Monday 22 August 2011

Chickpea crackers and sweet potato stew

One good recipe leads to another.  I had a bit of time with Sylvia before dinner last week so we made chickpea crackers.  They were great.  Then I sat feeling blank about what to make for dinner.  I had little energy and a few vegetables in the fridge to use up.  The chickpea crackers from Lisa's Bike Bake Blog was so simple and delicious that I had a look at her index and immediately found a sweet potato stew that grabbed my attention.

I got into trouble at first by following the recipe too literally.  The above sticky blob of dough just didn't look like it would roll out.  Yet I was foolish enough to try rolling it between two pieces of baking paper.  Then I came to my senses, scrapped it off the paper and returned it to the bowl where I added more besan (chickpea flour) until it looked like the sort of dough that would roll out (see below).

Once the dough was the right consistency, the dough was easy to manipulate.  I used different spices because I didn't have any fresh thyme on hand.  I also didn't read the recipe and broke the dough into individual crackers before baking rather than after.  I don't think this made too much difference.

The resulting crackers were very moreish.  The tastiness of chickpea flour works well alongside the spices.  The texture was more crispy-even-slightly-chewy-dough than buttery-melt-in-the-mouth.  Not surprising with crackers containing only a little olive oil.  It is a texture that I quite enjoy.  Not only does it taste good but it holds together well.  Which is important when dipping in beetroot dip (or pink hummus as Sylvia calls it).  Sylvia loved them.  We all did.

I am always delighted when Sylvia loves any of my recipes but last week she excelled herself.  Actually I decided to make these biscuits because she suddenly was enjoying hummus dip.  She also tried yoghurt with blueberries, hokkien noodles in mee goreng sauce, mushrooms on pizza, and a teensy weensy piece of toast with almond butter.  I don't mean she is eating all these things often - she is already turning up her nose at the yoghurt and preferring pink hummus to regular but it gives me hope. 

However I knew that the sweet potato stew would be too much of challenge for Sylvia's plain tastes.  It suited E and myself very well.  It solved the problem of what to do with my sweet potato but my eyes were playing tricks on me.  I mistook the white sweet potato for tofu and started wanting to eat tofu in a stew.  So I used it instead of beans.  The spices were so unusual that when I ate leftovers for lunch the next day a colleague came in to ask what was in it.  "Coconut milk, ginger, mustard, nutmeg," I guessed until she said a-ha at nutmeg.  Unusual but very very nice.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Election Blues and Matrimonial Slice
This time two years ago: Beaut bush buddies (gingerbread)
This time three years ago: Soup for the Leguminous Evangelists
This time four years ago: The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

Chickpea and Seed Crackers
Adapted from Bake Bike Blog
Makes about 2 dozen
  • 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp bush spice (or other spice mix of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • extra besan for kneading
Preheat oven to 175C.  Place dry ingredients into a medium bowl and mix in the oil and water to form a soft dough.  Mine was a bit sticky and so I needed extra besan to shape it into a ball. (Remember there is less delicateness to gf flours so you can knead it.)

Roll out thinly between two sheets of baking paper I had to keep checking mine wasn't sticking and even sprinkled a bit of extra besan on the dough as I rolled it out.

Remove top layer of baking paper and cut into desired shapes with a pizza cutter or pastry wheel.  Prick each cracker with a fork.  (I broke mine into pieces at this stage but it was fiddly to do so I would prefer to leave as a whole piece of rolled dough with lines in it next time.)  Bake for 16 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack. and then break into pieces.

Update: remade these and got temp wrong - cooked at 155 for 11 minutes and then 175 for 10 and they were crisper than the first time.

Coconut Vegie and Tofu Stew
adapted from Bake, Bike Blog
(serves 3-4)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs minced ginger
  • 1-2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1-2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp finely grated nutmeg (almost a whole nutmeg)
  • 1 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp stock powder
  • 320ml lite coconut milk
  • leaves from bunch of beetroots (mine was about 80g), finely sliced
  • 400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 500g firm tofu, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • seasoning, as required
Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat. Fry onion for a few minutes until translucent.  Add ginger and spices and stir constantly for about 1 minute.  Toss sweet potato in spices.  Add water, milk, stock powder, pumpkin and tofu.  Check seasoning.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add broccoli and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes until broccoli is tender and sauce has thickened.  Serve with rice or noodles.

