Chickpea flour French fries, also known as panisses, are a favorite snack in Provence, and a breeze to make at home! They are naturally grain-free, vegan, high-protein and healthy.
National French Fry Day has passed, but that does not mean the fries recipes have to stop! Especially since I realized I have never posted about what may be my favorite French fry recipes, ever: Panisses.
Panisses are fries made from chickpea flour, and some contend that they are the “original” French fries. They hail from the South of France (specifically, Marseilles), and are utterly addictive!
The panisses require some planning ahead, as there is chilling time involved, but other than that, they are fast and simple to make.
If you have made my chickpea flour tofu or chickpea flour feta cheese, the initial step is similar. Whisk equal parts (1 cup) chickpea flour and water, plus salt, and a drizzle of olive oil until smooth. This gets added to 1 cup of boiling water, and is whisked until very thick and glossy. Make sure to whisk until any and all lumps are gone.
Pour the batter into a baking pan, cool and chill. When you are ready to make the fries, invert the chilled, solid block (it will slide out with ease) onto a cutting board and cut into “fry” shapes (I recommend 1/4-inch thick, and about 3 inches long).
Note that you can refrigerate the batter for as little as 1 hour before cutting into fries, but the fries will be firmer with longer chilling. I prefer to make the batter a full day ahead of time for extra-firm fries, but if I cannot wait, 1 hour is fine.
Deep-frying is the traditional method for preparing panisses, but I am happy to report that broiling produces equally crisp and delicious, as well as far healthier, results. As a bonus, it eliminates the nagging worry of starting a grease fire and burning down the house :).
To maximize the crispness, I recommend lightly greasing a sheet pan with olive oil and preheating the pan under the broiler for several minutes. This creates immediate sizzle when the fries are placed on the pan.
A few more minutes under the broiler, with one flip halfway through, and the results are golden brown, puffed up fries that taste like they were fried.
The traditional way to serve panisses is seasoned with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper, as well as lemon wedges alongside for squeezing onto the hot fries. It is a scrumptious option. If you are a dunker, these are just as fabulous when dipped marinara, ketchup, or any other sauces and dips. Oh la la!
Prepare to fall (hard) for these fries! It does not hurt that they are also high in protein (more than 5 grams per serving) and a good source of fiber, too.
Vive les French fries!
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups water, divided
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the basking sheet
- Suggested accompaniments: lemon wedges, flaked sea salt & freshly cracked pepper, or yuur favorite dip
- Lightly spray or grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and 1 cup of the water until blended and mostly smooth (do not worry of there are some small lumps at this point).Whisk in the olive oil.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the chickpea batter. Cook, whisking constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes until the batter is very thick. Immediately pour and spread into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Cool until room temperature and then place in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook the fries, invert onto a cutting board and cut into ¼-inch wide fries.
- Position the broiler rack in the oven 6 to 8 inches from the heat source. Lightly grease a large sheet pan with olive oil. Place sheet in oven and preheat for 3 minutes.
- Using an oven mitt (the pan will be very hot), remove the pan from the oven and arrange the fries on the sheet.
- Broil the fries for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and flip the fries over with a spatula. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes longer until the other sides are golden brown.
- Serve immediately, seasoned with salt & pepper and lemon wedges, or with your favorite dip!