, French toast sweet and savory, and makes a perfect crispy coating for frying and/or baking stuff.

Today's offering is yet another breakfast/brunch dish - so sue me: I like spending half the morning cooking and the other half eating - but it could easily be served for dinner with some extra veggies on the side. These light but substantial omelets take their inspiration from a recipe that Vegan Richa posted awhile back, to which I've made a few alterations My main changes were to omit the oat flour, add nutritional yeast, change/increase the seasonings, and cook the vegetables separately rather than mix them into the batter raw. I also went for the folded "half moon" effect, which was a bit delicate but turned out beautifully. As you can see, this recipe has a distinctly Indian feel to it, but you could easily change up the filling and seasonings to produce an entirely different vibe if you like; the sky's the limit! I'm thinking that next time I'll replicate the beloved western omelet of my childhood with grilled onions, peppers, vegan cheese (and maybe some mushrooms, because a little fungus make everything better).

Chickpea Flour Omelets
The Batter
~ 4 tbsp. ground flaxseed
~ 2 cups warm water
~ 1 1/3 cup chickpea flour
~ 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
~ 2 tsp. baking powder
~ 1 tsp. each: curry powder, kala namak (or kosher salt)
~ 1/2 tsp. each: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder
~ 1/4 tsp. turmeric
~ A few grinds fresh black pepper

~ In a large mixing bowl, whisk the ground flaxseed with 1 cup of the warm water until frothy. Set aside to rest for about 5 minutes.
~ In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except the additional cup of water. Add this dry mix to the wet flaxseed mixture by 1/2 cupfuls, whisking with each addition and adding the remaining cup of water until you have a smooth batter. Set aside while you make...

The Filling
~ 1 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 small red onion, small dice
~ 1/2 bell pepper, small dice
~ 1 small carrot, small dice
~ 1/2 cup frozen spinach
~ 1/3 cup frozen peas
~ 1/2 cup crumbled coconut bacon (optional)

~ In a large skillet, saute the onion, pepper, and carrot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
~ Add the spinach and peas, cover the pan, and cook another few minutes until wilted and bright green respectively. Stir in the coconut bacon (if using), remove from heat, and transfer to a small bowl.

And now...
~ Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place a nonstick baking sheet inside.
~ Wipe out the skillet, coat with a generous shot of cooking spray, and set over medium heat.
~ Ladle about 1/3-1/2 cup of batter into the middle of the pan, allowing it to spread out ever so slightly. ~ After a minute, sprinkle a few spoonfuls of the filling over the batter; cover and cook about 5 minutes, until set around the edges but still a bit moist in the center.
~ Using a thin spatula, very carefully fold one side of the omelet over the other to form that classic half moon shape. Transfer the finished omelet to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
~ Repeat until all the ingredients are used up (this should yield seven or eight omelets).
~ Serve immediately with a dollop of chutney and homefries, toast, or whatever brunchy accompaniments strike your fancy.

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