On the stereo:
Mellow Miles: Miles Davis


  1. I am SO impressed that you made crackers! I've wanted to make homemade crackers for sometime now, but haven't attempted them yet... Your crackers are so perfect and beautiful, too! Love the photo of Sylvia doing such a splendid job of dipping her carrot! :-)

    This sweet potato stew is just what I have been craving! Love the coconut milk, tofu, and all the spices, and I have sooo much pumpkin in the freezer! :-) I shall definitely fix this soon! Thank you for the gorgeous recipe - and the cracker inspiration! :-)

  2. I really can't admit how many cracker recipes I have bookmarked/printed. Oh, Johanna, why can't you come and make me follow up on all my kitchen plans? :P

  3. I'm always looking for new ways of using chickpea flour. Thanks! Have you tried chickpea flour chips? They're my newest favourite; a set chickpea pancake that you then cut into the chips and bake. I'm going to try these crackers asap.

  4. Those little crackers look lovely and the texture sounds really good for lifting up dip too. Glad Sylvia is having tiny little 'tries' of different things, it must be very heartening!

    The stew really does sound like an interesting combo of flavours, but delicious too!

  5. ooooh love your chickpea cracker variety!

  6. I saw these on Lisa's site and got excited too! I love crackers and crunchy food and they sound great! :D

  7. Both of these look great. I was in a sweet potato bliss last night when I over-roasted it slightly and it turned soft and almost caramelly. I was thinking then that I need to include sweet potato in more recipes, given how much I like it, so this was well timed!

  8. Um wow. I am super excited about each of these recipes! Both so unique and super appealing to me!

  9. Thanks for this cracker recipe - I'll be passing it on to my sister who is having some gluten issues and desperately seeking tried and true alternatives.

  10. Yum - you've inspired me to get out the slow-cooker tomorrow to whip up a stew (if taking eight hours can be called 'whipping up'). Good on Sylvia!

  11. Thanks Astra - it is ages since I made crackers but these were so easy that I wonder why I waited so long - highly recommend them and the pumpkin was great in the stew - just collapses into the sauce in a yummy way

    Thanks Hannah - you really need to move to melbourne and then I would come over and insist you make all your bookmarked crackers - every one all at once (well not quite that stern but I would give some gentle encouragement including dragging ingredients out of the cupboards)

    Thanks Adam and theresa - haven't tried chickpea chips but given how good these are, I should try besan in chips

    Thanks C - yes perfect crackers for dips - wish I could say sylvia's adventurousness is continuing but unfortunately no!

    Thanks Lisa - must try with fresh thyme when I have some

    Thanks Lorraine - it is a great recipe - hope you get around to it

    Thanks Joanne - I am excited about these recipes too - hope you try them

    Thanks Amanda - hope your sister enjoys them - and that she finds some other great GF recipe - there are lots out there

    Thanks Keely - surely slow cookers are for those who want to whip up a stew that will take ages to cook :-)

  12. I will have to try these chickpea crackers, they looks great although the idea of making crackers is a tad daunting!

  13. These both sound amazing, and just the kinds of recipes I love! And so delighted I can eat those crackers--I've been looking for a good GF cracker recipe. Gladl to hear that Sylvia is becoming more adventurous in the kitchen. :)

  14. You are making me hungry! I adore home made crackers - they are so much tastier than the bought variety.

  15. Thanks K - these crackers are really easy to make - you just need to get a dough that feels smooth - the great thing with gf flours is that they don't need to be treated so gently because there is no gluten that will toughen.

    Thanks Ricki - I like that you can make these crackers with very few ingredients if you leave out the spices which makes it more attractive if you are intolerances - unfortunately sylvia is not so adventurous this week but she had not been well so she has an excuse

    Thanks Cakelaw - home made crackers are great - just wish I was organised enough to make them more

  16. Those crackers look fantastic and so pretty - I'm sure they wouldn't have looked as good if you'd broken them up after cooking. Really like the sound of them. I'll have to see if I can find some gram flour.

  17. Oo I definitely need to try those chickpea crackers! That's great that Sylvia's so adventurous with food. :)

  18. Am looking forward to trying to make these at the weekend. :)


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